The Curator of Schlock #256 by Jeff Shuster

Venom

The villain is the hero. In other news, 2 +2 = 3 because Sony says so!

I think I have a movie pitch I’d like to send over to the brass over at Sony Pictures: Snickers: The Movie. I think there’s a lot of potential in this franchise, maybe a Snickers Almond movie later down the road. After all, Snickers is the most popular candy bar in the world. You’ve got the peanuts, the nougat, the caramel. People pay up to two bucks for those king-size bars. Imagine what they’d pay to see the glory of Snickers in IMAX 3D. And think about the possibility of a Snickers Expanded Universe!

In the meantime, let’s talk about 2018’s Venom from director Ruben Fleischer. Some of you may remember Venom from 2007’s Spider-Man 3 from director Sam Raimi. He was the villain of that movie. And I read a read a Spider-Man comic or two back in the 1990s. You see the thing about Venom is that he hates Spider-Man. He wants to kill Spider-Man. That’s the character’s motivation, the reason for his existence. If you look at Venom, he looks like a disgusting version of Spider-Man, almost as if he’s mocking our hero.

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Spider-Man isn’t in the movie Venom. He isn’t even mentioned. This is because Sony gave Spider-Man back to Disney so he could be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and fight alongside heroes such as Iron Man and the Black Panther. But Sony must have retained the cinematic rights to some of Spider-Man’s super villains so waste not, want not. As a result, Venom is now an “anti-hero” instead of a super villain. This is like if they decided to make a General Zod movie without ever mentioning Superman. Sure he wants to take over planet Earth and have everyone kneel before him, but he isn’t all that bad.

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Venom starts out with a space shuttle crashing to Earth somewhere in the San Francisco Bay area. This space shuttle was carrying deadly cargo: alien parasites from outer space called symbiotes. This was all due to the machinations of Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), an evil Elon Musk-type in charge of Life Foundation, a bioengineering corporation. Drake wants humans to merge with symbiotes so the human race can move out into space since our species is destroying the planet or something to that effect. Homeless people volunteer to merge with the symbiotes for some cash, but these evil alien creatures kill them each time. Drake is confident that a successful match between human and symbiote will happen one day so he just continues letting the homeless get killed.

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Enter Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), a San Francisco hipster reporter who knows Life Foundation is up to no good. A tip from an inside source eventually leads him to the symbiote lab, where he merges with one of the symbiotes to become Venom, a living parasite that likes to bite the heads off of police officers, but rest assured, he’s still the hero because the movie tells us so. What else?

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Michelle Willaims plays a token love interest. Stuff explodes. Venom fights an even more evil alien/symbiote hybrid named Malice or Hellface or something like that. Tom Hardy makes out with his parasite. There’s a post credit sequence with Woody Harrelson wearing a Bozo the Clown wig. This movie has it all. When film historians try to pinpoint the movie killed the super hero genre, I suspect Venom may be at the top of the list.


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Photo by Leslie Salas

Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131, and episode 284) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.

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