*** Minor spoilers for Venom ahead. ***
We are Venom.
It’s a line that doesn’t hold quite the same meaning as “We are Groot,” but is just as iconic. First spoken on the comic book page, then induced goosebumps in the 1990s Spider-Man animated television series, and finally brought to nightmarish life by Tom Hardy in Sony Pictures’ Venom, the phrase is as seminal as the character’s jagged teeth and elongated tongue. So, does the new Venom film bond with the character’s long and storied history?
TheRealStanLee.com was lucky enough to attend the big screen premiere of Venom in Los Angeles on October 1st to kick off the Halloween season. We walked the black carpet, rubbed elbows with the film’s stars, and were treated to an early screening of the movie.
When the film was first announced, many fans questioned how the studio would make a Venom movie without Spider-Man. We at TRSL.com were as equally skeptical but were pleasantly surprised by the finished product.
The film revolves around investigative journalist Eddie Brock (played by Tom Hardy) and his quest to expose a malicious corporation called the Life Foundation for their human rights violations. The immoral research company had been sending manned exploratory missions into space. After investigating a rogue asteroid, one of the shuttles brings back a handful of amorphous alien creatures that are dubbed symbiotes.
In order to survive, the symbiotes need to bond with another living being. The Life Foundation has been testing this symbiotic relationship with live human hosts, with deadly results. Whilst investigating the Life Foundation’s headquarters, one of the symbiotes attaches to Eddie Brock. Miraculously the creature doesn’t kill Eddie; instead, it gives him superhuman abilities and one wicked toothy grin. Thus, the alien anti-hero Venom is born!
The symbiote seizes control of Eddie’s body, taking him on a wild ride through San Francisco in search of human brains to feast on. Meanwhile, the head of the Life Foundation, Carlton Drake (played by Riz Ahmed), is bonded to another symbiote named Riot who plans to bring the entire race of alien slime balls to earth. The only one who can stop him is Eddie Brock/Venom – if they can work together long enough to survive.
Venom is a self-aware sci-fi/horror flick that feels right at home in the spooky October schlock movie season. The film’s success hinges on Tom Hardy’s fascinatingly goofy performance as Eddie Brock. The character brings a strange and unexpected charm to the dark comic book movie.
The oddball relationship between Eddie and the demonic sounding symbiote is both fun and funny and brings life to what could have been an otherwise by-the-numbers superhero tale. The buddy-rapport and banter between extraterrestrial parasite and man was nothing our audience seemed to expect but found uproariously amusing and fresh.
Speaking to the Spidey-less adaptation issue, it was hard not to be disappointed that the comic book origin story and association with Spider-Man was removed from the film. Seeing the alien organism first bond with Peter Parker and then move on to Eddie Brock, carrying baggage from the bad break-up, would have been a treat for fans. We wonder how their rivalry will develop without the shared backstory, if the two ever do meet in a crossover with the MCU.
We did notice a small nod to the larger Spider-Man universe when one of the astronauts in the opening sequence was named checked as ‘Jameson,’ as in the son of Daily Bugle publisher J. Jonah Jameson. And then there’s that killer end credits scene, which we’ll remain mum on for now. But other than those two instances, the movie was fairly self-contained.
Overall Venom was a smaller scale horror/sci-fi romp, elevated by a truly uncanny performance by Tom Hardy. It’s not an exact adaptation of the Venom you know and love from the comics, but if you surrender yourself over to the movie, much in the same way Eddie Brock surrenders his body to Venom, you’ll be rewarded with a fun flick.
Check out a few of our photos from the premiere below!
All premiere images courtesy POW! Entertainment.