After months of anticipation, fans finally got their first official glimpse of Sony's long-awaited Venom, the movie that will expand the studio's Spider-Man franchise beyond the adventures of the web-slinger. The response to the photo of star Tom Hardy as protagonist Eddie Brock? A resounding, "Meh ..."
It's no surprise, really. With the movie still 10 months from release, it's fairly likely there's nothing to be shown of the Venom symbiote, either on its own or coursing over Hardy's frame. Sure, some concept art would be nice, but Sony would probably rather wait for a full and proper reveal, either on a poster or, even better, in the first teaser trailer. Even then, the studio will want to hold off as long as possible in order to make sure our first impression of Venom is better than, say, this:
So why release a shot of Hardy dressed in work casual rather than, say, a photo of the star in a motion-capture suit punching someone in another mo-cap suit, or running frantically down the street? Well, there are actually several perfectly good reasons for Sony to have released what is objectively a boring image.
The first is that, well, the image is less boring than it first appears to be. Yes, it's pretty much just a shot of Eddie Brock holding a notebook, with nary a symbiote to be found. However, what's in the notebook is a pretty major clue regarding the film's storyline. We break it down in greater detail here, but the short version is that the notebook text appears to confirm reports that the Venom: Lethal Protector comic will serves as inspiration for the film's storyline. Giving fans something fairly bland forces them to look more closely at the details, thus allowing Sony the chance to get across a rather large bit of information in a single image.
That in turn leads to another possible reason Sony made the call to debut this as the film's first official image. Despite numerous reports to the contrary, and the film being described by Sony as a horror movie, fans persist in hoping for an Agent Venom film. By making the first image a shot of Eddie Brock, journalist, complete with written text confirming the film's inspiration, Sony has effectively stated, "Hey, this really is scary, body-horror Venom, not sci-fi superhero Agent Venom."
After all, something has to be saved for the sequel, right?
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.