No Carnage No Cry
Notice anything missing from the new Venom trailer?
Don’t get me wrong, there was a good amount of stuff to absorb from the footage but one major element was completely nonexistent… Carnage.
You may remember reading articles a few weeks ago claiming that American treasure Woody Harrelson was in talks to play Venom’s second signature adversary. The Independent as well as others covered the story when it broke and right now we are waiting for the confirmation. Personally I think he would be a great casting choice for Cletus Kasady, if you’ve seen War For The Planet Of The Apes, you know the guy can play crazy. While I have been on the Harrelson Hype Train ever since White Men Can’t Jump came out many years ago, I don’t believe that Woody should be bonding with a symbiote so quickly in the Venom franchise.
If we didn’t see Carnage in the Venom movie, it may not be so bad. Let’s go over a couple reasons why…
First, the new trailer does provide a quick shot of two capsules containing a bubbling alien life force, so we at least are introduced to the idea that more human/symbiote interaction can happen. However, the preview is heavily reliant on an evil corporation as the implied antagonist. We get a couple glimpses of Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), who appears to the leader, also a line about suspected killings at the hands of the company. This leaves an impression of a “you have it, we want it back” story, which should be enough considering the film has a good amount of ground to cover. Excluding a bad guy, there’s a main character to develop, a love interest subplot, supporting roles, world building, then establish a possible tie to the current Spider-Man. With these things to consider, the addition of Carnage may be a little too much and why force a bad guy on the audience for the sake of a familiar face.
Speaking of familiar faces not named Peter Parker… how many potential Venom adversaries can you name? Take a couple seconds if you need.
I’m assuming unless your knowledge of comic books runs as deep as the Sarlacc Pit, only a couple people come to mind. Carnage, Spider-Man, to be more specific. It’s okay, I’m sure you have a life and honestly, Venom doesn’t have that many recognizable anti, anti-heroes to pick from. I guarantee the studio wants to capitalize on the best possible battle they can, but when planning for the future, it’s a good idea to save him for the sequel. When Christopher Nolan reintroduced us to Batman, he didn’t bring in the Joker until The Dark Knight.
Think about it like this, what if Venom sucks? Then Ruben Fleischer and company have burned a valuable asset to the franchise in the first installment. If Venom 2 were to get the go ahead to begin production, it would be like fighting uphill in the sense that you now don’t have Carnage and you’ll be trying to recapture lost attention. To me, that sounds like a very tall order.
We also have to consider how Spider-Man fits into all this, but that’s a whole other pile of laundry.
So what is the best possible path here?
In my opinion, Venom 1 should go small but effective. Keep the story contained in a Eddie Brock v Evil Corporation situation where our anti-hero triumphs over those bringing harm to innocent people. Since we have two symbiotes, give Riz Ahmed one of them, then fight Venom in the final act. As we approach the closing credits, Cletus Kasady shows up and meets a piece of the symbiote left over from the scuffle. Fleischer can fade to black just as the red alien matter wraps itself around Harrelson’s leg, leaving the audience with the ultimate cliffhanger.
They can stay even truer to the comics if Hardy and Harrelson somehow wind up in same jail cell but I don’t want to set my expectations to high.
Nobody wants to see their favorite comic book icons suck it up on the big screen. For me, Venom was always in the top tier of Marvel characters so for those waiting a long time for the Venom we deserve, this project is incredibly important. All the pieces are there, now it’s only a matter of time to see them in action. Though I may be super excited to see a Carnage in a movie, I’ll be even happier if Venom is done right.
Topher Grace sucks.
By Adam Chmielewski
Photo Credits- Sony/Marvel Comics
How would you solve the Carnage issue? Let Nerdbot know in the comments!!