WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Sony’s Venom, in theaters now.
Venom wasn’t supposed to be just another run-of-the-mill superhero film. Instead, it was intended stand out among all other comic book films by bringing something new to the genre, or so director Ruben Fleischer claimed in interviews. He said Venom wouldn’t have a real hero, in no small part because of the absence of Spider-Man, how no resides in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
If there’s one comic book character capable of headlining a cinematic universe built around villains and antiheroes, it’s Venom. Unfortunately, the film failed to provide an antihero who could distinguish himself from the rest of them.
Venom suffers from a variety of issues, ranging from the inconsistent quality of its special effects to the lack of complexity in its characters. Its main antagonist, for example, Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), repeatedly voiced his feeble motivation for trying to combine the symbiotes with humankind, and never once conveyed anything deeper about his character. That may not have been such a significant issue had any of the other characters been more developed. However, they weren’t, not even the film’s hero, Eddie Brock, played by Tom Hardy.
The film spends a lot of time with Eddie Brock, and yet his character fails to develop in any kind of meaningful way, and so by the end of the second act, his relationship with the symbiote is the lesser for it. That’s even more clear for fans who have spent years following the story of Eddie and the Klyntar suit of the comics.
Before ever encountering Brock, the symbiote had bonded with Spider-Man, and fell in love with him, and did everything in its power to earn his affection, including — as it was recently revealed in The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 — taking over and brutalizing New York’s criminals at night while Peter Parker slept. After he discovered the new suit was a living organism, Peter sought to remove it, and was eventually forced to do so using the sound of church bells, which were harmful to the symbiote. Needless to say, the alien soon developed a burning hatred for Spider-Man, which is one of the reasons why it was drawn to Eddie Brock.
Eddie was an investigative journalist determined to catch the serial killer the Sin-Eater. He thought he had done so when Emil Gregg contacted him and confessed to be the villain. Brock was quick to write an exposé on him, one he was proud of until Spider-Man apprehended the real Sin-Eater. Eddie’s pride turned to humiliation; he lost his job and his wife, and blamed it all on Spider-Man. That hatred intensified and became a burning obsession, driving Eddie to pursue bodybuilding, until he reached near-peak human physical condition. That, and his loathing for Spider-Man, made him a perfect match for the vengeful symbiote.
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