Superhero movies usually play into certain tropes. From distinctive costumes to damsels in distress and epic battle finales, they are, by their very nature, built on hope and our inner need to see the good guy win, the bad guy defeated and order restored to the universe.
Words by Camille Hogg
But the problem with superheroes is that they’re an idealistic kind of good – and in the world we live in, it’s becoming less and less believable. So what happens when the ‘good guy’ has a decent amount of bad in him too? It’s a question that Venom, set for release on 4th October, is trying to answer.
The film follows disgraced reporter Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), who is attempting to revive his failing career by investigating the Life Foundation, a shady San Francisco corporation engineering a stronger humankind by splicing amorphous aliens – known as symbiotes – with human hosts.
But when Eddie accidentally makes contact with a symbiote while touring the lab, he is infected with a dark new alter-ego called Venom, whose rage-fuelled strength threatens to overwhelm him.
As another symbiote-human hybrid begins to wreak havoc, it’s up to Eddie and his parasitic alien hitchhiker to get along for the sake of saving the body they both occupy.
With the trailer hinting that the world has enough superheroes, could Marvel’s newest antihero provide a refreshing counterpoint to all the do-gooders in its cinematic universe? That’s the plan, according to director Ruben Fleischer.
“There are no heroes in this movie,” he told Variety earlier this year. “Our movie wants to honour the comics as close as we can tonally,” he later expanded in an interview with comicbook.com. “In the comics, he bites people’s heads off and eats brains. It would be weird to make a movie with Venom if he wasn’t doing that. This is definitely a darker, more violent, more vicious Marvel character than I think anyone’s ever seen before.”
Violent decapitations aside, the movie’s recent PG-13 rating in the States hints at a tamer cinematic effort with less bite than its comic book predecessor. But with a double personality to take on, Hardy has certainly taken a bite out of the role after reports surfaced that he’d based his interpretation of the characters on the eclectic mix of Woody Allen, boxer Conor McGregor and rapper Redman.
“To me it’s exciting, because it’s a double act,” he told Esquire magazine. “He now has a beast who lives rent-free in him. The character has an ethical framework, the alien by virtue of coming from another planet doesn’t have the same ethical framework, and they have to work out how to be together so they click.”
Time will tell if Hardy manages to wrangle two personalities into true frenemies, but with the actor signed on for a three-film franchise, all signs point to a beautiful relationship.
Also starring: Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed and Woody Harrelson. Rating: 18TC. Running time: 100 mins.
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