Venom is one of the most consistently chaotic comic book characters currently in cinema. That’s saying something given the sheer number of comic book characters parading around our screens. The symbiote and his equally-messy human host, Eddie Brock, anchor Sony’s Spider-Man Universe. And both Venom and Venom: Let There Be Carnage— specifically the duo at their center—are nothing short of internet sensations. But Venom is a complicated character in general, and is just not for everyone. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness director Sam Raimi generally falls into that category.
Venom and Eddie Brock made their big-screen debut in his movie, Spider-Man 3. But it was at the behest of Marvel Studios founder Avi Arad. In a recent interview with Uproxx, which we first saw at GameStop, Raimi explained his hesitations toward the character. And it’s as simple as him not really understanding the character.
“It was really more just that I didn’t understand the character that well. It wasn’t close to my heart. The best thing I like about Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s Spider-Man is that they made relatable characters that I understand,” he said. “Even if they were confused, like Norman Osborn, they still have goodness in their heart. They want them to do the right thing, or Peter Parker. Or even J. Jonah Jameson has goodness in his heart. When I read about Venom, which I hadn’t read as a kid, I had to catch up on it when they wanted him to be in the movie. I didn’t recognize enough humanity within that character to be able to identify with him properly. That’s really what it boils down to.”
That certainly makes a lot of sense. Venom is one of several villains going after Peter Parker in Spider-Man 3, a film that in general just had too much going on. (But still gave us so much!) There just wasn’t enough space to fully realize Venom and if there’s one thing the Sony movies make clear, it’s that the character needs room to breathe. Raimi admitted in the interview that he hasn’t actually seen either of the Venom movies and didn’t seem super interested in remedying that. But he said he was “glad” the studio found a way to make the character work.
Still, considering he has seen Spider-Man: No Way Home, so if he stayed through the credits, he got just a taste. And maybe that’s enough.