No one expected to like Sony's Venom back when it was announced. No one expected it to make nearly a billion dollars. The film starring everyone's favorite '90s villain-turned-antihero faced an uphill battle from the start. No one expected it to meet with the success it has.
But arguably the most shocking twist is that the film has struck a chord with its LGBTQA audience. Many people in the community have embraced Venom as a story they can identify with on an emotional level. This has left many scratching their heads, including people who write Venom. No one set out to make the film an LGBTQA film, yet it has become something of a cult film in the community. But...why?
10. Gender Nonconformity
Many people forget, either deliberately or by accident, that the LGBTQA community isn't just about sexuality, but also gender. Many individuals do not identify with the gender they are assigned at birth. Taking this a step further, many do not fit in the gender binary at all. Nonbinary folk often relate to characters who fit into neither male or female genders, like the Venom symbiote. The Venom symbiote never identifies as male or female, taking on both a masculine and feminine appearance depending on the host. Nonbinary folks have related to this character's gender fluidity. Even though the symbiotes all possess a masculine-presenting voice, gender itself is never established.
Indeed, when Venom is fully united, he uses the pronoun "we" rather than "I." While this is due to the fact that Venom consists of two separate individuals, Venom appears from the outside to be a singular person. Many nonbinary people use traditionally plural pronouns in the singular, which has triggered discourse about using a gender-neutral pronoun that doesn't sound dehumanizing like "it." In the comics, it is apparent that the Venom symbiote, despite often presenting in a male voice, can become pregnant and reproduce. Inevitably, in Venom 2, this will be how the Carnage symbiote emerges.
PREVIOUSLY: Venom: Ranking the Strongest Symbiotes
9. Queer Relationship
Once it is clear that the symbiote lacks a gender, it is clear that Eddie and the symbiote Venom are in, essentially, a queer relationship. As the symbiote is not necessarily male, it isn't a same-sex relationship, but at the same time, the symbiote is not of the "opposite" sex, either.
Beyond simply being a partnership, however, both Venom and Eddie form a relationship that can be read as romantic. They intimately understand one another, go inside one another's bodies, and, after a while, need the other to survive. True symbiosis. Also, they have discussions about what dinner to get and all that, which is essentially sorta-romantic.
While polyamory is not an inherently LGBTQA concept, it is often discussed in LGBTQA discourse as an alternative to the traditionally monogamous relationships of old.
And, yes, Venom does feature a potential polyamorous relationship between Eddie, Venom, and Anne. In this context, Venom grasps onto both Eddie and Anne, forming a relationship with both (though Eddie more predominantly). Towards the end, it is even clear that Venom would like to have Anne for itself, and that Eddie has romantic feelings for her. While it can be argued that bseparatelytely would want Anne, any relationship between the three of them would require a balance of intimacy. In short, a pseudo-polyamorous relationship.
7. Toxic Relationships
While the earlier information establishes the basis for queer coding in Venom, what follows is how queer audiences relate to Venom's narrative and characters on a more intimate level.
It is clear that Eddie and Venom's relationship is unique in the series. A perfect host. This again draws a parallel to real-world relationships. Toxicity in a relationship can leave both people worn out. When a toxic partner leaves, the person rejected may feel dead inside.
In Venom, people who have symbiotes inside them literally end up dead inside. Part of the reason the LGBTQA community has turned Venom into a cult film is because of an innate connection to the material. Toxicity exists in every sort of relationship, but only a perfect relationship built on mutual trust and understanding can function. Like Eddie and Venom.
6. "Kind of a Loser"
LGBTQA people can relate to feeling like a loser. When society establishes a certain set of norms and expectations, to fall outside those expectations can definitely result in feeling quite like a loser.
This might be why a lot of the LGBTQA community latches onto characters who, at some point or another, feel ostracized by society. This leads to Venom, in which both Eddie and the symbiote are regarded as losers. Outsiders to their own society. Only together are they able to complete one another.
This is a relationship that many queer couples can relate to.
5. Monsters Are Sexy?
This is a little outside the realm of understanding, but there is a subculture of individuals out there who find monsters kinda hot. As such, many, many, MANY people thought that Venom, with his monstrous fangs and enormous tongue, was kinda hot?
While, like with polyamory, there is no intrinsic link between the LGBTQA community and Monster F***ers (as they like to be known), there is a distinct overlap between the two, as both are outsiders to the mainstream hetero-normatnive society that we live in. This has helped establish it as a cult-film.
4. Thirst For Representation
While the desire for representation is nothing new, in recent years there has been a huge push for representation of minorities in superhero media. While comics have tried to step up their game with this, cinema has been slower to catch up. This year, Black Panther has offered people of color an opportunity of representation hitherto unseen before.
Venom is not the gays' Black Panther. But it is one of the few films to offer, if unintentionally, a queer relationship in a superhero film. When there are so few examples of this in superhero media, the LGBTQA community will take what they can get.
Okay, this goes more into the territory of self-deprecating humor, but many members of the LGBTQA community, especially younger LGBTQA individuals, joke about being able to function as an adult in society. This ties in with a generational issue. Due to this, tied in with the themes of Venom being an "outsider," any LGBTQA individuals see Venom as a cult-film, as they feel that their personal experiences are being reflected on the big screen.
This is of course a slightly general statement that does not necessarily directly link up with the LGBTQA experience. It's just an extra layer to it.
2. Unnatural Unions
While Venom and Eddie end up together by the time Venom's credits roll, there comes a point in the middle of the film where Venom and Eddie are separated. The reason? Their relationship is unnatural.
While in this case, the film is about an alien creature that is literally causing Eddie to have cardiac arrest, the idea of a relationship being declared "unnatural" is painfully true to a lot of LGBTQA people. Many people have had families and authorities intervene in life decisions or relationships due to the inherent "wrongness" seen in LGBTQA people. Because of this, while not a one-to-one comparison (same-sex relationships don't cause organ failure and trans folk are not aliens), many LGBTQA folks might feel a pang of familiarity with this idea as a concept, as well as a sense of validation when, ultimately, Venom and Eddie remain united, finding that the scientific concerns that would have separated them aren't much of a concern.
1. No One Expected It To Be Good
There is something to be said for an underdog story.
Venom was seen as a joke. Online armchair critics expected it to flop. No one expected it to make nearly a billion dollars. No one expected people to generally like or even love the film.
As such, many people who went in expecting to hate it didn't expect it to resonate with them. They went in expecting a '90s throwback. They did not expect to see a film that addresses the specifics of the LGBTQA experience more than most of the X-Men films -- films that are supposed to be about oppressed people. Venom was a surprise, and audiences were not prepared for anything they got out of this film. It subverted expectations, offering something surprisingly heartfelt.
Venom has become an LGBTQA cult film for numerous reasons, but one of the biggest reasons it resonated is because no one could have expected it to connect.