If you're not yet primed and ready for the 2014 summer movie season, you should probably know that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is going to be opening the door to a very big Spider-Man movie universe, which will try to distinguish itself from competitors by offering audiences spinoff films focusing on villain/anti-hero characters, rather than traditional superhero origin stories. The supervillain team-up film Sinister Six is something of a wild card, but fans have been eagerly waiting a LONG time to get a movie starring Spider-Man nemesis Venom - an event that's finally coming to pass.
Like with Sinister Six, there are so many questions still surrounding Sony's approach to a Venom film franchise - namely, what kind of story do you tell in order to provide audiences with the sort of bad boy they can rally behind for a solo film, and will be willing to follow into future sequels? Well, one way most hardcore fans have observed would be to employ a particular character from Spider-Man comics: Venom's other nemesis, Carnage.
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For those who don't know Spider-Man lore, there are different versions of the characters Venom and Carnage depending on the telling; however, since much of The Amazing Spider-Man universe seems to rely on the continuity of the Ultimate Spider-Man comic books, we'll discuss those versions first. (Especially since it's already been strongly hinted that Venom symbiote is indeed the property of Oscorp, like in Ultimate comics - SEE ABOVE PHOTO.)
In the Ultimate universe, Venom is created as a special organic suit developed at Oscorp by Richard Parker (Peter's dad) and Eddie Brock Sr, as a means to cure cancer. Peter and Eddie Brock Jr. (childhood friends in this versioin) end up bonding with samples of the Venom suit, resulting in the Ultimate versions of black-suit Spidey and Venom. Things later take a further turn when samples of Peter's blood (containing Venom suit DNA) and Curt Connors/The Lizard's blood are mixed together, resulting in a vampiric entity known as Carnage. Ultimate Carnage kills Gwen Stacy and takes her form (amongst others, T-100-style), until Spider-Man finally defeats it.
At this point it's clear that not everything in the Amazing Spider-Man universe will be borrowed directly from the Ultimate continuity, so it definitely bears mentioning that the traditional version of Carnage is actually a serial killer named Cletus Kasady - someone who has already been introduced into the Amazing Spider-Man Movie Universe, via recent viral marketing. Fans tend to love the Cletus Kasady version - and serial killers are en vogue at the moment - but that's not to say that the shape-shifting Ultimate Carnage (which takes on the appearance of Peter Parker's deceased loved ones) is not without its own charm.
Given the opportunities and seeds already planted into this film universe, you wouldn't even have to limit yourself to just one of these versions: there's room for bad symbiotes to have many (or no hosts)! However, the recent Venom short film does have us curious if a hard-boiled crime story about a reporter with a dark secret hunting down a serial killer with a dark secret isn't a perfect fit in this era of Hannibal and The Following. It would at least be something different from the genre.
Check out Amazing Spider-Man 2 producers Matt Tolmach and Avi Arad discussing the Carnage possibilities in a Venom movie (via IGN):
The Venom movie is being written by Amazing Spider-Man 2 scribes Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, working alongside co-writer Ed Solomon (Now You See Me); Kurtzman will also direct the film, his second directorial feature project after People Like Us. That creative team has sparked some debate and criticism (especially those who don't care for Orci/Kurtzman's work on films like Star Trek Into Darkness), but Tolmach's coy answer seems to indicate that A) They already have a Venom/Carnage scenario in mind, and B) they're confident that it (and the movie, conceptually,) will be something to behold.
...And with that we add yet another brick of pressure on the back of Amazing Spider-Man 2. Early Reviews (read HERE) have been slanting on the positive side so far, generally speaking, but there have been pointed criticisms as well - especially in the area of the script and story. Narrative, themes, characterization... these are all things that these experimental supervillain films are really going to have to nail down - especially if Spider-Man presence will be minimal in those flicks.
As for the Venom movie: I believe I can risk speaking for many fans when I say that a Carnage/Venom showdown is what we want to see. More to the point: Carnage is a great way to prop-up a Venom movie, as Cletus Kasady's (or the symbiote's) homicidal chaos and sadism is a much darker reflection of what Eddie Brock/Venom could be, if not for his vaunted (but twisted) moral code about not harming what he deems to be "innocents." If you want to sell an anti-hero to the public, compare him to a much worse alternative.
Although: Amazing Spider-Man 3 will need to a good job of getting through the Venom introduction, if this Venom solo film hopes to have the freedom to really get into things like second symbiotes.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has a lot of groundwork to lay, come May 2nd. The Amazing Spider-Man 3 opens on June 10th, 2016, and then another Spider-Man project (possibly Sinister Six or Venom) on May 4th, 2018.