It’s a little more than a month until Sony’s Venom slithers its way into theaters, and there’s still a few things we don’t know about the film. But one thing we do know now is how it will sound. After a brief tease, Eminem released a new soundtrack last night called Kamikaze, with the final song titled “Venom - Music From the Motion Picture.”
Yes, that is its full title.
The four-and-a-half-minute song sounds like what you’d expect from Eminem: brief mentions of Marvel and Eddie Brock, plenty of swearing, and likening his draw to now-grown adults to the Symbiote. How you feel about the track will depend largely on where you stand on Marshall Mathers as an artist. It’s perfectly fine as a song, but it’s also disappointing that Sony seemingly hasn’t learned a lesson from the Black Panther and Teen Titans Go! to the Movies soundtracks, and instead decided to reach back to the superhero movie era of the 2000s.
As influential as that period was, it didn’t exactly have the best original soundtracks. Sure, the superhero films of the era had their share of iconic songs, most notably from Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy. However one feels about Nickelback, “Hero” is an undisputed jam, as is “Vindicated” by Dashboard Confessional. But they also had cheesy, on-the-nose lyrics that made it embarrassingly clear their true purpose was to either be played during the credits or to draw in fans of a particular band. That type of superhero soundtrack has had fits and starts in recent years: 2012 saw it return with Avengers Assemble, and then in 2014 and 2016, respectively, with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Suicide Squad, both of which included music that isn’t really remembered all that fondly. (Last year’s Wonder Woman also made an attempt at this with the Sia single “To Be Human.”)
This year has been a bit of an upswing. The Black Panther soundtrack, which featured Kendrick Lamar and artists handpicked by him, underlined the emotional conflicts experienced by T’Challa and Erik Killmonger throughout the film. Instead of being a soundtrack made for a superhero movie, it sounds more like one that just happens to be in a superhero movie, which is more different than it sounds. Teen Titans Go!, while playing into the musical tropes typically found in Disney or DreamWorks films, has the added bonus of being notorious for having some truly catchy songs in its episodes. Even the yet-to-be-released Vince Staples songs for the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse trailers have a great resonance to them.
Compared to those two soundtracks — and as a film hoping to kickstart a cinematic universe, it deserves this scrutiny — Venom can’t help but feel like it’s coming from the early 2000s. What a song focused on Eddie Brock and his relationship with the Symbiote sounds like in 2018 is up for debate, but it could definitely be better after following up a stacked roster of bangers from this year.
How Venom’s music will sound outside of this is anyone’s guess; he probably could carry a whole roster of bands singing about him, in all honesty. Eminem’s single probably should’ve been saved until October, because as it stands, it makes this 2018 movie feel like it’s coming to us from 2005.
Swinging into theaters on Oct. 5, director Ruben Fleischer’s Venom stars Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock/Venom, Michelle Williams as Anne Weying, and Riz Ahmed as Carlton Drake/Riot.