Venom 2’s post-credit sting is building a lazy world

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San Francisco’s self-proclaimed “mortal protector” is back in theaters for Venom: Let There Be Carnage. The 2018 sequel to Venom, the film exists in a hypothetical state of being both an absurdly entertaining comedy and an insanely evil action flick. This is Schrödinger’s film, both rotten and fresh at the same time – to borrow the lingo of a popular review aggregation site.

Honestly, if I were to remove the fence from my posterior and choose a side, I would end up liking Venom 2 more than I dislike it. It makes about as much sense as filling a dryer with fish fingers, but there’s something to admire about the little he cares about being consistent; especially in light of how button-up, prepackaged superhero movies have turned out in recent years.

Venom 2 is a movie that, like its main character, indulges all of its desires. Want to see Venom in a rave? It’s in there. Want to introduce mutants to the world? Don’t worry, we just did that in a throwaway chat line. Need Carnage to find his girlfriend? Well, it turns out that the symbiotes are internet compatible. It’s silly, fun, and most importantly, entertaining.

And yet, I dispute that, or to be more precise, I dispute the post-credit scene of Venom 2. Be careful, there will be spoilers from here on out. Still with us? Well, it’s worth reading.

In the post-credit sting of Venom 2, we see Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) lying on a bed in a rotten hotel watching a soap opera with his parasitic partner in crime. After a bit of discussion, the Venom symbiote offers to show Eddie a fraction of his intergalactic knowledge which Brock readily accepts.

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Before the symbiote can impart their cosmic wisdom, the room begins to shake and transform into a much nicer hotel suite. As Eddie rises, the soap opera has become a report where a familiar face J Jonah Jameson (JK Simmons) reports on Spider-Man’s (Tom Holland) secret identity.

As Venom stares at the screen, he angrily sniffs “that guy” and threateningly licks Peter’s picture, cut in the credits. Yes, it looks like Venom has been transported to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in one way or another – presumably involving the spell Doctor Strange casts in Spider-Man: No Way Home.

This, if I’m blunt, bothers me tremendously like a fanboy toothache. It’s the lazy crowbaring of the MCU and Sony’s Marvel Character Universe, or whatever we call it this week, that pisses me off so much because I really want to see Venom and Spider-Man fight on big. screen. But not like that.

To me, it feels like a studio desperate to reach the finish line, a hypothetical Venom vs. Spider-Man movie, without bothering to work. You see the reason Venom is such an interesting character in the comics isn’t that we just like to see guys in black beat up a guy in red and blue pajamas. No, we love Venom because of the unique threat it poses to the Wallcrawler.

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Venom is one of Spidey’s few enemies who, physically speaking, is his superior in every way. He has all of Peter’s powers and more. Not only that, he denies Peter’s greater power, his spider-sense, essentially robbing Spidey of what makes him effective in combat. None of this is what makes Venom scary, of course, it makes him intimidating, but the incredible Spider-Man has faced tougher foes and has come out on top.

What makes Venom truly terrifying and a villain to remember is that he knows everything about Peter and hates him with every fiber of his being. This is because before Eddie was the host of the symbiote, Peter was and during their time together, he learned a lot about Parker.

Venom2 and the lazy world building

When Spidey dismissed the chase, he was filled with hatred for the Wallcrawler and found a ship willing to his wickedness in Eddie Brock who also despised Spidey. By bonding with Eddie, the symbiote shared all of Peter’s secrets, meaning Brock knows Peter almost better than he knows himself.

In the past, Venom has used this knowledge to hurt Peter in a way few other enemies have by pursuing Mary Jane, Aunt May, and even threatening to reveal his secret identity to the world. Other than the Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus, few enemies have really taken on Peter personally and that’s one of the things that defines the character. This brings us to the big screen version of Venom.

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Hardy’s Venom is an adorable goofball that looks and shares the same name as the character from the comics, but that’s where the similarities end. He has no pre-existing relationship with Spider-Man or Peter Parker, he could be called “Goo Guy” and the movies would make just as much sense. So I have very little interest in seeing this version of Venom fight Spider-Man because the stakes just aren’t there, he’s just another villain Peter needs to take down.

I think it’s such a shame because Spider-Man vs. Venom should be an event, not a quick throw-away thing. It is worth the effort, planning and building. Maybe I’m wrong and meeting the couple will be a satisfying film, but at the moment I can’t say I’m in sync with this idea.

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