As expected, the success of “Chronicle” put director Josh Trank at the top of the to-call list for damn near every still-gestating superhero project; and now it appears he’s about to take his pick: A stand-alone vehicle built around “Venom.” Yes, the Spider-Man villain.
Okay, so the reason this is happening is because – despite not having been interesting once since the end of his main origin story – Venom is one of Marvel’s cash-cows in terms of marketing (unless what you’re trying to market are comic books, in which case everyone stopped giving a shit after Maximum Carnage.) Sony has been planning to give Venom his own movie franchise since before “Spider-Man 3,” which is one of the reasons the character was forced into the movie (against director Sam Raimi’s wishes) in the first place.
But… that’s what makes this a head-scratcher: Sony has now re-booted Spider-Man, meaning that the Venom this new franchise was initially supposed to “start” from is kaput, right? I mean, they can’t very well call “Venom” a continuation of “Spider-Man 3” at the same time that the new “Amazing Spider-Man” franchise is just getting off the ground, can they? Wouldn’t that confuse the crap out of everybody? Or is this inadvertently spoiling that the “seeds” of the Venom story will be making some kind of appearance in “Amazing?” (Which, given the raging hard-on the producers have for this character, would be the least surprising thing that could happen in that movie.)
The answer, of course, is likely that the film will be “it’s own thing” with no connection to the Spider-Man series and some totally new character getting infected by The Symbiote… except here’s the problem with that: Spider-Man is the ONLY reason anyone cares about Venom.
The reason Venom is a great seller of t-shirts, toys and other sundry merchandising is that he looks cool; and what looks cool about him is that he’s a “monster-version” of Spider-Man – right down to all of his powers being Spider-Man’s powers. If this movie doesn’t have any connection to Spider-Man, how do you explain the living-costume putting Spider-Man’s logo on it’s chest and using his web powers? I mean, you can’t just leave that stuff out – take away the spider-powers and the “evil Spidey” look and this ceases to be the uber-marketable Venom that justified making the movie in the first place.