Venom comes out on Oct. 5 and regardless of how it does at the box office, Maximum Carnage should be Sony’s next project.
This post contains some spoilers in relation to Venom, Carnage and potential storylines based on the comic books and early movie reviews.
It would be generous to say that the early reviews for Venom are mixed. But honestly, how much trust can be put into those seeing the film early? We will know more once the movie is in theaters for a while, giving regular folk a chance to form their own opinion. (Yes, as a big Venom guy, I’m being overly positive here.)
One takeaway from the early screenings is that Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock/Venom is successful. This is crucial if the studio decides to build upon Venom’s own universe, or more favorably, connect him and others to the Spider-Man movie universe, particularly Carnage.
One of the best comic book storylines involving Venom is that of “Maximum Carnage.” Carnage is a leaner, meaner version of Venom, sharing similar origins but coming out a less conflicted, more evil monster. He was also (spoilers) reportedly introduced in a post-credits scene at the end of the Venom movie.
First and foremost, making a Venom/Carnage movie 100 percent hinges on creating a bigger universe for Venom. Carnage has a team of enemies with him as he murders and pillages through the city and there’s a certain friendly neighborhood superhero that teams up with Venom to help stop him.
This shouldn’t be a huge problem for the studio. Though they originally stated that Venom would be a standalone film, Tom Hardy has recently come out saying he would love to keep this role going, perhaps with the MCU.
The storyline between these three has the potential to be incredible, if told properly. If the studio wants to slow-play Spidey’s introduction to the Venom world, they can have Venom and Carnage go at it in a second film before Venom turns to his enemy Spider-Man for help.
A second, more likely (PLEASE) option would be to introduce Carnage as the main foe in the next Spider-Man movie before having Spider-Man and Venom team up to take him on him in a later movie. Either way, Spider-Man is key to making this all work.
We’re getting ahead of ourselves. Here are all the reasons Marvel should make Carnage work.
Let’s get a bit more background on our new villain.
Cletus Kasady is a serial killer trapped in a mental institution until he gains access to an alien symbiote, similar to the one that created Venom. His symbiote is an “offspring” of Venom’s, which Kasady uses to break out of incarceration, freeing his friend Shriek in the process.
A known serial killer who has murdered his own mother, grandmother and an orphanage of children, Kasady wants nothing more than maximum carnage. He continues his ruthless killing spree with the help of an evil crew he assembles after breaking out.
In the comic books, Venom is not a fan of Carnage and his path of destruction so he reluctantly goes to Spider-Man for help. The two of them, along with a group of other heroes pursue Carnage in their best attempts to take out the psychopathic murderer.
The enemy of my enemy is my friend, right? Carnage poses a massive problem for both Spider-Man and Venom. Venom, arguably Spider-Man’s best comic book foe, is also one of the bad guys we find ourselves cheering for in both the comics, television shows and films, even when he is at his worst. He just looks so damn cool doing it.
When it comes to Kasady’s Carnage, there’s no grey area. Kasady is a soulless monster with clear mental issues and zero regard for any life but his own. He fuels himself by feeding on the deaths of others and while he also looks really damn cool, he’s not gaining any fans in the process.
Regardless of where the studio takes Carnage, there’s no doubt it’ll be one of the more polarizing films in the MCU.
Carnage also provides Sony a chance to address one of the initial complaints with the Venom film: that it wasn’t rated R.
Whether it’s a standalone or a character introduction in a second Venom film, Carnage will definitely require an R rating. There’s no way to even give Kasady a proper backstory without getting to a place that is not appropriate for anyone under 18. Case in point: He lights an orphanage on fire before being incarcerated. Kasady is a straight psycho who gains a ridiculous amount of power to continue being psycho with.
The R rating will allow the studio to go wild with the story, making it darker and more evil than the PG-13-rated Venom flick. It’s something that fans are asking for more often as of late.
Another plus for the studio is the potential to revamp their original idea. If Venom is bad, this film could act as a second chance for him and for Sony. They wanted to hop on the “bad guy” train, but they only dipped their toes in the water. Here’s a chance to take on a bigger, more evil villain and really portray what they were initially going for in Venom.
If, by chance, all of the early reviews and critics are dead wrong (or swayed by hundreds of Little Monsters), then this only takes Venom to new heights. There’s no real loss here, unless the studio botches the second attempt with a dulled-down version of Carnage.
That being said, if he’s introduced into the Spidey-verse, we’ll give them a pass, as there’s no way a Spider-Man film could hold an “R” rating. This is the only exception.
Who’s to say Venom even needs to play a large role in the introduction of Carnage? The early Marvel movies leading up to the Avengers films worked so well because they were slow-played. We got to see each character in their own films, building their own stories before they got together to take on bigger and badder foes.
With Venom primed and ready to go, a standalone Carnage film could really build a story for (and a hatred toward) Kasady. It also builds the Spidey-verse, which serves as the logical successor to the Avengers movies. There’s no sense in Suicide Squad-ing this.
Let’s jump worlds into the DC universe to prove a point. Suicide Squad had a ton of potential. The characters were well-cast and in the limited time they were on the screen, they all came off pretty awesome (except you, Leto).
The problem was that the movie took what
could should have been years of solo movies and build-up and crammed it all into one movie. Sure, it generated a truckload of buzz, but the film itself suffered. When Suicide Squad hit theaters, we all immediately realized the importance of having the individual story-building movies before the action-packed, cameo-filled mega-films.
Even after Suicide Squad bombed, there’s still talk of solo films for Deadshot, Harley Quinn and the Joker. These should have happened before Suicide Squad, instead of each character getting a 30-second intro like they would at the start of some video game.
Carnage has a squad of his own. He teams up with Shriek, Doppleganger, Demogoblin and Carrion in a supervillain group far more evil than any we’ve ever seen. Now, there’s no need to introduce them all in one 15-minute segment, as the world is already built to introduce them one by one.
Give a couple of the characters a post-scene credit after the next Spider-Man movie. This builds speculation as to what we already know is coming while also introducing the villain for later.
I can’t stress enough the importance of having Spider-Man involved in the Carnage/Venom world. His teaming up with Venom to take out Carnage is one of the best (and most popular) storylines in the Spider-Man comics and to do this right is to include all of the key parties at play. It also solidifies our desire to like Venom, which will already be in place as we see Eddie Brock conflicted through the upcoming Venom movie.
Regardless of what people are saying, give Venom a shot. At worst, it’s going to be a failed opening attempt to a much bigger world. At best, we could see the greatest foe-turned-friend story line ever meet the darkest and most deranged villain to set foot on a movie set. There’s no loss here.
Venom hits theaters on Oct. 5, 2018. Check your local listings for showtimes and tickets.