Tag Archives: carnage

A Study in Anti-Heroics

Friendos,

The other night someone posted an image on 4chan outlining the next few movies Marvel will be releasing over the next three summers.  There were definitely some I’m stoked for, like this summer’s “The Wolverine” and of course the second Avengers film which I believe is slated for a summer 2015 release.

However, the one notable omission for me among all of these upcoming movies is the film I have been waiting for for about 20 years now:

Hell yesVenom.

I realize that many of you may not be familiar with Venom so lemme give you a rundown:
Venom is the pairing of disgraced reporter Eddie Brock and an alien symbiote costume originally worn by Spider-Man. Since Brock hated Peter Parker for ruining his journalism career and the symbiote hated Spider-Man for rejecting it (it amped up his aggression) the two made a perfect pairing and were drawn to each other.
The character started out as a villain and nemesis to Spider-Man but eventually evolved into an anti-hero (the anti-hero) of the early 90s. He was like what Stone Cold Steve Austin was to the WWF in the late 90s; proof that morality had shades of grey and that sometimes people wanna cheer for the bad guy.
If you ever saw the third Tobey Maguire Spider-Man movie, Venom makes an appearance toward the end after Topher Grace’s Eddie Brock merges with the black alien goo.

Venom-Spider-Man-3-venom-1883845-949-452

I had mixed feelings about this character: For starters, I liked Grace’s sleazy portrayal of Brock and it was a believable arc into obsession and madness, but the costumed appearance was a little off (too scrawny) and he never referred to himself as “we” like in the comics.  Also the character was a straight-up villain (not even a sympathetic one like sandman) with no qualms about harming an innocent Mary-Jane.  And if there is one thing Venom is adamant about it’s protecting “innocents.”  And since there was no redeeming aspect to him, there was none of Spider-Man’s internal conflict about stopping him,

photo

which is one of the things which makes their relationship so interesting.  However, this was understandable considering that he only appears in the movie’s third act and there are two other villains already.  Still, it would have been nice to see more of the complex relationship between him and Spidey.
Short of that I would happily watch a movie about Venom which basically picked up where he “died” in SM3.  Since that trilogy is done and they have since rebooted the Spider-Man franchise, it obviously wouldn’t (couldn’t) be a movie which followed the continued battles between Venom and the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man, but that’s okay because Venom actually had a life and career in California after his earlier career as Spider-Man’s arch-nemesis.

If it were up to me…

Venom’s survival after his apparent death in SM3 could be easily explained away (this is a comic book universe after all).

Picture 3

They smartly left Venom open for resurrection by showing the symbiote re-accepting Brock seconds before the pumpkin bomb asploded.

In his weakened state he hitch-hikes/stows away out to California, utilizing the costume’s camouflage ability which was never explored in SM3.  Upon reaching San Francisco he could meet up with his father and that relationship could be explored like it was in the “Lethal Protector” story arc while he stumbles upon a crime ring in SF or Oakland. Having already been painted as an asshole in SM3, his better nature could be explored by showing how he protects fellow outcasts (like the SF homeless) as he learns to move on from his defeat at the hands of Spider-Man.
The obvious good thing about this approach is that they could avoid doing an origin story which would necessarily have to involve Spider-Man, who as a Marvel A-lister would necessarily have to steal the show.
Fuck that; we know where Venom came from already and even if the Sam Raimi Spider-Man’s story ended, Venom’s is ripe to be explored.  Simply do a quick montage like during the opening credits of X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Picture 4

to show how he moved from SM3 to San Francisco and BAM you have an adequately explained hero and possibilities for awesomeness.
There is literally so many places to go with this and Marvel has already proven that a B-list hero can carry a movie.

Ghost_Rider

Ghost Rider

Even more significantly, a C-lister like Blade not only carried a movie but spawned a trilogy.

Picture 1

Ultimately if the story is good it doesnt matter how much cultural clout the character has.  After all, the fact that I’d never heard of The Watchmen prior to seeing a trailer for the film didn’t detract from my enjoyment of it.

***

Realistically, do I think I will see the continuing adventures of Topher Grace’s Venom?  No, but I am more concerned with seeing any portrayal of the character than I am with seeing a specific actor’s portrayal (even if I didn’t really take any issue with that actor’s portrayal and feel that the backlash against him was unwarranted).  Hopefully the new rebooted Amazing Spider-Man franchise starring Andrew Garfield will make good use of the character in a way that Raimi’s franchise did not.

So far, the first film in that rebo0t featured the Lizard as a villain,

amazing-spider-man-lizard

while the upcoming sequel features Electro and Rhino,

Picture 2

three villains who were absent from the Raimi trilogy.  These choices make sense because Spider-Man’s rogues gallery is second perhaps only to Batman’s in size, so repeating various villains in unnecessary.  That said, if one villain deserves a repeat appearance in the third film, it is Eddie Brock’s Venom.  As well as being a key character in any story arc involving the symbiotes (such as Maximum Carnage, Lethal Protector, Separation Anxiety, etc.),

Amazing_Spider-Man_Vol_1_365_page_39-40_Maximum_Carnage

More than world peace , I would like to see the cinematic equivalent of this drawing.

he is a dark reminder to Spider-man of everything he does not want to be but could easily become if he gave free rein to his emotions.

Best,

-Andre Guantanamo

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Comics, Movies, Uncategorized

The Mission

My Friends,
   I am working in Toronto this weekend east of downtown.  Its actually an easy job: show up in the east end for 8am, set up some stuff for an hour or so, come back at 1pm and tear it down.  Then the day is mine.  However, it is the period between set-up and tear-down I am most looking forward to because I will be in the neighbourhood of a seriously sweet nerd-shop which I visited back in the summer on another job.  To clarify, when I say nerd-shop I mean a place that sells comic books, cards, collectibles, sculptures and most importantly, toys.  As you might recall from my recent post, “The Curious Case of Andre Guantanamo” (23 July 2012) I have in the last few months been on an action-figure binge after recognizing that even though I am ostensibly an adult I still have immature tastes and I should nurture these tastes.  Anyhow, this particular shop made it into a tweet a while back when I sat mulling over which action figure to buy while there.

RotJ Luke, ESB Han, or WW2 Captain America.  I opted for the Cap under the advisement of the clerk.

These three figures were only a sampling of the many figures at the store from both the retro Star Wars line and the Marvel Universe line, my two current favourites.  So needless to say I am excited to go back.  When you factor in that I could also potentially visit the Silver Snail on the other side of the downtown core while in the city, well it occurred to me that there would be a veritable feast of toys to choose from this weekend.
   And therein lay the problem; nurturing a massive toy boner,

Pictured: Another Kind of Toy Boner

I got so worked up about the smorgasbord of action figures I would get to choose from that I prematurely decided to go looking for some toys on the way back from picking up the gear for the weekend from the company’s warehouse in Mississauga.  Chatting with one of the workers there (a fellow nerd) I learned of Gotham Central on Dixie Rd.,  not 5km from my current position.  I asked him to clarify if they had the toy lines I was looking for and he confirmed it.  So I went and checked it out, and while it was a good shop he oversold it a little and it turns out they didn’t carry much in the way of what I was looking for.
   But this was ok, as I had only learned about this place at the last minute and my actual plan had been to hit the Toys R’ Us on Hurontario and the Wal-Mart on Hwy 5 and Trafalgar on the way back to Hamilton; a somewhat roundabout way to get home but planned with maximum toy exposure in mind.  So I hit the TRU and was mostly disappointed.  They really had nothing too much in the way of either preferred toy line.  Dejected I decided to make my way to Wal-Mart but I did notice two shelves of Marvel Universe 2-packs.  The two which caught my eye were… 
…Black Costume Spider-Man & Dr. Doom…

…and Old-School Wolverine & She-Hulk.

Now right off the bat I have to say that I have no special affinity for Dr. Doom or She-Hulk.  I just wasn’t raised on them I guess.  That said I couldn’t really justify buying either set when I would be paying twice the price for a character I didn’t want.  But even more than this, I had a close look at the knee joints of Spider-Man and Wolverine and they looked a little fucky so I decided that discretion would have to be the better part of valor and I proceeded to Oakville and the Wal-Mart there.
   Utter disappointment awaited me here as the only thing they had in the way of Star Wars figures was the shit that no one wanted,
Quinlan Vos anyone?…Anyone?

and for the Marvel figures all they had was toys from the Spider-Man movie.  I gave these a quick once-over to see if any struck my fancy but there were like ten variations of Spider-Man (i.e. Hydro-Jet Spider-Man, Rocket-Boost Spider-Man, Chunneling Spider-Man, etc.) and they all sucked.
   Moving right along, I headed west across Dundas into Burlington where there was another Wal-Mart on Appleby Line.  Again I was presented with the same disappointing array of toys and out of desperation turned again to the Spider-Man movie line.  There was in this case one action figure who caught my eye: 
“Symbiote Strike Spider-Man”

My interest in this figure stemmed solely from the fact that I am a fan of the Venom character and this was Spider-Man wearing the symbiotic black suit before Eddie Brock got it.  But I am a discerning shopper who does not simply buy something flashy if it has no utility.  Thankfully we live in an age of iphones and tech-savvy nerds like me who do things like post toy reviews on Youtube.  I watched this review while standing in the aisle,
and decided to pass on this figure on account of his poor articulation and poseability.  You laugh at my thoroughness, but this is actually the second time I have checked out a review for a toy on the fly.  The first time was about a week back when I was trying to decide between Master Chief from Halo 4 and a Dark Knight Rises Batman:
As you can see, I also consulted the Twitters

I made up my mind to get Batman after watching a review of the figure which allayed my fears of poor articulation and poseability.  In fact the figure turned out to not only be incredibly detailed but very poseable…
as you can see here.

   So I left Wal-Mart still empty-handed, disheartened and resolved to head home.  But like a spiteful harpy bringing deceitful promises of wonderful toys, I saw another TRU as I pulled out of the Wal-Mart plaza.  I suppose they had built it just recently and I hadn’t as such been able to work it into my original plans.   Was it worth checking out?
Worth dying for…
Worth killing for…
Worth making an illegal U-turn for.  
   FAILURE!  This TRU actually had some of exactly what I was l looking for, but its failing was that it didn’t have all of exactly what I was looking for.  I couldn’t believe it: I had checked out five stores across Mississauga, Oakville and Burlington and none carried any of the good toys I wanted, and when they did carry something good it was never the character I wanted or it was bundled with some garbage.  Perhaps this is a testament to my pickiness.  But I like what I like.  And if my woman makes fun of me for spending so much time searching and being picky, I will be forced to remind her that it was the same pickiness and discernment which led me to choose her.  Smooth right?
   Still I think I learned that if you’re excited about something, like I am about tomorrow’s happy toy hunting in Toronto, you shouldn’t cheapen it with little teases at the local toy emporium.  It’s like knowing your going to have some freaky, guilt-inducing sex and getting so stoked about it that you get horny and relent to watching some missionary porn.  What’s the sense in that?  Honestly; why not just wait?
   Anyhow, I didn’t quite get my proverbial “toy nut” today so if I don’t find something incredibly sick tomorrow I run a serious risk of catching the collector’s equivalent of blue-balls.  
Stay Thirsty,
-Andre Guantanamo


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized