Arriving just over a week after the San-Diego Comic-Con, Sony has now debuted the third (and presumably final) trailer for Venom.
The “Spider-Man spin-off without any apparent references to Spider-Man” is one of those projects that has me (and others) waving the “bad idea flag” for four years. Three trailers, in the strangest thing about this Ruben Fleischer-directed flick is that it so closely resembles Halle Barry’s infamous Catwoman. But that’s only one of its handful of warning signs.
That Pit of-directed film, released just over 14 years ago to the weekend, was about a young woman who discovers evidence of corporate malfeasance, gets chased out of the building in a scenario that leads to her apparent death and revival via, well, cats. Sans any reference to Batman or Gotham City, Patience Phillips indulges her inner-Id in the form of a new feline vigilante identity. While romancing a cop (Benjamin Bratt) with a business interest in Patience and a business interest in Catwoman, she eventually saves the day from the diabolical doings of Sharon Stone’s cosmetics company.
This film, at a glance, seems to concern a disgraced journalist Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) who uncovers evidence of corporate malfeasance, gets chased out of the building and then gets infected by a symbiote from that evil company that allows him to indulge his dark side to become an avenging anti-hero. Now it’s possible/probable that Venom, allegedly an R-rated movie being sold as a horror movie whereby Venom bites off a human head or two, will be of a different stripe than Berry’s PG-13 and entirely campy origin story flop ($82 million worldwide on an insane $100m budget).
While Catwoman remains the opposite of a “good” movie, is a less boring than the likes of Elektra, Ghost Rider or The Amazing Spider-Man. Come what may, time has been oddly kind to it, both in terms of embracing the camp fun (it’s no longer a big deal when a comic book movie doesn’t take the source material all that seriously) and focusing on the gender-specific moralizing. Stone is evil because her husband has pushed her aside for a younger/hotter model, and there is plenty of subtext about how the cosmetics industry sells itself to women. Back in 2004, it was merely “what the movie happens to be about.” Today, the film’s villain (“I’m a woman… I’m used to doing things I don’t want to.”) would inspire many a think piece.
That’s to say nothing about the fact that the film has a black woman as the heroic lead, a slightly sympathetic white lady as the villain and a Hispanic man as the romantic co-star. The chief henchmen are personality-free Asian men, which may or may not work in the film’s inclusivity favor. Again, I’m not saying it’s good, but it has a certain train wreck appeal along with certain off-the-cuff elements that would be discussed online in “why this matters” terms today.