Tag Archives: sam raimi

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.

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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,

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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).

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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

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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.

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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,

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while the upcoming sequel features Electro and Rhino,

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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.),

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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

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