Who Is Venom? A Look into The Character and Ideas for Bringing Him Back to the Big Screen

by     Posted 343 days ago

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Let’s go back in time for this one.  Cue 10-year-old Evan Valentine enthusiastically opening up one of his first comic books.  In Amazing Spiderman #300, the world, and myself, was introduced to a character who would have a lasting impact on the comic book world.  His name was Venom.  With the recent announcement that Sony Pictures is moving forward with a spinoff movie from the Spider-Man franchise starring everyone’s favorite symbiote, I wanted to take this opportunity to run through Venom’s history, character, and ideas for what could make Venom’s second big screen appearance work.  Hit the jump for more.

Who Is Venom?

Venom 1

Much like any comic book character being brought into mainstream media, Venom’s origin has changed from interpretation to interpretation.  At his core though, he is essentially a giant, twisted, horrific version of Spider-Man.  Originally, Venom was made up of an alien costume (brought over from a series entitled Secret Wars) that Spider-Man wore for a time before realizing it was actually alive.  Rejecting the suit, it lashed out and grew a hatred for Spider-Man and merged with a guy named Eddie Brock, a reporter who had been inadvertently discredited by Spidey and swore revenge.

After a few stories in which Venom tormented poor old Peter Parker, his star began to shine brighter than even the protagonist he fought, and it was decided by Marvel Comics at the time that Eddie would get his own series. Dubbed “The Lethal Protector”, Venom began fighting crime in San Francisco and had a series of comics where he fought Juggernaut, an army of tiny green goblins, worked as an agent of the government, and grew extra tiny heads. The 90’s were weird is what I’m saying.  From there, Venom drifted in and out of the role of hero and villain, and it was then decided that the symbiote would need to find a new host. Eddie Brock was cast to the curb and Mac Gargan, former Spider-Man villain, The Scorpion, was given his shot to be the man behind the teeth.  After fighting Spider-Man on a few occasions, and being a member of the Dark Avengers, Gargan’s time as Venom eventually came to an end as well.

Recently, the symbiote has been hanging out with former Peter Parker bully/friend, Flash Thompson who has been using the symbiote for good!  Working on missions for the government after losing his legs in the Middle East, Thompson had his own series as Venom and even joined the ranks of Marvel’s Secret Avengers. It has recently been announced that he will soon be joining the Guardians of the Galaxy.  Sometimes even I don’t know how I keep up with all this!

Ultimate Venom

Venom 2

In the Ultimate Marvel universe, which is essentially a retelling of their universe with a modern twist, Venom was actually the result of Peter and Eddie’s fathers creating, what they thought was, the cure for cancer.  “The Suit” as it was called, was a science experiment that Eddie had been holding onto as part of his “legacy”, which found itself attached to Peter.  The suit acted more as a vampire than anything else, sucking the life from people in order to feed it, and rather than looking like a bigger, more sinister version of Spider-Man, it looked like a monster.

I mention the “Ultimate” version of Venom because the recent Amazing Spider-Man franchise has taken most of its cues from the modern retelling of the story, rather than the old continuity.  The franchise has also decided to focus more of itself on the mystery surrounding Peter’s parents, and since this version of Venom is deeply entrenched in their history, it seems like a no brainer that this will be the version we’re presented with. Sorry comic fans, we’ll probably never see Spider-Man get the symbiote from fighting a handful of super villains on “Battle World”, but you can always dream.

How to Make Venom Work?

venom-3

So I can assume that we’ve all seen Spider-Man 3 at this point?  For the 1 percent of people who are reading this article and haven’t, this was the film debut of Venom in a Spider-Man movie, played by Topher Grace.  I’ll get this right out of the way, the movie itself was something of a disappointment to say the least, with too many elements stampeding all over each other.  There was just too many plotlines and subplots moving throughout this film (Oh man, that Butler was the worst, to say nothing of the dance sequence).  HOWEVER, I genuinely thought Topher Grace gave a good performance as Eddie Brock.  Granted, he wasn’t exactly the musclebound threat that you saw Eddie Brock as in the comics, but he got the spirit of the character down.  Brock was, by nature, a liar and he twisted events in his head to make them fit into whatever direction he wanted to move in.  His blaming of Spider-Man came from his inability to take responsibility for mistakes he made in his own life.

We don’t have all of the details yet as to how Venom will be portrayed in the movies, or even if he’ll appear in a Spider-Man movie before he stars in his own movie, but there are a few things that filmmakers can keep in mind while creating the character to really knock it out of the park:

  • First, make Venom scary.  Before Venom became super popular and was made into an anti-hero, he would show up at Peter Parker’s house and help Aunt May fold laundry, while every time she turned around, he would smile and wave the symbiote around Peter, proving not only how nuts he was, but how terrifying the idea behind him was.  Venom isn’t a villain who Spider-Man can just punch away and hope for the best, he presents a legitimate threat that gives Peter nightmares.  He also has no other motive than seeing Spider-Man dead.  No thoughts of world domination or robbing banks, Venom is out for one thing and one thing only, Spider-Man’s head.
  • Second, keep Venom scary.  More than likely, Venom’s solo film will see him as the protagonist, but this doesn’t mean he has to be the hero.  Sure, he can still fight crime, but you need to remember above all else, Eddie Brock is insane!  Even when he is fighting crime, he’s still killing any criminal he finds and having full blown conversations with his costume on a regular basis.  There’s a fan made film entitled, “Truth in Journalism” which we had highlighted awhile back that gives a pitch perfect interpretation of Eddie Brock which the movies should attempt to adhere to.
  • Lastly, make Venom his own character.  In the Spider-Man franchise that we’ve seen so far, nearly every villain, with the exception of Sandman, has been made to be “Peter Parker if he had gone wrong”.  We get it already, we’ve been down that road enough times.  There’s an important distinction to keep in mind that while Venom is a dark version of Spider-Man, Eddie Brock isn’t a dark version of Peter Parker.  There are similarities to be sure, but the two are completely different characters and should be treated as such.

It’s an exciting time to be a comic book fan, and I’m looking forward to seeing what tricks Sony Pictures have up their sleeves for bringing Venom back to the mainstream audience.

Venom 4

 




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  • Colin Christian

    I never cared for the character.Doctor Octopus,Mysterio and The Sandman were much more interesting,both story wise and visually.

    • big in pants

      What the… What have you been drinking. It’s obvious you are not a real comic book fan since Venom has been more popular with comic book fans than all those boring villains combined.

      Venom is the bigger and scarier version of Spidey and his design is way cooler. This all creates way more drama if he’s ever done justice in movies

      • Slade

        Bigger and scarier does not equal better. And having an opinion that is not a norm does not mean that they are not a comic book fan. Quit being a douche.

  • Steven

    Idris Elba should be cast as Brock.

    • dguvnorspecial1

      i think he would fit in as green lantern in a justice league movie.how’s about josh brolin?

      • NICK НΛRT

        wwwayy too old wtf are you guys on

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  • mattinacan

    have him battle carnage and cast Robert Carlyle as Cletus Kasady

  • http://thoughtsofaravingmaniac.blogspot.com Robert Anthony Rodriguez

    I’m torn on Venom in his early appearances in the comics. His motivations as presented at the time were very sketchy and implausible, and there wasn’t much to him as a character, but his visual design and interesting powers with the alien costume still made me look forward to the issues he showed up in.

    Honestly, as bad as Spider-Man 3 was, I thought they did a much better job of making you believe Brock would hate Peter the way he did than the comics did.

    For whatever reason, in the early 90′s the comics that really sold were the ones with particularly violent characters, like Wolverine, the Punisher, Spawn, etc, and Venom fit right in. Unfortunately, those comics tended to eschew good writing for what at the time somehow passed for ‘good’ art. I tend to avoid early 90′s Marvel for that reason, although some of the Spider-Mans were still pretty good.

  • NICK НΛRT

    i think that there’s a lot of cool things they could do with this movie. an eddie brock cletus kasady saga would be awesome, but it would be hard to do carnage justice in a pg 13 film. flash as agent venom has some potential too, but only if they develop the flash thompson character more than they did in the first one

  • belovedwarlord

    I’d be happy if they used the cartoon origin, it’d make for a good action sequence too. Instead of it, ya know, just landing by his goddamn bike. But it’ll end up being made at OsCorp.

  • Dan

    Aaron Paul as Eddie Brock!

  • Dmula

    mickey rourke as venom?

  • Northern Star

    Venom should NEVER have been included in ‘Spider-Man 3′ to begin with… Avi Arad effectively forced Sam Raimi into having Venom be a villain in that film when Raimi initially only wanted the Sandman as the sole new villain!

    The comic fans may love the character but the idea of an alien creature in Raimi’s Spider-Man universe was a step too far, Venom may work on the page but looked downright ridiculous on screen (sharp teeth… WTF!?). Raimi was originally going with the Vulture as a secondary villain, until Marvel laid the guilt trip on him for supposedly not listening to the fans who wanted Venom… how did that work out?

    The fans got what they asked for, so stop complaining about Venom’s inclusion in ‘Spider-Man 3′… honestly, comic nerds are just insufferable at times!

    • Rorshach

      Whether Vulture or Venom, that film didn’t need a third villain on top of Harry Osborn and Sandman, there was more than enough story there for a fantastic two-hour+ movie without all the unnecessary additions that Marvel and producer Laura Ziskin forced on Sam Raimi. Raimi and brother Ivan wrote a tight story outline that focused on Peter, Mary Jane, Harry, and Flint Marko with no other villains included. That’s the film that should have been made, that’s the film I would have loved to have seen in 2007!

  • SomeGuy

    I love the butler in Spider-Man 3. He got the behind-the-scenes treatment at the Osborn mansion. It was funny to watch Spider-Man 1 and 2 after seeing 3 and pointing out the butler in his very small role. Bernard! He was played by John Paxton, Bill Paxton’s father.

  • LEM

    I like Carnage more than Venom as a villain. He was a true psychopath and would be much better since he has no motivation but now has these powers to go along with his sick mind. I’m not sure if the comics did enough with the character but if they do have Venom show up then I would hope Carnage isn’t far behind.

  • HeSaidSheSaidReviewSite

    Am I alone in that I have absolutely no interest in this series? For starters, I still feel like it is an unnecessary reboot. It brings nothing new to the table at all. I hate that the 2nd movie isn’t even out yet and they’re already talking about parts 3, 4, and spinoffs. That’s everything that is wrong with movies nowadays.

    • eternalozzie

      Raimi pooped all over the first movies with his outright goofy style and power ranger like villains. They needed to make Peter a character modern young people could relate to. They are talking about sequels already because they have a specific story to tell that can’t be told in one movie much like Indiana Jones, Star Wars, and Lord Of The Rings did.

      • aicdragon29 .

        Although I cannot disagree that Goblin looked SO very much like a Power Rangers reject… the original plan was for a prosthetic mask that looked SO very much like what many Spidey/Goblin fans would have wanted. If you google it, you should be able to find some pics of it. Its very cool. Allegedly Willem Dafoe refused to wear it… wonder what might have been had it not gone down that way. Oddly enough as well, there was a demo reel that came out where Tobey Macguire had web shooters as well. Not really sure why they deviated there as well, as the shooters looked pretty cool. That vid use to be on youtube… dunni if it still is or not. The Raimi trilogy would have likely turned out vastly different had these changes not been made… or as another poster referenced, the excising of Vulture with Venom in his place. Better? Worse? We will never know… tho again… likely VASTLY different. Emo Spidey no more? Lol

      • thefinalword

        I youtubed original goblin mask. The second video with the word hybrid shows a good representation of what the mask could have done in the movie. I’m flat out amazed that someone made the call not to use it. I looked around on the internet and it was said on one page that Raimi made the call not to use it. I find it a little hard to believe that Dafoe would refuse the mask. Maybe he did. All I know is I hated the final costume decision and I’m not the only one.

      • aicdragon29 .

        Although I cannot disagree that Goblin looked SO very much like a Power Rangers reject… the original plan was for a prosthetic mask that looked SO very much like what many Spidey/Goblin fans would have wanted. If you google it, you should be able to find some pics of it. Its very cool. Allegedly Willem Dafoe refused to wear it… wonder what might have been had it not gone down that way. Oddly enough as well, there was a demo reel that came out where Tobey Macguire had web shooters as well. Not really sure why they deviated there as well, as the shooters looked pretty cool. That vid use to be on youtube… dunni if it still is or not. The Raimi trilogy would have likely turned out vastly different had these changes not been made… or as another poster referenced, the excising of Vulture with Venom in his place. Better? Worse? We will never know… tho again… likely VASTLY different. Emo Spidey no more? Lol

    • aicdragon29 .

      Mmmm…. not defending the reboot as a film persay, but Sony is “attempting” to carve out its own niche by way of what Marvel has done. Weave an interlocking set of films that span across a universe rather than exist merely within the confines of its own individual film… which in itself is a clear extension of the comic universe. Not sure how you condemn the series for trying to do something that actually would make a comic MOVIE universe closer to its source material, especially before youve actually seen it. You are entitled to your opinion, not saying you should like it, but what Im suggesting is how can you possibly say it”brings nothing new to the table” when you have no idea how the new movie plays out, nor what the existing plan of execution is for 3 or 4?

      The Marvel Studios films(whether one enjoys them or not) should be commended for attempting to create a sprawling universe that can span multiple characters, settings and if all continues down the path, genres. It IS an innovation whether one appreciates them or not. Sony is attempting to follow suit and build their own universe. That being said, its not like they just decided”Hey… the first movie made some money… lets make more of em…”. The idea is universe building. And they are mapping out how the story plays out. It is NOT like what has come before. By that I mean feeling like they needed to tell the whole story within a self contained 2 hr film. Which is why there was no pay off with Peters parents in the first film, or what exactly Peters connection to the experiments, the bigger plan for him… its something thats unfolding. I think its fantastic to have plot hooks of a serialized manner play out over a series of films. How is this playing out like it played before? How is this nothing new? Like it or not. Because oddly enough, Im lukewarm on the first Amazing Spiderman. I enjoyed some aspects of it, but were bothered and borderline bored by others. However, the idea that they are thinking bugger in the grand scope of things should excite anyone thats a fan of genre films and/or comic books. And we should want all these films to succeed. Because the more they do, the bigger risks theyll take… and maybe… just MAYBE we will get a co produced, joint studio venture with Spiderman and the Avengers, or the X men…. that IS a potential reality. And woukd be something very new.

  • JBug

    Great article. My only contention is that if it so focused on being scary, it might end up a thriller. I don’t think that would be appropriate, nor is that something I would be excited for. Although, it would be interesting.

    • Mohit Kumar

      The Dark Knight was a crime, mafia, politics thriller rather than a typical superhero stuff and you know how that turned out… A Venom movie will be better as thriller not as popcorn.. :)

  • evandest

    Joe Manganiello as Venom!

  • POI

    “I mention the “Ultimate” version of Venom because the recent Amazing Spider-Man franchise has taken most of its cues from the modern retelling of the story
    Read”

    Didn’t take that much from the Ultimate story line. If anything it seems, like the Ultimate universe, it creates it’s own version of the story which plays homage to, but does not directly rely on the 616 comics.

  • Lu

    I preferred when Eddie Brock was Venom. I stopped following the other iterations as they just wasn’t as interesting to me, especially the new one.

  • thefinalword

    This article reminded me of what I remember Venom best for. I’ve actually been mostly against the new Venoms as far as my opinion goes because I prefer the original one. One trait of the newer ones I was really surprised for the first time in Ultimate Spider-Man the video game is that Venom would eat people whole. As much as I can remember, he only threatened to do that to people in the original comics, or showed it off panel so you weren’t actually exposed to it. As much as Venom promised to eat Spider-Man’s spleen, liver, brains, etc… never seen him do that to anyone in a comic. Maybe censors were in place?

    Ultimate Spiderman 123 had one of the strangest stories I read of Venom. He was sitting on a park bench in a dazed state and talking to people who would sit down and hear him out, doing breakaway scenes for his flashbacks. At the end of the comic it was revealed the symbiote was eating the people. This was as creepy as some of the original behaviors, but it didn’t really stick with me as something I liked about him. The old Venom was crazy, but I don’t remember him doing anything that would make me hate him.

    I’m pretty sure the version of Venom I remember would have refused to attack an innocent person, but instead focused on terrorizing bad guys when he wasn’t indulging his contempt of Spider-Man. Having recently read some issues of Thunderbolts with Flash Thompson I can say it’s a interesting team up, but the symbiote not getting along with him is not a dynamic I want to see on screen yet. When Red Hulk has been an established movie character for a year or two, it might be the right time to introduce Flash Thompson’s Venom.

    I’m hoping that Sony will create a Venom that is faithful to the original incarnation. Lethal Protector would probably be a good template or selling point. It’s the Venom that people want to see. However, I don’t see Sony as likely to do that though. No one liked the Topher Grace Venom so what are the odds they would attempt to right that wrong? In certain scenes Raimi’s Venom looked the way it should have, but those moments didn’t last long. Sony has pretty much have done a redesign on every bad guy so far, but are giving nods to the origins of some villains, Max Dillion, despite his appearance change has a similar history to the comic counterpart. For now, I’m out of things to say on this topic, but reading this article was interesting.

  • Scott West

    Venom was my Favorite.:D Thanks for the story.

  • Scott West

    Venom was my Favorite.:D Thanks for the story.

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