Tom Hardy will play Venom in a Marvel movie with a difference next year and fans have every reason to be seriously excited about arguably the biggest bit of comic book movie casting news from the past few years.
Spider-Man: Homecoming may be just around the corner, but it would appear Sony is eager to strike while the iron is hot, with the Venom movie already slated for a 5th October 2018 release.
So what makes the addition of Tom Hardy to the Marvel movie universe, in this particular role, such a game-changer for the entire superhero movie genre? Here are seven reasons for starters.
Strong Track Record
Hardy is one of the most in-demand actors in Hollywood at present and an actor at arguably the pinnacle of his powers. To get him to agree to star in a Venom movie, focusing on a major Marvel anti-hero, is therefore a massive coup. With the Marvel movies largely recruiting rising or long-established stars in the past, this represents a whole other level.
An Oscar-nominated star regularly singled out for his impressive on-screen displays – they don’t come much bigger than Hardy right now.
Proving A Point
There’s also the feeling that Hardy is out to prove a point with Venom. Though an imposing force as Bane in Batman: The Dark Knight Rises, Hardy’s costume rendered his performance almost unintelligible in parts and has been the source of some occasional ridicule in the years since.
And let’s not forget that Hardy was originally slated to star in Suicide Squad before backing out of the project. It’s widely felt that Hardy has deliberately avoided comic book movie roles since, too.
Speaking in an interview with The Sunday Times, Hardy previously slammed the notion of the modern action hero.
“One was allowed to express personal characteristics,” he said. “Now you’ve got to look like you’ve just come off a vegan diet, gone to the gym, part Navy Seal, really clean-valued, clean-living, moralistic – and then you go out and save the world from an impending danger that isn’t really dangerous at all.”
Taking on the role of Venom – as dark and complex a character as they come in the Marvel universe – gives him a chance to show something else.
Lost somewhere in the buzz that surrounded the announcement of Hardy signing on for Venom was the fact that Ruben Fleischer had been hired as director.
Fleischer comes with a pretty impressive track record on the big screen, having previously directed the excellent Zombieland. He also helmed 2013’s Gangster Squad which, while lacking some focus due to a so-so script, boasted plenty in the way of eye-catching action sequences.
Having a director cable of handling horror, humour and action is a great start ahead of what will be a challenging production to say the least.
Playing Eddie Brock
Plenty of characters within the Marvel universe have combined with the alien symbiote that is Venom. Flash Thompson, for example, was a paraplegic war veteran who combined with Venom before embarking on a series of top secret government missions behind enemy lines.
In a world of clean-cut heroes and patriotism, it would have been very easy for the filmmakers to settle on Thompson or one of the other, more heroic, Venom incarnations.
But they did the right thing in settling on the original and best host, Eddie Brock. Peter Parker’s shady rival at the Daily Globe, he’s a bitter, vicious and very shady presence when first introduced and exactly the kind of complex, borderline-crazy character both Spider-Man and Marvel has been crying out for.
Potential For Crossovers
Which leads us on neatly to the other major move a Venom movie starring Hardy could open up: crossovers. While it’s highly likely that Venom will feature in a Spidey outing or two, it would be foolish to rule out further involvement with other characters in the Marvel universe in the years that follow, particularly if the movie strikes box office gold in the way that Deadpool did.
Could Venom ever join the Avengers, for example? And how about something involving that other alien symbiote from the Spider-Man comics, Carnage? The possibilities are endless.
Time To Get Dark
If Deadpool signalled the start of a new era of R-rated superhero movies and Logan further emphasised that fact, Venom could be the film to truly kick-off a new era of super-dark comic book movies.
Marvel already dabbled in the idea with The Punisher, which was produced by the company’s Marvel Knights division, but could go further with new films featuring some of the darkest characters they have ever created.
Other notable comic book anti-heroes, like Venom, could also get the chance to shine on the big screen in an unbridled way never before seen by fans and cinema-goers
You’re Move, DC
If successful, a Venom movie could also provide something of a kick up the arse to DC, who are still trying to establish themselves in the movie game after a few false starts.
They will certainly have to up their game when it comes to follow-up efforts like Suicide Squad 2, after the original suffered from lukewarm reviews.
DC could even be forced to rethink their strategy, with the potential for some other, interesting, standalone movies. The Joker, anyone?