"We made this movie for you guys. We share a passion for the character," declared director Ruben Fleischer at Sony's Comic-Con panel. Until today, many had been skeptical, having seen trailers that didn't really show any Venom, and then when they did were turned into memes for not looking like finished effects (because they weren't). Even though the effects in the latest bit of footage shown are apparently still not finished, they look close enough. And finally, Venom is in it doing Venom stuff.
His head oozes out of Tom Hardy's chest like a serpentine facehugger, and looks him in the eyes. He jumps across buildings. He eats heads. He does that half-face thing he's doing on the poster and says, "We are Venom." And best of all...he fights other symbiotes. To the casual fan, it looks like Carnage, but in fact Venom's major monster antagonist is Riot, a symbiote without a fixed host who can come from anyone, and do that thing where his hands turn into axes. Meanwhile, Eddie Brock will have to contend with Michelle Williams' Anne as his human antagonist.
No, Venom does not have a spider logo, and all involved continue to insist that Spider-Man is not in this film, but they'd love him to be in a future one. Venom has bulging white veins that give sort of a spidery effect and help break up the shiny black skin. It's Simon Bisley-esque. Oh, and that scene from the last trailer of his head covering Eddie Brock's looks much better now.
"There's no heroes in this movie," says Flesicher, calling it "grittier, more violent" than other Marvel movies. As for Hardy: "Venom is by far the coolest marvel superhero that there is. I just like the way he looks first and foremost. My son, he's a massive Venom fan. I really wanted to do something my son could watch...so I did something where I bite heads off."
Eddie Brock tries to keep Venom from making him kill in the footage, so is he heroic? Not quite. "His ethical structure's really off...but he's got a big heart and he believes in doing the right thing," says Hardy.
Riz Ahmed is Carlton Drake: genius, billionaire inventor, looking to strengthen humanity in an ecologically collapsing world. What does the future of humanity look like? He thinks we've got a future in outer space, and in exploring this he discovers the symbiotes.
Fleischer offered an evasive non-answer when asked if there were other villains in the movie, but did say "We're planning a huge world with this Venom story." Judging by what we saw, that's starting to become something quite visually arresting.
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Images: Sony, Marvel