While it may make sense to Sony to mix and match different iterations of the Venom character, the studio has to be careful. Eddie and Flash aren’t just different characters on a visual level; they have completely different narrative and emotional paths, both of which are on opposite ends of the Spider-Man spectrum. Brock’s Venom is largely defined by his complete and utter hatred for the webhead. He sees him as the source of his life going to hell, from originally blaming Spidey for losing his job, to the cancer that eventually ravaged Eddie’s body. As other writers have pointed out, their relationship is a rather twisted one that neither can ever truly escape, even though they’ve both matured in the years between their last breakup and recent separation.
The yin (well, relative yin) to Brock Venom’s yang is Flash’s Agent Venom. His feelings for Spidey were pure hero worship, gladly imitating him even though his legs were already seriously injured. To Flash, the idea of hurting Spider-Man was blasphemy, and the only times that he’s actually fought his hero were in situations that weren’t exactly ideal for him — once, when Otto Octavius was piloting Peter’s body, and a second time actually saw him fight Miles Morales for not being Peter. His and the Symbiote’s stories are intertwined as ones of redemption; Flash getting a second chance at serving his country and being a hero like the man he idolized in his youth, and the Symbiote being bonded to someone who is not a complete psychopath for the first time in decades. Taking Agent Venom to space as a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy (which cannot happen under Sony and Marvel’s current deal) was the equivalent of traveling to another country or city after being dumped and finding yourself a new lover. Doing so reoriented the Symbiote and put it on a path that, even though it’s now reunited with Eddie, offers up new possibilities that were previously unavailable.
The different types of stories you have with the two most distinct Venoms — one of hatred and revenge, another of love and redemption — are why legacy characters exist in the first place, a legacy Sony simply doesn’t have to build from. Even if you want to justify this as being a wholly new continuity, which allows for the ability to do whatever the writers please, combining Eddie and Flash’s stories creates a scenario where a snake is just eating its own tail. It simply isn’t an ideal situation. More problematically, it creates a rather awkward scenario for the MCU’s version of Flash Thompson, currently played by Tony Revolori. That Flash is still a ways off from joining the military, but there will be a time when the character has to grow, and by taking a core component of his future character away from him, Sony may have unintentionally stunted the character’s potential.
Sony and Marvel’s shared custody of the Spider-Man universes has both its advantages and drawbacks. This method of combining elements of newer characters to use with the more well-established ones is understandable, but also runs the risk of damaging the potential futures of the younger characters when they eventually grow into their own. Just jacking someone else’s backstory isn’t as great a solution as it may seem, as there as some characters who are fundamentally tied to those elements. Whether Sony wants to admit this or not, Venom is certainly one of them.
Directed by Ruben Fleischer from a script by Jeff Pinkner and Scott Rosenberg, Venom stars Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock/Venom. Jenny Slate, Michelle Williams and Riz Ahmed will also star in the film, though their current roles are unknown. The film is targeted for release on Oct. 5, 2018.
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