Wednesday, March 07, 2012

"Venom" To Rise Again At Sony

As expected, the success of "Chronicle" put director Josh Trank at the top of the to-call list for damn near every still-gestating superhero project; and now it appears he's about to take his pick: A stand-alone vehicle built around "Venom." Yes, the Spider-Man villain.

Wait, what?

Okay, so the reason this is happening is because - despite not having been interesting once since the end of his main origin story - Venom is one of Marvel's cash-cows in terms of marketing (unless what you're trying to market are comic books, in which case everyone stopped giving a shit after Maximum Carnage.) Sony has been planning to give Venom his own movie franchise since before "Spider-Man 3," which is one of the reasons the character was forced into the movie (against director Sam Raimi's wishes) in the first place.

But... that's what makes this a head-scratcher: Sony has now re-booted Spider-Man, meaning that the Venom this new franchise was initially supposed to "start" from is kaput, right? I mean, they can't very well call "Venom" a continuation of "Spider-Man 3" at the same time that the new "Amazing Spider-Man" franchise is just getting off the ground, can they? Wouldn't that confuse the crap out of everybody? Or is this inadvertently spoiling that the "seeds" of the Venom story will be making some kind of appearance in "Amazing?" (Which, given the raging hard-on the producers have for this character, would be the least surprising thing that could happen in that movie.)

The answer, of course, is likely that the film will be "it's own thing" with no connection to the Spider-Man series and some totally new character getting infected by The Symbiote... except here's the problem with that: Spider-Man is the ONLY reason anyone cares about Venom.

The reason Venom is a great seller of t-shirts, toys and other sundry merchandising is that he looks cool; and what looks cool about him is that he's a "monster-version" of Spider-Man - right down to all of his powers being Spider-Man's powers. If this movie doesn't have any connection to Spider-Man, how do you explain the living-costume putting Spider-Man's logo on it's chest and using his web powers? I mean, you can't just leave that stuff out - take away the spider-powers and the "evil Spidey" look and this ceases to be the uber-marketable Venom that justified making the movie in the first place.

19 comments:

Daniel R said...

My guess;

One of two things is happening or possibly both.

1-
Sony is panicking and simply dropping all pretense thinking its just a matter of time until they lose the rights to Spidey and with him Venom. Thus, they plan on cashing in on Venom while they still can.

I'm positive this would work, Venom really is that easy of a sell. Not a good character granted but amazingly easy to get excited about. I remember when I was in grade school, just seeing the first poster for Spider-Man 3 with Spidey perched wearing the black costume made me lose my marbles with excitement.
Seriously, I was in one of my school's library computers. The moment I saw that suit I yelled so loudly I was promptly escorted out by my English teacher.

Anyway,
and/or

2-
Sony is panicking at the idea that Disney/Paramount/Marvel's inter-continuity antics are finally paying dividends and want to clumsily set up a connected multi-franchise uberseries based solely on Spider-Man who is seemingly the only popular superhero they currently hold the rights to.

I wouldn't be surprised if they tried to release a Carnage film as well.

In fact, does Sony have the rights to Daredevil?
Cause if they do, that could fit easily with Spider-Man. Don't those two usually hang out in the comics?
Throw in Moon-Knight and maybe Luke Cage and you might have something worth watching.
Assuming they don't screw those characters up like they seem to have done with Spidey that is.

Thoughts?

Joshua the Anarchist said...

How come they never tried the solo antihero thing with the original monster-version-of-the-hero, Bizarro? Classic character, cooler name, and he already thinks he's the good guy, so turning him into a crazed vigilante wouldn't be as much of a stretch as it was for venom. Plus, who doesn't want to see a movie about a super-powered albino zombie flying around going "Me am Bizarro!!"

Then again they should probably actually put him in a Superman movie first. Whenever, if ever DC gets around to it.

Aiddon said...

just make it stop already.

Gabbo said...

They won't sever all connections to SpiderMan. Hell, that'd be like making a Catwoman movie where she has no connection whatsoever to Batman, has magic powers and absolutely no similarities to the 2 previous iterations of the character which the mainstream public could remember, i.e. Michelle Pfeiffer and Julie Newmar. And nobody in their right minds would do THAT, right?

mstieler said...

I'm going to guess that yes, it will tie in to the reboot, but not as it was in the comics. I figure either part of Spidey's parents' supersekrit backstory (government black ops project or similar) or as another experiment in whatever place Spidey gets his powers in the reboot (say, a squirming black mass in the background of a laboratory).

So long as they are still keeping it connected, you can even have a billed role for whomever the current Spiderman is in the Venom movie, though the movie will hopefully revolve more around Venom (I hate to say, but like not-yet-Deadpool in the Wolverine movie).

Chris Cesarano said...

I actually think the bigger problem is, in order to build a film around Venom and only Venom, you'd need to make him the protagonist. He has to be a character liked by the viewers, and while everyone loves an anti-hero (Wolverine), he needs the presence of clearly good people around him to make him do what is right.

The one thing I'll give the first X-Men movie is they knew how to make Wolverine a character people would like. He "plays by his own rules", but he is still good. Chaotic Good, if you will. This is basically the sort of character people can get behind, but the problem is, without the other good people giving him a cause to fight for, he'd just be doing those cage fights and living for nothing but himself because his whole view of the world would be jaded.

How can you introduce Venom faithfully while also making him an anti-hero in his own film that audiences can get behind?

That's an easier thing to screw up than a reboot.

Blue Highwind said...

Eh, I think it sounds interesting. If this turns into some kind of dark R-rated antihero action movie, I'll be behind it. So far the only movie I know of based upon a Supervillain is "Catwoman", and... well, yeah. Unlike Catwoman whom you can just make into a hero by fiddling with the backstory, Venom is a slimey monster from space. The darkest Catwoman I know of is the Tim Burton version, she's not clearly evil, space monsters pretty much always are. I don't read the comics, but doesn't Venom eat people?

Also, if they're going to the Chronicle guys, that might mean that this is going to be a story about a person finding the Venom alien, then gaining powers, then going totally freakin' crazy. That was a cool movie before, it can be a cool movie again. Probably made cooler when you add some gruesome body horror elements. (Am I allowed to dream of Crononberg directing this?)

Also, unlike everybody else here, I think the new Spiderman doesn't look that bad. And I didn't like any of the original three. If the next movie after this is Venom vs. Spiderman, I'd be down for all three.

BRENDAN FALCONER said...

If I had more faith in Sony to be clever when handling Venom this wouldn't be so bad.

Venom (along with The Punisher) is one of my guilty pleasures from the '90's. Anti-hero, alien, monster and man, it is an appealing combination for a movie. But a very tricky one without Spider-Man involved in the origin.

Venom can exist on his own. There are plenty of villains worse than him, so he can be the lesser of two evils, even in a fairly straight-up hero flick. Or there are other ways to take him that aren't impossible (tortured hero, unwilling killer, etc.).

But the Spider-Man connection isn't something Sony can shake off. Catwoman ought to serve as a warning.

I'm sure Sony WANTS Venom as a solo character for all the reasons discussed above, but I'm admittedly stumped as to how to do this well without Spider-Man deeply involved somehow.

Chris Cesarano said...

They probably won't go with the space monster angle. They'll probably go with the Ultimate universe route where it is grown in a lab.

InnerPartisan said...

As I said before: Is it so inconcievable that they want to pull an Avengers?
My theory is that Sony noticed how the other franchise holder (i.e., Marvel themselves) were pretty succesfull with establishing the classic comic continuity on the screen, so now they want their own.
I'm pretty sure it'll tie in to the reboot. Mark my words! :D

Also... I know you hate the reboot with a passion, Bob. But could you at least give them the benefit of the doubt? Sure, Venom is one of the prime examples of boringly kewl/grimdark 90's characters. But seeing as the the reboot has at least some real talent attached to it, I'll reserve my judgement till I've seen it, and the same goes for the (still hypothetical, mind you) Venom movie.

Mack said...

i think the venom seen in this movie adaptation would probably be the based upon the current version in the comics (not anti venom), flash thompson, because his "cool" gun wielding and stuff will probably come out being marketable to the general audience

Anonymous said...

What I wonder is how close the movie would be to Spawn, for it seems it would be fairly close with plotlines.

kevmon1116 said...

@Mack

I had that thought too. The only thing is... it'd be kinda wierd. It still has the problem of being tied into Spidey's life. Even if Flash wasn't Venom here, the character is innatley dependant on Spiderman for his aesthetic origins. Without Spidey, you loose the white Spider that made Venom more than a hulking, black monstrosity. It added style to savagry. Without it, the character would be too plain looking.

Gus said...

If it doesn't have a link to spiderman I hope they go with the Flash version of Venom or make a new character altogether that has to deal with the symbiote.

jmiddle3 said...

To be honest, I think the current series of Venom, which doesn't have a lot to do with Spider-Man, is brilliant. Rather than being a mindless overly-violent death machine, Flash Thompson makes for a very tragic and relatable anti-hero, and the way the book navigates his issue with alcohol, his father, and his disability is really impressive. Not saying that a movie based on that is bound to turn out good, but there's nothing inherently wrong with the idea.

Fishgoat said...

Its a mistake to think that this franchise needs any connection at all to any existing Spider Man Franchise. The beautiful thing about comic books is that they provide a frame but every author/artist uses that frame their own way.

You could write a brilliant Venom movie by having Spider Man always be a suggested character but never present. The shadow at the back of Venom's mind that pushes him could be the shadow at the back of the film that pushes it but is never presented. It would be incredibly appropriate for Venom because his huge involement with Spider Man wasn't the core of his life, just how he was introduced.

If you want to tell a really good Venom story tell it from his perspective and put Spider Man as just a side character at best.

Personally I look forward to this if it happens, I enjoyed Chronicle and I can see where the direction of that film would lend well to using Venom in a proper way as opposed to the clumsy way he is usually used. Venom is a tragic character whose life was incidentally ruined by someone who had no intentions towards him at all.

Dev's Media Reviews said...

If the film's going to be separated from any of the 'Spider-Man films, it'll probably end up as being 'Catwoman' that could mark the end of the career of whoever becomes the titular character.

Smashmatt202 said...

Everyone loves Venom... Why? Well, because he's an evil version of the main hero, that's why...

Yawn. :/

Anonymous said...

You can't judge a movie before it's even created.

Venom has already been established as an anti hero in 'Venom: Letahl Protector'.
Both Eddy and the symbiote believe they have been wronged and operate with a warped sense if justice, harming only criminals.

It should tie into spider-Man otherwise abilities that he possess don't make sense, but as maybe a living symbiote that is then introduced to spider-mans DNA (much like 'ultimate carnage') would work!

Don't jump the gun and say it will be rubbish before anything has even been confirmed, you may never bother to watch another movie ever again!