Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of weeks, you’ve probably heard that Sony Pictures are planning to revive their long-awaited Venom movie project. I think it’s fair to say that Venom is an almost universally loved Spider-Man villain/anti-hero, so it naturally follows that whomever takes on this project had better know what they’re doing. There could be a lot of upset Spider-fans if the studio get this wrong.
Sony Pictures currently hold the rights to both Spider-Man and Venom, and have released five films, three with Tobey Maguire and two with Andrew Garfield. In terms of box-office success, it’s been diminishing returns for the studio, and critically it hasn’t fared much better. That said, the first two Tobey Maguire films still stand up as great superhero comic movies. Let’s be honest, Alfred Molina‘s performance as Doc Ock in Spider-Man 2 was a tour de force, all power and pathos. And in light of Spidey’s appearance in the latest Civil War trailer, there has been an upsurge in nostalgic cries for the days of the Maguire Spider-Man.
Of course, the Maguire Spider-Man films lead us neatly onto Sony’s history with Venom. The last time Sony used Venom in a film, it garnered the worst reviews of any Spider-Man film before or since. It’s not necessarily that Venom was the problem with the film, but he was one of too many bad guys in the film. That, and he was kind of tacked onto the story, which isn’t really fitting for a villain of his magnitude. Visually, they pretty much captured the malice and viciousness of the symbiote, although not the immense wall of violence that we all know and love. Given the right creative team, there is absolutely no reason that Sony couldn’t create a tremendous Venom movie. There is so much potential here, but I think some fans, myself included, are worried by Sony’s previously inconsistent record on Spider-Man films.
Then we have the Amazing Spider-Man films, starring Andrew Garfield. These movies seemed to find their stride a little more; with a darker, grittier New York and characters to match. Perhaps this is the kind of world in which Venom could really stretch his muscles. Combined with a younger Spider-Man in the shape of Tom Holland, Venom could look and feel terrifying, especially in the darker side of the city. Of course, this assumes that this movie will cross over with Spider-Man at some point, which is by no means guaranteed. The latest I’ve heard about directors says that Josh Trank of Fant4stic is attached for it. Let’s hope it’s a step away from his last adventure in comic-book films.
So it’s reasonable to say that Sony have a checkered history with their comic rights. To be fair, Fox are equally guilty of inconsistent treatment of their properties, *cough*Fant4stic*cough*, but Deadpool was a blast, so I guess we can but hope.
Of course, Marvel Studios haven’t really had a fair crack of the whip with Spider-Man or Venom, so it’s hard to say with any certainty what they could do. Honestly, my heart says that Marvel would nail it, but how do you introduce a major Spider-Man villain without establishing Spider-Man effectively? Without Spidey, Venom is just a big, scary guy in black who can shoot webs and climb walls. That said, with access to all of Marvel’s writers and directors, plus Disney’s budget, they could make something very special of this, even without tying it into the wall-crawler. Assuming they just wanted to skip the Spider-Man thing and jump straight into Venom, there are a few more recent arcs or series that either studio could plump for; I’m thinking Agent Venom or Venom Space Knight. Given the surprising yet enduring popularity of Guardians of The Galaxy, Space Knight would offer a galactic setting that could offer potential for a future GoTG cross-over for Marvel, as well as a comparable setting with an added sinister and edgy vibe. Alternatively, Agent Venom has scope for Punisher-esque gunplay and straight-up action with a complex, tortured and topical hero.
As I have previously said, it’s quite likely that either studio could create a great Venom movie; given the right screenwriters, right director and right cast, the studio can kind of fall into the background. Of course, Marvel Studios do tend towards a more cohesive vision for their shared universe, which is a plus in my book especially given Sony’s enthusiasm for irregular reboots.
So you’ve heard what I have to say, now it’s your turn. Who would you prefer to make a Venom movie; Sony or Marvel? Or perhaps another studio altogether? Voice your opinions in the comments below or hit us up on our twitter page.