Superheroes have been dominating the big screen for the past few years. Contrary to popular belief, however, the success of the superhero movie genre isn’t really guaranteed. Given the sheer number of adaptations released every year, films based on comic book properties are in constant risk of growing stale in the eyes of audiences. To prevent that from happening, studios and filmmakers have been taking bolder approaches with the genre.
One great example of this is Sony’s Venom. The long-in-development Spider-Man spinoff (which is being directed by Zombieland‘s Ruben Fleischer and stars Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock) is looking to set itself apart from the large catalogue of present and future superhero films by diving deep into a sub-genre that its predecessors have rarely (if ever) explored: horror.
Venom Will Explore A New Side Of The Superhero Genre
In 2017, a report from MyEntertainmentWorld.com revealed that Sony and Ruben Fleischer were aiming to develop Venom as a horror/sci-fi adventure. The reports were seemingly confirmed a few months later, when the film’s first teaser was released. To fans’ surprise, the trailer set itself apart from other superhero blockbusters by not relying on action or spectacle. Audiences never got to see Eddie Brock fighting bad guys or sporting his signature symbiote suit. Instead, the trailer opted to go for a mysterious vibe that provided only a few glimpses into Brock’s daily life and dark mindset.
In many ways, the teaser’s treatment of the symbiote harkened back to classic monster movies, where the creatures would be teased, but rarely actually shown. That’s a great approach for Venom because, going over his comic book history, Eddie Brock is one of those rare characters that lends himself to that sort of treatment. Take the 2005 ‘Shiver’ comic book run as an example. The storyline centered around a defenseless group of soldiers and scientists trying to survive being locked inside a remote government facility with Venom. In many ways, the story was like a comic book version of 1979‘s Alien, and offered a glimpse into how promising a horror-heavy take on Eddie Brock’s symbiote could be. Given that, knowing Venom will most likely take that approach is very promising.
Putting aside what was shown in the trailer, another highlight of the film is the exploration of Eddie Brock’s split personality. In the comics, once Eddie bonds with the symbiote, they become one, and start referring to themselves as “we.” Most of the time, this disturbing practice has allowed writers to delve into Eddie’s broken psyche. As revealed by Venom‘s tagline, “We Are Venom,” the film will explore that dynamic. If handled correctly, the character’s split personalities could offer a compelling exploration of psychological horror, something that’s rarely seen in superhero films.
Now, a pivotal part of most superhero adaptations is the action. Given Venom‘s (partial) focus on horror, some fans may be concerned about the film shying away from the spectacle they’ve come to expect from comic book films. Fortunately, there’s nothing to be worried about. As Ruben Fleischer revealed during Sao Paulo’s Comic Con Experience, Venom will have its fair share of action. That’s quite exciting, since it tells us something important: Venom will be a mix of good ol’ comic book spectacle and horror. Having those two elements working in tandem for a film isn’t easy, but if done right, they can pave the way for something special.
Venom Could Give Audiences A New Outlook On Superhero Films
As mentioned above, for superhero films to keep thriving, the comic book movie genre needs to evolve and expand. Venom is a great way to achieve that expansion. With its combination of action and horror, Eddie Brock’s standalone adventure could give general audiences a whole new outlook on superhero films. Similar to Deadpool and Logan, the movie could show non-comic book readers that superhero movies don’t necessarily have to be family-friendly adventures.
They can also be gritty dramas, dark comedies, or – in the case of Venom – horror/action hybrids that deliver powerful and compelling stories. Hopefully, Venom will become a hit, and studios will continue to explore different takes on the superhero concept for audiences to enjoy.
If you can’t wait to see Eddie Brock back in action on the big screen, Venom will swing into theaters on October 15, 2018. Check out the Movie Info below to set a reminder to buy tickets as soon as they go on sale!