When deciding who the quintessential Spider-Man villain is, there are a lot of strong candidates to choose from, but a strong case could be made for Venom. He’s not explicitly a villain, but he’s far from a hero, and throwing him into the confused moral compass of Peter Parker has led to some very interesting comic book storylines.
Last year, a new screen version of Venom debuted, played by Tom Hardy, and while his movie wasn’t an installment in the MCU, there is a chance that he’ll meet Tom Holland’s Spidey in the future. So, here are 5 Reasons Tom Holland’s Spider-Man Should Meet Tom Hardy’s Venom (And 5 Why He Shouldn’t).
Ever since striking up a deal with Marvel Studios that allowed them to use the Spider-Man character in the MCU as long as they could distribute his solo movies, Sony has been cooking up a big-screen Marvel universe of their own. Mostly focused on villains, with Morbius and Kraven the Hunter soon to be joining Venom, it has been termed “Sony’s Universe of Marvel Characters.”
The Venom movie didn’t address the elephant in the room – whether or not Tom Holland’s Spidey exists in the same universe – and if Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock did appear in an MCU movie, it would mix the two universes.
In the past few years, with the rise of shared cinematic universes starring superheroes, every major studio has been taking stock of their comic book properties and churning out movies based on them. This has led to far more “supervillain movies” than we’ve ever seen before.
Villains generally don’t make very good lead characters, since the nature of storytelling means that where there is a villain, there must be a hero. These movies – like Venom – have responded by turning the villains into heroes. But the fact remains that, as a villain, Venom is more interesting with Spider-Man than without him.
The fun of a Spider/Venom crossover would be the chance to see the pair fight on the big screen. However, the version of Venom shown in the Tom Hardy movie is far too powerful to be a fair match for the version of Spider-Man depicted in the MCU.
Sony’s Venom is a bulking mammoth of a being; he’s one of the strongest portrayals of Venom in the character’s history. Tobey Maguire’s Spidey taking on Topher Grace’s Venom – if nothing else (it was a bad movie) – felt like a fair fight, but Hardy’s Venom seems like he could rip Holland’s Spidey in half within seconds.
While there have been a couple of minor hiccups in the MCU, the franchise has a staggering track record with adapting characters and their relationships for the screen. Sam Raimi and Sony were at the helm of Spider-Man 3, taking Marvel Comics properties and translating them to the screen as they saw fit, which led to a Spider-Man/Venom relationship that didn’t live up to the source material.
The MCU has been so successful because Marvel itself has been at the helm, adapting its own characters and storylines. If there’s a chance to bring Spidey and Venom’s relationship into a movie in a satisfying way, it’s in the hands of Marvel.
In Venom, the symbiotes are depicted as Earth’s first contact with intelligent alien life. If Eddie Brock was suddenly brought into the MCU to fight Spider-Man, that would cease to make sense, because the Kree-Skrull War coming to Earth, the Chitauri invasion nearly annihilating Manhattan, and Thanos’ genocide of half of all life that he instigated in Wakanda would’ve all happened in Brock’s universe.
The multiverse might have been one way to get Spider-Man and Venom in the same movie, but that turned out to be an elaborate lie concocted by Mysterio, so that option is out. There’s no way to make it work. (But if anyone could figure it out, it’s Kevin Feige.)
It’s always been fun to see Tom Holland’s teenaged version of Spider-Man interact with adult characters in the MCU. From the “cool uncle” relationship he had with Tony Stark to the “mean stepdad” he saw in Nick Fury (who turned out to not really be Nick Fury) to the mentor/student dynamic he developed with Quentin Beck (before he was revealed to be a villain), Holland’s Spidey talking to adults is always a hysterical delight.
The relationship he would develop with Tom Hardy’s Venom would be unlike anything we’ve seen before, but it would almost definitely be a lot of fun.
Talks between Marvel’s Kevin Feige and Sony’s Avi Arad, Matt Tolmach, and Amy Pascal have always been a nightmare. Getting Spider-Man into a couple of scenes of Captain America: Civil War took the jaws of life and Sony retains basically all the rights to Spider-Man, his supporting cast, and his rogue’s gallery.
When it comes to solo movies, Marvel has a lot of creative control, but Sony gets the distribution rights. The behind-the-scenes drama involved in getting Tom Hardy’s Venom and Tom Holland’s Spider-Man in a movie together probably wouldn’t be worth the hassle. Even reading about the ongoing negotiations can produce a headache.
The Venom movie is a classic example of a comic book adaptation that was maligned by critics, but enjoyed by fans. There was a lot wrong with the movie, including a generic villain, a meandering plot, and lines of dialogue like “turd in the wind,” but most audiences loved Tom Hardy’s performance as Eddie Brock.
Although his accent was unusual, once you get used to it, his manic, nervous portrayal of Brock becomes the hook that keeps you engaged until the end. Adding him to an MCU movie with Spidey would take the most entertaining thing about his solo movie and put it in an actually good movie.
Jon Watts has been directing Spider-Man’s MCU solo movies as ‘80s teen comedies akin to the work of John Hughes, while Ruben Fleischer’s take on Venom was closer to a high-octane dark comedy with a blasé attitude towards human life. Those two tones wouldn’t mesh so well together if their lead characters were to share the same movie.
Tom Holland’s previous Spider-Man movies have had the distinction of introducing their villains for the first time, so they could be written around the movies’ particular tone. However, Tom Hardy’s Venom would be arriving with a wildly different tone of his own.
We saw Spider-Man and Venom share the big screen in Spider-Man 3, but that didn’t do their complicated relationship justice. In that movie – and, to Sam Raimi’s credit, he admitted he didn’t know the Venom character very well going in and he never wanted to include him in the movie – they have a straightforward hero/villain dynamic as opposed to the more complex hero/antihero relationship they have in the comics.
There’s an opportunity to do the Spidey/Venom dichotomy justice on the big screen, since there are reams of awesome stories featuring the duo in the comics to draw from, and there’d be a real chance of that with Marvel Studios at the helm.