Currently there is a triple threat match taking place in the world of superhero movies. Marvel is our titular hero, with its high flying moves to wow the crowd and the years of experience it has behind it to land these tried and tested crowd pleasers. Their opponents are veteran of the pen & paper ring making their relative debut to live action in DCEU, and a fighter of fluctuating skill in Fox. But wait! What’s this! A new challenger in the Cinematic universe fight of the century; SONY!
To be fair, all of these companies have been in the superhero business for a while now, but it is only in the past five years when we are seeing the cinematic universe race pick up its pace, and Sony, the focus today, does not want to be left behind. Currently they are in conjunction with Marvel over the use of Spider-man in the MCU, and while Sony still owns the rights to the character, Marvel is directing the ship anytime Spider-man appears in their universe. So the obvious choice is for Sony to start their own cinematic universe without this Spidey AND kick off their universe with a Venom character right. . . . right?
Snark aside, Venom seems to be front and center in this new Sony Cinematic universe and for better or worse it looks like they are going for an R rating, making the Symbiote a starkly different character compared to their other properties. Couple this with the announcement of both a Black Cat and a Silver Sable film, or a Black Cat/Silver Sable, as it is not very clear at the moment, Sony is looking to build this universe from the ground up on secondary and tertiary characters, many of which are obscure to even some comic book fans. I will talk about the ladies in a moment, but first let’s focus on the main aspect of these announcement’s; Venom, and what/how he could be brought to the big screen.
I have been seeing three big story idea’s being thrown around for the Venom movie, all of them with some, in my opinion, serious merit. They are the Horror angle, as the image above suggests, a new Spider-man separate from Tom Hollands character in the MCU and an Agent Venom story line, where Flash Thompson receives the symbiote after losing his legs in war. Out of the three, the Agent Venom potential story arc intrigues me the most but let’s break down what each of these could actually turn into.
With the Horror genre really getting its groove back over the past couple of years, it makes a lot of sense to take a character who can be creepy as hell and put him in that genre. Not only does the symbiote take over a person, so sit’s comfortably in a body horror skin, pun intended, but is also stands in the shadow of movies like Alien as a creature that can hunt it’s enemies. Think of how Spider-man cannot ‘spidey sense’ Venom, and apply that to a group of military personal who are trying to capture the symbiote. Having to use tech like motion sensors, sonic weapons and fire to battle a horrific creature could be a really compelling movie. This is also where I think the R rating stands at its strongest. Horror almost always benefits from this rating as it allows the film makers to explore the harder hitting nature of violence, mature subject matter, and gore.
The second option seems to revolve around a new Spider-man within the Sony universe. Many put forth that Miles Morales would make a great addition to their roster, not only as he is a great character, but also gives us another multi-cultural character to enjoy. Whether or not you care about that personally, it is a big issue in the movie world, and as we have seen with movies like Ghost in the Shell, people want to see more diverse characters in their movies, and not always default to “the white person”. While I don’t know much about Morales personally, as I don’t follow Spider-man much, I do know he is a beloved character, so any of his story arc’s would make a great backdrop to spin Venom into, but I imagine they would take a hard look at adapting the ‘Venom Wars’ story arc.
The last option many people are talking about, and one that I am personally the most excited for, is the Agent Venom angle. This puts Flash Thompson, a character from Peter Parker’s Spider-man past, in the role of our anti-hero. After losing his legs in the Iraq war, he is bonded the symbiote so he can continue to serve in the military. The bond between man and monster can only be short-lived, as Venom looks to take over his human host and wreak destruction once he has control. I like this idea for two major reasons. The first is the fact that a action-horror military movie could be really awesome as the supernatural elements, in terms of strength speed and resilience of Venom vs regular military personal, would create a cool dynamic as they have to control not only the creature, but the message about how it is being used. The other aspect is that you could tie Silver Sable into this movie as an introduction to the character and the general movie going public before her solo outing. She is another military style character, so her expertise could be used to either try to contain the symbiote fueled Flash, or as the hunt squad needed to bring it back under control.
The other two movies Sony has touched on are the aforementioned Silver Sable, and Black Cat. I will fully admit I don’t know much about these characters, as Silver Sable has never seen a huge arc come to fruition in the comics and Black Cat, as well as Catwoman from DC, have never interested me much due to their character design and, in my opinion, lack of interesting story lines. It might also be my age, but I am really tired of “My super power is a low-cut costume and flexibility”, but that is a different story all together.
Silver Sable, as I mentioned above could fit very nicely into an Agent Venom story, to then spin-off into her own movie. Her outfit, the Wild Pack, is a mercenary group who hunts war criminals and while one of her main rivals, Doctor Doom, is out of the picture at the moment due to rights issues, there are a ton of smaller characters that can be drawn upon for her and her group to battle against. This would give Sony a, if done correctly, strong female lead who has the team dynamics of say a Cyclops or Storm, with the grit and guns of a Punisher, Deadpool or Grifter, minus the healing factor or other mutant abilities of the latter two. If Sony and Marvel could make another trade of minor characters, we could potentially see a Baroness Zemo as a Villainess to Sables hero in her own standalone.
As to Black Cat, I think my bias to this character comes out to strong, much like my dislike of Catwoman. I think there is potential if you are doing something like a heist movie, in a similar vein to Ant-Man. I also think her movie would be ripe for cameo’s from other hero’s in the universe, in a sort of backdoor announcement, much like Luke Cage was in Jessica Jones. However I am truly at a loss for what would make this character stand out enough to warrant their own movie. If you guys have an idea let me know.
As the months roll on, I am sure we will hear more about these movies, their potential franchises and other characters Sony wan’t to add into their universe. Do we hear about the Sinister Six, the Green/Hob Goblin’s, or any myriad of other characters Sony can pull from to be the fourth pillar in this Superhero cinematic universe showdown.