Last month, Tom Hardy signed on to star in Venom with Ruben Fleischer (Gangster Squad) on board to direct, and a release date of October 5, 2018. I mean, you get Tom Hardy to play one of the most iconic comic book villains ever? Count me in!
With the Carnage announcement, my interest in the movie went from being excited to now cautiously optimistic. Sony had already gotten our attention, but for some reason decided to double down and throw another player into the ring, risking the opportunity of making a different superhero movie that doesn't follow the Marvel Cinematic Universe model.
The superhero genre is arguably at its most popular, but that doesn't mean that we, as fans, don't want to see something different once in a while. The key in entertainment is to remain relevant, and reinventing the formula is always a welcome and necessary adjustment that sooner or later every genre must attempt.
With Spider-Man 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Sony must have realized by now that stuffing your movie with an insane amount of characters will not guarantee you success, and that in those cases, less is more if you don't how to handle all the characters at your disposal. You probably thought that by now Sony would have learned the lesson, right? Apparently we are the ones that are in the wrong because Sony is about to make the same mistake if Carnage shows up in the #Venom film.
Carnage Is An Excellent Character But The Timing Of His Debut Is Not Right
I wanted to analyze the possibility of Venom being a different type of superhero film. With the talent of the deliciously eccentric #TomHardy and the complexity of the character that is Venom, it was a match made in comic book film heaven. The film wouldn't need anything else — it could be rich in terms of plot and character development. The idea was to have Venom fight his alter ego, Eddie Brock, in the style of the movie Fight Club.
Imagine for a second a film about a man fighting to keep the demons away but finally succumbing to the darkness within him because he is so miserable, accepting the "gift" that this entity offers. In order to stop being this sorry and pathetic person, he must embrace it to become better. It could have been a tragic story that people could relate to, and since this is Sony, the theme would definitely have been dark and depressing but still make total sense. This would be one hell of a comic book film, especially if the movie ends up being rated R.
With Carnage now starring, this movie will inevitably follow the "hero" against villain arc, making Venom a movie that will try to emulate everything that is already out there — the opportunity to be something different will be tragically lost.
As a comic book and film fan, I will always root for my favorite characters and I will always wish for them to succeed. Perhaps, at the end of the day, the movie will eventually end up being OK. Therein lies the issue I have with all of this: Venom should be something more than an OK film, and Carnage should be more than the "flavor of the month" villain. This is a problem that has plagued the comic book film genre (I'm looking at you, MCU) and hasn't been resolved.
If Venom Is Not The Right Film For Carnage To Appear, Then Where?
Spider-Man, of course! If what Amy Pascal (Sony Pictures Entertainment Executive Producer) said in a video interview with FilmStarts becomes a reality, Holland’s Peter Parker will, in fact, exist in the same universe as Venom. This could definitely redefine and redeem years of mediocre and sub-par Spider-Man movies. Spider-Man is already making strides through the #MCU and appearing in the upcoming Infinity War, the first appearance of the alien symbiote is definitely a possibility.
Rebooting Spider-Man as a true high school kid opens a world of possibilities regarding his development. #Carnage is the perfect villain for someone as naive as Peter Parker. Carnage has no master plan or end game — he is a merciless killer. Spider-Man could face a foe that has no motivation other than creating chaos. With someone as morally righteous as Spider-Man, an enemy like Carnage could represent a truly terrifying challenge.
I understand the hesitation of including Venom a.k.a. Eddie Brock and Carnage a.k.a. Cletus Kasady with the family-friendly approach that Marvel and Sony want to accomplish with Spider-Man, and that the inclusion of these characters would be a very risky choice since both are extremely violent. Including these characters in a high school setting might be a little controversial.
Violence in schools is a very touchy subject in America, but bringing awareness to the issue is also worth the risk (if explored with sensitivity and respect). Carnage could represent the exterior violence that (unfortunately) reaches places like schools. Carnage is the representation of the unknown and the merciless world that we all have to eventually face. Carnage could be portrayed as the reality check for both Spider-Man and Peter Parker.
Besides, this character will only work if he is not restrained. I don't know if Marvel would use this character since Carnage is pure violence, but Sony could take a page from Fox (Deadpool, Logan) and give it a go. One of the biggest criticisms of the MCU is the weakness of its antagonists, but Carnage could represent the first time that we might see a real threat on film since the Joker in The Dark Knight.
What Would Be The Next Step? Make Spider-Man A Supporting Character In His Own Universe
Don't get me wrong, I am excited by the idea of seeing both Venom and Carnage in a movie together, but if the powers that be decide to make a generic and predictable superhero film, we are looking at another failed attempt by Sony to emulate something that the studio doesn't know how to handle — a cinematic universe akin to the MCU.
Focusing on giving Spider-Man's vast gallery of heroes and villains their own films is a great first step, and Sony's actions should affect and shape the world that Spider-Man lives in. Sony has the power to come up with something truly unique, but the bad habit of throwing character after character towards Spider-Man will eventually result in Sony's own vicious cycle — Once out of ideas, a reboot will always be at the ready.
What say you, dear reader? Is Carnage the right choice for Venom? Let us know what you think in the comments.