Sony's Venom movie is all about the setup for a sequel - one that could be far better than this first installment. Director Ruben Fleischer has been openly discussing his plans for Venom 2 since as far back as July, although he's stressed that whether or not it actually happens all depends upon reception and box office performance of the first film. Tom Hardy has revealed that he's signed up for three movies, although he seems open to extending his contract should Sony wish him to do so.
It's true that critics haven't been kind to Venom - the film's critic score on review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes currently sits at just 31 percent. But, perhaps in part because of a late review embargo, that doesn't seem to have dented the movie's performance at all. Early tracking predicted Venom would beat October's previous box office record, and the signs are good that it's doing just that. Given Venom is believed to have only had a budget of $100 million, it's all but inevitable that Sony will sign up for the sequel.
The good news is, the sequel should be far better. Venom was all about setting the scene for what comes next, and as a result, the plot was pretty economical, with the real focus being on the screwball relationship between Eddie Brock and the Venom symbiote. Now that's been done, Venom 2 can build on these foundations and tell a far better story - potentially with some important new allies and enemies. Let's take a look at everything that's been set up for the sequel.
- This Page: Lethal Protector
- Page 2: She-Venom and Carnage
The plot of Venom draws inspiration from the classic Lethal Protector miniseries from back in the '90s. Oddly enough, though, it's only by the end of the film that the tongue-slavering symbiotic antihero has taken on the actual role of "Lethal Protector." Eddie strikes a deal with the symbiote; he won't stop it munching on people's brains, but they have to be bad guys. The symbiote isn't really clear on what constitutes a "bad guy," but it's willing to strike this bargain and accept Eddie's tutelage on the point. Lo and behold, a few minutes later, Eddie stumbles upon just one such "bad guy." Venom initially intends to let the thug live, but reconsiders because he's feeling hungry. These scenes set up the status quo of the Lethal Protector miniseries; that Venom is a hero after a fashion, fighting against crime and in defense of the innocents, but that he's willing to take lives in order to do it.
But how will San Francisco respond to their "Lethal Protector?" What will the people make of the fact that robbers and muggers keep (literally) losing their heads? And will Venom get a bit more careful about morphing between his forms, given he really won't want the police to work out that he's really Eddie Brock? The Venom sequel really needs to explore all these questions.