After an initial teaser that didn’t show much of Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock as Venom, the first full trailer for Sony’s Venom film debuted the character in all of his glory. We get a clear indication of where Sony and director Ruben Fleischer are now taking the character and his origin story, basically shaping him as a righteous reporter who’s in the wrong place at the wrong time, and more so, someone who becomes an anti-hero instead of a villain.
It’s pretty clear that this Venom is very different from the one we got in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 back in 2007, which saw Topher Grace in the iconic role. While both versions do share somewhat similar backstories — a reporter who accidentally gets infected by an alien symbiote to become more monster than man — there are a few things that set them us as distinctly different from each other.
When it comes to Venom’s overall look, both versions are similar in terms of being bulky, black and, well, gooey — all traits that faithfully reflect the comic version. Raimi’s Venom had bigger eyes, like the comics, while Hardy’s version has thus far involved eyes that are more narrow. However, we’ve just seen a snippet of Hardy’s facial demeanors as Venom, so that could change.
Hardy’s Venom does have the edge in terms of looking more like he came straight off the comic pages. It has longer, farm more frightening teeth, all intimidating in rows like a shark, and a longer, slimier tongue that Venom’s co-creators David Michelinie and Todd McFarlane would be proud of.
Fleischer’s Venom just looks more convincing than Raimi’s, which is understandable given that it’s been over a decade since the last symbiote hit the big screen, and CGI technology has made astounding advancements in that time. This results in a new Venom that’s meaner, scarier and more action-driven, as evidenced in the trailer when a newly infected Eddie takes out agents from the Life Foundation who want to recover the alien symbiote. We see his tendrils shooting out his body at all angles, acting like Topher Grace’s webs, but with much deadlier results. These alien extensions are acting instinctively, as opposed to Grace’s version, which was a bit basic and felt like he was simply harnessing powers that mirrored Spider-Man’s.
Grace’s Venom came off like it was part of Brock physically, warping him and changing his human persona, as seen with the character’s disfigured teeth, even when not enveloped by the symbiote. The new Venom feels more like an entity of its own, a suit that’s taking control of Eddie as per the trailer’s final shot where it covers Hardy’s face, before announcing, “We are Venom” – whether Eddie likes it or not
Fleischer plays up the possession aspect of the symbiote, and the mental war Hardy’s character will be fighting. This was something Grace’s character didn’t really experience; he was simply obnoxious and quippy, which led to him wanting to exploit the symbiote’s power as a true villain. Hardy’s take, on the other hand, is that of an innocent victim who’s trying to ward off the encroaching darkness that the symbiote brings into his life.
Hardy’s back and forth with the creature paints the situation as two personalities fighting for control of one body, a battle made all the more haunting when we see it infecting him, turning his eyes black and coursing through his veins. This is an aesthetic that adds more gravity to the story, and one Raimi opted not to pursue given the lighter spin he wanted for his villain.
Which brings us to the overall essence of the new world Fleischer’s creating. Grace’s Venom was simply trying to get one over on Peter Parker, looking to steal his job and Gwen Stacy, which all fit in with Raimi’s family-friendly superhero universe. The Venom movie, however, is clearly a sci-fi horror tale. The way Fleischer presents the human hosts as targets for the symbiotes to possess, writhing and convulsing, reiterates that Hardy’s Venom will indeed be far grittier and scarier than the last time the character graced theaters.
Directed by Ruben Fleischer from a script by Jeff Pinkner and Scott Rosenberg, Venom stars Tom Hardy, Jenny Slate, Michelle Williams and Riz Ahmed. The film arrives Oct. 5, 2018.
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