There are two! The first was very popular indeed. At the time of writing, 66 million people have viewed it with many fans praising the footage for its comic-accurate depiction of the centra character.
In July, a follow-up was released – coming in at over three minutes with hefty chunks of new footage of Tom Hardy’s gruesome alter-ego…
What’s the story?
Journalist Eddie Brock begins looking into a shady businessman, whose experiments into alien symbiotes (i.e. creatures that have to bond with another being to survive) are putting innocent people in danger.
However, in the course of his investigations Brock becomes infected with one of the symbiotes, quickly realising it possesses sentience and striking a deal with the creature now sharing his body – only use your violent impulses to hurt bad people.
But can Brock and the symbiote (who joined together become the toothy, black-suited Venom) stop the forces ranged against them? And can Eddie keep control of his new other half even if they do?
While some critics who attended the premiere praised Hardy’s performance, others criticised the story and script, and suggested that the film seemed oddly dated among the zippier superhero movies coming from Marvel. You can read more of what they thought here.
Well, according to star Tom Hardy, it’s a scene that didn’t actually make it to the finished movie.
“Things that aren’t in this movie,” Hardy told ComicsExplained when asked what his favourite part of the movie was.
“There are, like, 30 to 40 minutes’ worth of scenes that aren’t in this movie… all of them. Mad puppeteering scenes, dark comedy scenes. You know what I mean? They just never made it in.”
Fingers crossed we’ll get some deleted scenes down the line.
Who’s in the cast?
Tom Hardy in first Venom teaser trailer (YouTube, JG)
As noted above Tom Hardy stars as Eddie Brock, and he also voices the symbiote, effectively playing two different interlinked roles in the same movie.
Michelle Williams also stars as lawyer Anne Weying, Eddie’s girlfriend, who becomes a different version of Venom herself in the source comics.
Rounding off the main cast Riz Ahmed plays villain Carlton Drake, with Jenny Slate, Woody Harrelson, Scott Haze, Reid Scott, Sope Aluko and Scott Deckert cast in undisclosed roles.
Who is Venom in the comics?
Venom as he appears in Marvel’s comics (Marvel, HF)
Interestingly, the comic-book Venom is much more of a villain. Introduced in 1984, the comic version of Eddie Brock had a personal vendetta against Spider-Man, and was one of the webhead’s most tenacious and terrifying foes for decades.
However, he also had a strict moral code that prevented him from harming “innocents” (though his sense of innocence was somewhat warped), inspiring him into some heroic periods that are the main inspiration for the new film.
There are still some similarities between the two Venoms, however. Like Hardy’s version, the comic-book Brock was an investigative journalist, though the print version blamed Spider-Man for a career downturn.
How does this tie into the Marvel Spider-Man films?
The short answer is that it doesn’t, while the longer answer is…more complicated.
While Marvel Studios own the rights to most of their heroes (including Iron Man, Captain America and the Guardians of the Galaxy), it’s actually rival studio Sony who hold the rights to Spider-Man, after Marvel sold them off during financial problems a few decades ago.
This led Sony to try and create their own Spider-Man-based movie universe starting with The Amazing Spider-Man franchise (which starred Andrew Garfield), but when these plans failed they decided to essentially “lend” the character back to Marvel in return for a share of the profits. So Tom Holland’s Spider-Man exists in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but technically still belongs to Sony.
However, Sony does still have sole rights to all Spider-Man’s villains and allies, including Venom, and so while their big hitter is working for another studio they’re trying to make the most of what they have by repainting the character as a bit of an antihero (which, to be fair, he sometimes has been in the comics) in a completely separate, non-Marvel continuity.
Apparently the long-term plan is to meld these side-characters into their own cinematic universe of sorts that could one day pull Spider-Man back in too, though it’s unclear how likely that is at the current moment.
Haven’t I already seen Venom in a movie?
Yes, you probably have. The character was played by Topher Grace in the final film of Sony’s original webslinging trilogy, Spider-Man 3, back in 2007.
However, the depiction of both Eddie Brock and Venom was roundly criticised by fans at the time, with the response to Hardy’s version of the character already far more positive.
Will there be a post-credits scene?
Yes – in fact that are two post-credits scenes after Venom– read more about their content here.
Sony has used this device (best known for appearing in Marvel’s superhero movies) before in The Amazing Spider-Man films, so it’s not a massive surprise that Venom will have a little treat after the credits for fans as well.