Update: Read our complete breakdown of all the secrets in the Venom trailer.
The full Venom trailer has finally given viewers their first glimpse of Tom Hardy's symbiotic antihero in action. The first teaser trailer had proved something of a disappointment, offering a generic action film and giving no hint as to how Sony would render the tongue-slavering symbiote. That led to heated debate online with many fans understandably disappointed that a Venom trailer that didn't feature Venom at all. It seems likely Sony released the teaser before the symbiote's CGI was finished, in what was hardly a smart play.
Sony have a lot to prove with Venom. A previous big-screen adaptation, in 2007's Spider-Man 3, was particularly underwhelming. This time round, the studio is hoping the film will launch a shared universe of Spider-Man spinoff characters. Everything rests on Venom's success. It's important that the CGI is effective, that Venom is faithfully recreated on the big screen. A failure could cause Sony's entire strategy to collapse.
Thankfully, the first glimpse of Venom is delightful. It's a faithful recreation of the comic book character, and the CGI looks top-rate. That doesn't justify the teaser trailer, which really should have whetted appetites for the film rather than generated only anger and frustration. But it does make it worth the wait.
A Hint of Pennywise
This definitely feels like a horror design inspired by the success of IT. The clip shows Eddie Brock on the floor, apparently defeated; then he rises to his feet, and his movements are strangely fluid - unnaturally so. Comics usually feature the symbiote's tendrils sweeping over Brock's body, but each artist has rendered it differently. In this case, the symbiote seems to advance towards his head, with Brock's face the last thing to be transformed. This is impressive CGI, with the teeth used to briefly frame Brock's face, until he finally becomes Venom.
It's sinister, it's creepy, and it's effective. The full sequence is really well done, with a thug who would otherwise have seemed powerful and intimidating simply screaming in horror. There's something truly macabre about Venom's grin, and that slavering tongue has a real sense of weight to it. The screen fades to black, and it's impossible not to remember Venom's comic book catchphrase. "We will eat your brains."
This Is Truly Venom
Let's focus in on the details. The light plays off the surface of the skin in fascinating ways, creating a sense of texture that almost feels like a liquid. That matches with the way tendrils briefly spread across Brock's face, just before it's consumed by the face of Venom. The extended teeth - a core part of Venom's design - are cruel and jagged. They're also slightly yellowed, designed to give a sense of animalistic savagery. When that insanely long tongue extends, it almost feels like a weapon, stretching out to embrace its prey. Notice the patterns and folds of the tongue, a successful attempt to make it feel like flesh.
It's the details that make this design effective. Watch the face as Venom finishes his sentence, revealing his identity. Venom's mouth is massive, and as a result every word folds and distorts the creature's symbiotic "skin." The eyes change shape, just as they do in the comic, but it's all done in such a way as to match with the words. You even get a sense of where the eyebrows would be.
Finally, it's important to focus on the voice. Venom is noted for his insistence on referring to himself with the plural, "we." The voice actually sounds like a plurality, as though two people are speaking. But both are equally savage, and equally sinister. This will be the voice of the star, and it definitely works.
Audiences have been unsure what to expect from Venom, and the first teaser trailer didn't really help matters. This time round, though, Sony was prepared to actually give us a much-anticipated glimpse of the film's star. In truth, they probably should have held back until a sample of the CGI antihero was ready in the first place; because this is absolutely spot on.
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