It’s never good when the announcement of a movie makes my eyes roll, but there aren’t many alternative appropriate reactions to the news that Sony is going ahead with a possibly R-rated Venom movie which won’t feature Peter Parker, Spider-Man, or pretty much any other aspect of the comic book source material.
It’s not clear where exactly the line stands with regards to Sony Pictures’ deal with Marvel over character rights. Certainly, the studio which is best known for its electronics product placement isn’t going to try and maintain two Spider-Man franchises simultaneously, but they are happy to keep dissecting their range of characters to figure out which ones can support solo movies.
Venom is top of the list, because apparently Sony doesn’t think that Spider-Man’s evil shadow needs the original wall crawler to work in a standalone movie. For those who remember the state of Marvel comics in the nineties, when Venom was given his own solo miniseries every other week, this news causes a tightening in the chest and a gurgling in the stomach.
Anyone who remembers the last time we saw Venom on the big screen will similarly be clenching their buttocks at the moment. Here’s hoping we don’t get another mopey CGI Topher Grace.
As a sidenote, Spider-Man 3 is now ten years old, but has managed to make the news twice in two days. Someone at Sony must love Sam Raimi’s third Web Head film almost as much as I do.
Look at that. This movie was Guardians of the Galaxy five years before anyone realized they even wanted a dance scene in an action film.
It’s expected that this Venom movie will be fairly removed from the classic version of the character from the comics, and will instead take inspiration from the Agent Venom comics which see an amputee Flash Thompson using the alien symbiote to undertake covert military missions for the government, because Hollywood is obsessed with the idea of bulky superheroes fighting terrorists.
The movie, simply titled Venom, will arrive in theaters on October 5, 2018, which is disconcertingly soon, all things considered. The movie doesn’t yet have a director, but it has a pair of writers in the form of Scott Rosenberg and Jeff Pinkner, and apparently, that’s enough for Sony to start greenlighting a project.
This movie was originally intended as a spin-off to the Amazing Spider-Man movie universe, but considering how badly the second movie in that series bombed, it remains to be seen whether Sony will simply raze everything and start from scratch for an impressive fourth time (we’re counting Homecoming as starting from scratch even though all the major worldbuilding decisions had already been made by Marvel).
Now, allow me to offer my personal suggestions to Sony for a second.
Sony. Guys. Nobody hates the Amazing Spider-Man movies more than I do. That said, if there’s a possibility of a continuation of the Amazing Spider-Man movie universe, then you should totally do it.
Why? Not because I ever (ever) want to see Andrew Garfield in tight red spandex again.
But because if Venom can happen within the ASM cinematic universe, then there’s a chance we might one day get the Black Cat movie we were teased in Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Because seriously, people, you had Felicity Jones poised to become a morally ambiguous superhero, and you threw it all away.
That’s possibly the biggest tragedy of the entire Spider-Man movie history. Worse even than never getting to see Bruce Campbell as Mysterio.