Amidst dwindling returns from its in-house superhero films, last year’s ‘Venom’ gave Sony some respite. Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios have a long and complex equation between them. Unfortunately, under those minute copyright ownerships and deals, the fan-favorite characters suffer the most. For instance, imagining a Venom film without Spider-Man in it is something fans all over the world can’t wrap their heads around. Yet, the exact thing happened in 2018. We got a full-fledged Venom film from Sony, without Spider-Man. The film ‘Venom’ starring Tom Hardy as the host Eddie Brock released in theatre with much noise. The film was divisive at best, polarising critics and fans alike from favorable response to aggressively negative reviews. Yet, somehow it managed to sail over all those divisiveness and brought home more than 800 million dollars.
The commercial success and buzz around the first film made Sony greenlight the sequel. Some people didn’t like the portrayal of Venom in the first film but almost everyone praised Tom Hardy’s performance. Venom’s treatment in the film wasn’t exactly comic accurate per se. The film’s intention to be lighter and funnier didn’t help either. It just made the dark anti-hero less menacing and more like a cute pet with ownership issues. Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock and Venom’s controversial camaraderie was operating on a very thin line, and if it wasn’t for Hardy’s excellent performance, the film could’ve easily turned out to be a train wreck.
As Marvel Cinematic Universe keeps on flourishing and churning out money for Disney, other studios are also trying to set up their own comic book universes with whatever resources they have left. DC comics tried under the guidance of Warner Bros. but suffered blows after blows that ended with the killer punch that was ‘Justice League’ (2017). As DC is trying to heal and slowly gather momentum again with ‘Aquaman’ (2017) and ‘Shazam’ (2018), other studios like Sony Pictures are also looking inwards. Sony owns the Spider-Man universe and after the complex standing of Spider-Man between Sony and Marvel, Venom was always the safest bet. We last saw Venom on the big screen before this in Sam Raimi’s famously infamous ‘Spider-Man 3’ (2007).
The film ‘Venom’ acted as a long exposition scene that established Venom, an alien symbiote with a quirky reporter, Eddie Brock. In the film, we see Eddie as a headstrong and stubborn investigative reporter working to expose critical issues. His strong moral code and search for a new story lead him to the inner workings of Life Foundation and its founder Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed).
Carlton Drake is doing shady businesses by exploring possibilities of outer space symbiote to enhance humans and killing off poor people as guinea pigs. Eddie brushes him in the wrong way and ends up losing his job and his life’s work. His life is shattered. He becomes depressed and indulges in drinking until he gets an opportunity to get inside of Life Foundation and expose Drake. His secret invasion doesn’t go as planned and he accidentally comes in contact with the symbiote. The symbiote named Venom makes Eddie his new host and the host-parasite duo explore their new dual existence with a lot of complex understandings. Venom confides in Eddie that it wasn’t Carlton’s space mission success that brought the symbiotes on Earth; it was their choice. They came to Earth to explore the possibilities of devouring the living beings, and another symbiote in the team named Riot is at the helm of this secret mission.
Eddie and Venom spend a lot of time with their own clash of spirits while fighting off Drake’s goons. Eddie’s ex-girlfriend Anne Weying (Michelle Williams) finally realizes Eddie’s crisis and decides to help him with her new doctor boyfriend. It is revealed that symbiotes need to bond with a living being in order to survive and that high-frequency noise and fire are their weaknesses. Meanwhile Riot, the most deadly and menacing symbiote, bonds with none other than Carlton Drake. Venom decides to help human beings and stop Riot from going back to space. Eddie and Venom together attempt to stop Riot from reaching the rocket in an amazing CGI fight.
The ending is everything but extraordinary. It was on the expected lines and didn’t try to deliver something fans have not seen before. In fact, it is one of the biggest issues the movie faced. Everything appeared all too familiar. Even the character arc and appearance of Anne seemed reminiscent of Gwen Stacy from Sony’s own failed ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ series. The foes were shown as strong and the threat real but the stakes never felt high enough. As discussed before, Venom’s treatment was a big point of criticism from comic book fans and ultimately, the film felt just became an average one. However, the strong box-office performance of the first film gives the sequel a breather. The plot and the people behind it also make it more appealing than the first.
Venom 2 Plot: What is it about?
Spider-Man! This is the ultimate demand of long-time comic book fans. But if we look closely at the current scenario, then we are up for some more bad news. After failing to launch its own Spider-Man universe with ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ series in 2011, Sony gave Peter Parker the permission to appear in MCU. The solo Spider-Man films in MCU are financed by Sony and the profit is all for Sony to take, but Marvel has all the creative control to execute the films. Letting Spider-Man make an appearance in a Venom film means that Venom inevitably becomes part of MCU as well, which is definitely not the case. So until Marvel again persuades Sony to let Venom appear in the MCU, there can’t be any toe-to-toe fight between Peter Parker and Eddie Brock.
2018’s ‘Venom’ tried to establish the intricate universe of the symbiotes and succeeded, thanks to the post-credit scene. In the post-credit scene, we see Eddie entering a cell to interview the abominable serial killer, Cletus Kasady. Comic book fans instantly recognized the name as he’s the host of another evil symbiote, Carnage. Kasady, played by Woody Harrelson, finished his death stare with the phrase, ‘there will be carnage’. Spider-Man has a long history with the anti-hero persona of Venom but the next best thing the fans could have hoped for is the duel between Venom and Carnage. As Venom has reiterated multiple times in the film, the dual identity is all about ‘we’. The host’s identity and the parasite’s identity combine to determine the creature’s lethality. That’s why Riot and Carlton Drake got the better of Venom and Eddie for the most part. Similarly, the bond between the deranged mind of Cletus Kasady and bloodthirsty Carnage will pose a more deadly challenge to Venom and co. in ‘Venom 2’.
Venom 2 Cast: Who is in it?
Tom Hardy is returning to be Venom’s host again. After the maturity their relationship has reached by the end of the first film, ‘Venom 2’ can further explore it. As teased, Woody Harrelson is returning to portray Cletus Kasady aka Carnage. Michelle Williams is also confirmed to return as Eddie’s estranged girlfriend Anne Weying. Venom inside Anne was one of the most exciting things that we witnessed in ‘Venom’. Both Williams and fans hope to see more of the she-Venom in the sequel. However, the biggest addition to ‘Venom 2’ so far has been Andy Serkis. We have known him as Gollum and Caeser in trilogies like ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Planet of the Apes’ and as the director of ‘Breath’ (2017) and ‘Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle’ (2018). Serkis is not particularly unfamiliar with comic book films as he has appeared as Ulysses Klaue in Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’ (2018) last year. Given his mastery over motion capture acting, Serkis’ direction will be a big boost for ‘Venom 2’. Tom Hardy is also helping out Kelly Marcel in fine-tuning the script so that’s another thing we are looking forward to.
Venom 2 Release Date: When will it premiere?
‘Venom 2’ is currently in the pre-production stage with more people behind the project being added regularly. There’s a lot of time left before the shooting starts and the film is expected to release in theatre on 2nd October 2020. People like Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Woody Harrelson and Andy Serkis behind it has got us really excited. Add that with the mouth-watering battle between Venom and Carnage and our relentless hope for a Spider-Man cameo, ‘Venom 2’ can’t come sooner.
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