I am a devoted comic book movie connoisseur, and I have come to the conclusion that it is time for Marvel Studios to make a Maximum Carnage movie. Watching Far From Home with my daughter and reading my Carnage Classic graphic novel has inspired a three-part article series detailing what my ideal movie-based-on-a-bloated-comic-book-crossover-from-the-90s would be like. Before we do that, we have to talk about Venom.
Before Carnage, There Must be Venom.
You can’t have Carnage without Venom. There is no Cletus Kasady without Eddie Brock, and so forth. Carnage’s symbiote was the spawn of Venom’s, so one character was literally birthed by the other. Simply put, without the previous pile of redundant sentences, Eddie’s chicken came before Cletus’ egg.
We don’t want to have a Maximum Carnage movie without the proper buildup, we need all the Phase One movies before this bloody Avengers hits the theaters. We don’t want it to be bogged down with origin stories and copious amounts of exposition like Justice League. No, this trip down nineties memory lane must be earned.
We need a proper movie or two explaining how papa symbiote came to be, a franchise shoot-off that gives the audience the origin story of Venom.
“But Charles, there was already a Venom movie in 2018, and it was great!”
Anyone who watched a cartoon or read a comic before the new millennium can tell you that whatever that Tom Hardy film was about, it wasn’t about the mentally unstable anti-hero created by David Michelinie and Todd McFarlane.
Before I shake my fist and yell at all you kids to get off my lawn, I just want to make one thing clear. I am not a toxic fanboy afraid of change.
I Also Need a Maximum Carnage Movie, But You Already Knew That…
I don’t yell at the screens every Friday night telling my embarrassed wife and an angry moviegoing audience that “the comic books were different”. I haven’t done that since Spider-Man 3 so I’m very proud of myself on that front. Besides, she was my girlfriend back then, and this was before the whole Order of the Phoenix debacle, but that’s another story.
I’m not going to cry because a detail in the movie is different from the source material. I actually applaud it. It keeps me on my toes and makes for a whole new story to consume. If everything was the same, then why am I going to the theater when I can just read it back home for free?
My Rules For Changes Made in Comic Book Movies.
- The change has to be entertaining.
- The change has to still stay true to who the character is unless it’s entertaining enough that it doesn’t matter.
While the Venom movie in itself wasn’t bad, it definitely had some issues. The visuals were stunning, but I feel like they’re making Venom too much of a good guy too quickly. In the comics, Brock is obsessed with his twisted sense of justice through overly violent vengeance and Tom Hardy just comes off as a nice guy trying to calm down his symbiote.
There is no struggle for Eddie to get over his hatred of Spider-Man, he just needs to eat a burglar every once in a while and everything is cool. And don’t get me wrong, the movie was entertaining, but not so entertaining that it filled in the black hole of a storyline missing from the film, the black hole that I mentioned in the first sentence of this paragraph.
Before Venom, There Must be Spider-Man.
Much like Eddie paved the way for Cletus, Peter Parker paved the way for Eddie. We wouldn’t even be complaining about how the kid from That 70s Show did a horrible job of playing Venom if Spider-Man hadn’t given us the character by creating what he thought was a new costume while fighting a bunch of villains in space due to the whims of a character named Beyonder.
Whoa, rewind a little bit.
For those of you who never knew a Nirvana song until Target started selling their T-shirts, the Venom symbiote was first worn by Peter Parker in issue 8 of the created-for-toys comic book event known as Secret Wars. A godlike creature known only as the Beyonder whisked a bunch of heroes and villains away from Earth to fight each other in a weird space dome.
Aside from being an excuse to manufacture action figures during the boom of comic book merchandising, the series ended up being rather entertaining, giving the Marvel universe a lot of plotlines to follow up on afterward. Like the Thing staying on the world for his own series, Colossus breaking up with Kitty Pryde, and the alien symbiote that would inspire a zillion spin-off characters and three zillion limited series.
I Need a Secret Wars Movie Too…
Peter Parker’s outfit was ripped to shreds during one of his battles and he discovered the profitable plot device that was trapped inside a machine that he thought was designing him an outfit. When he discovered that it was a sentient being trying to bond with him permanently, he was eventually separated from it.
The alien found a new host in Eddie Brock, a host who didn’t mind being attached to a gooey black conscious parasite form the stars. The symbiote hated Spider-Man because he rejected his partnership, and Brock blamed Spider-Man for losing his job as a reporter, which is a whole other story this paragraph will not finish.
Eddie and the alien shared a deep mutual hatred for Spider-Man. That animosity became a defining element in all the stories that followed. Essentially, he is the ultimate jilted lover, torn between his reporter’s instinct to expose corruption and his illogical need to blame his shortcomings on another individual.
So while Venom was an entertaining story about a reporter fired from his job struggling to get back his girlfriend and blah blah blah, without Spider-Man in the picture the movie just felt flat. Like soda without the carbonation or Spider-Man’s origin without Uncle Ben’s death. Without the tragedy of losing his uncle, Peter Parker is all power and no responsibility.
The Venom Movie Was All Symbiote and No Irresponsibility.
So, before we get the Maximum Carnage movie that I so richly deserve for lining Kevin Feige’s pockets all these years, we need another Venom flick.
I’m not saying we need to do a reboot, or that we don’t need another Tom Hardy movie.
Into the Spider-Verse has introduced the concept of alternate universes and alternate wall crawlers to audiences around the world, so why not let this movie be a version of Brock that isn’t from Earth-616, AKA our universe? There are no ties to Tom Holland in the first movie, so let it literally exist off in its own world.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a densely populated world, one that I believe has enough characters to do a proper onscreen adaptation of Secret Wars. That scene in Endgame where all the characters jump out of Dr. Strange’s portals was mind-blowing, and an excellent warm-up to the next epic chapter to come.
After a few movies slowly prepare us for Beyonder being the next Thanos, Secret Wars blows all our minds and it gives Tom Holland the alien symbiote and the proper origin that dads who drag their daughters to yet another comic book movie like me have been waiting for. Then, someone who isn’t Woody Harrelson gets to be Carnage in this universe and we get that aforementioned Maximum Carnage movie!
I mean, the fact that they made Venom a standalone character instead of connecting him to the Spider-Man franchise seems like a huge mistake. A missed money-making opportunity. Marvel Studios has shown that they care about legacy and enjoy the billions of dollars that can be made off of building a huge storyline, so why stop now?
In part 2 of my “I Need a Maximum Carnage Movie” series, we will discuss actors that I believe are up to the task of playing characters in the film of my dreams.
To be continued…
Husband, parent, writer, emcee, cassette tape collector