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Why the Tom Hardy Venom movie is going to suck


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Back in March, Sony announced that they were making a movie about one of Spider-Man's most infamous foes - Venom.

A few weeks ago, Tom Hardy was cast as the lead, with Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) set to direct. Here's why all of this is nowhere near as exciting as it sounds.


First things first, a little backstory on Venom. Once upon a time, Peter Parker had a pretty nifty black Spider-Man costume which, among other things, greatly enchanced his abilities.

As it turned out, the costume was an alien symbiote that was leeching off of Peter, so he got rid of it. Unfortunately, the symbiote then attached itself to Eddie Brock, turning him into the villainous Venom.

There have been many incarnations of the character, but Eddie Brock's Venom is the first and best-known version. He was played by Topher Grace in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3 (which was poorly received by fans) and it's confirmed that Tom Hardy will also play Brock in the Venom solo movie, set for 2018.

At first, this sounds potentially promising. We've seen a lot of comic book superhero movies over the last decade or so, but basically none that focus on supervillains. Tom Hardy's casting seems perfect, as he has both the physicality and the brooding menace that most associate with the character of Venom. 

Here's where things start to unravel. Unlike Spider-Man: Homecoming, which was part of a deal between Sony and Marvel Studios, the Venom movie will not be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In addition, Spider-Man himself is not expected to be in the Venom movie at all. 

That isn't necessarily a horrible idea, as over the years, Venom has been the star of several of his own comic book series. The character's popularity meant that even though the connection with Spider-Man is always there, he was able to carve out his own identity and become something of an anti-hero. That being said, the reason the character became popular was because he was such a great Spider-Man villain, so making a movie about him without his greatest foe just seems counterintuitive - and a lot less interesting.

Spider-Man 3 Black Suit

The real reason the whole thing is a horrible idea though is that it's in the hands of Sony. To say that Sony's movie division, Sony Pictures, has had a bad couple of years would be a severe understatement. First, there was the devastating 2014 hack, which not only shook the company to its core but nearly led to the US going to war with North Korea over a Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy.

Then, there's the fact that Sony Pictures are reporting severe financial losses and have been desperate for a major blockbuster hit or a new franchise for years now.

Disney has, among other things, Star Wars and Marvel, both of which pump out monster hits at an alarming rate. Universal has a billion-dollar franchise in The Fast and the Furious, and are also working on kickstarting their Monsters-themed cinematic universe known as Dark Universe, starting with this summer's The Mummy.

Warner Bros. has the DC Extended Universe, their own planned Monsters-themed universe with King Kong and Godzilla, as well as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. 20th Century Fox has the X-Men.

What does Sony have in terms of major franchises? James Bond and Spider-Man. They might not even have James Bond, as negoations over the distrubution rights are about as uncertain as Daniel Craig on whether or not he'll reprise the role. So really, the studio's only major avenue for expansion and franchising is Spider-Man, and it's been like that for a while.

Remember when Sony had plans for The Amazing Spider-Man 3 & 4 as well as a Sinister Six spin-off movie? Before the 2014 leak threw a wrench in all those terrible plans, that was Sony Pictures' big plan for the coming years - milking Spider-Man dry in the hopes that they could rival the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The Amazing Spider-Man

The Amazing Spider-Man movies had a great cast - Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Dane Dehaan, Jamie Foxx and Sally Field, among others - and an awesome director in Marc Webb, but they were constantly undermined by executive meddling. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was such a mess because it spent so much time trying to set up chararacters and plot threads for the future sequels Sony were so desperate to make.

Going even further back, Venom's inclusion as a character in Raimi's Spider-Man 3 was also due to executive meddling by Sony, which was why the character was handled in such a disastrous manner.

So let's take a look at who's involved with the Venom movie, shall we? Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach, producers of The Amazing Spider-Man movies, are producing the Venom movie as well. One of the writers of the Venom movie, Jeff Pinkner, worked on The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

On top of that, the current head of Sony Pictures is Tom Rothman, whose previous work as head of 20th Century Fox involved almost destroying the X-Men franchise in the late 2000s and singlehandledly being responsible for Deadpool being in development hell for as long as it was. 

But hey, maybe I'm wrong and Sony learned from their mistakes. Maybe they just genuinely want to make good movies based on Spider-Man characters and aren't just desperate for a big franchise. Except they've already announced a sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming, an unrelated animated Spider-Man movie for 2018 and a Black Cat and Silver Sable spin-off on top of the Venom movie - and all of them are supposed to happen before 2020. 

When it comes to blockbusters, money is always a factor. No studio would back a movie, or a series of movies that cost tens and hundreds of millions of dollars if they weren't expecting a big profit in return. But Sony Pictures is in such dire straits and so desperate to church out a franchise that could compete with the likes of Disney that there's no way this will turn out well for them. They have too much riding on this, so it's likely they'll meddle with the production.

It doesn't matter who's playing Eddie Brock or who's directing. The Venom solo movie was pretty much doomed from the start. 

Venom is due to be released 5th October 2018 through Sony Pictures.

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