Venom 3 Can Fulfill The Broken Promise Of Let There Be Carnage
After co-writing & co-producing the first two Venom films, Kelly Marcel has been tapped to direct Tom Hardy in the upcoming Venom 3. The hiring of Marcel is a promising sign, not just because she has a well-established working relationship with the actor whose gonzo performance carries the whole franchise (Marcel & Hardy shared a story credit on Let There Be Carnage), but because her strengths as a storyteller exemplify what the Venom movies need more of. Sony marketed Let There Be Carnage as a quirky romantic comedy about the complicated relationship between a man & his alien parasite, but it ended up being another generic comic book actioner with low stakes & a mediocre villain. Based on Marcel’s previous work – namely, Saving Mr. Banks & Fifty Shades of Grey – depicting complex relationships is her greatest strength as a storyteller. Since she’s calling the shots for the threequel, Venom 3 is Marcel’s chance to explore Eddie’s relationship with Venom in as much depth as the corporate skirmish between Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers & movie tycoon Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks, or the toxic sadomasochistic romance of Anastasia Steele & Christian Grey in Fifty Shades. With Marcel at the helm, Venom 3 might finally deliver the offbeat superhero romcom that Let There Be Carnage promised to be.
A Enormous-budget studio movie is never an ideal directorial debut, but Marcel’s first feature will tackle themes that she’s been exploring throughout her whole career. In Saving Mr. Banks, Disney tries to persuade Travers to give up the film rights to her stories, just like Venom tries to persuade Eddie to let him eat people. In Fifty Shades of Grey, Ana gets trapped in an unhealthy relationship with Christian, just like Eddie is trapped in an unhealthy relationship with Venom. Whereas the first two Venom movies put their relationship problems in the backseat to bring the action & spectacle to the forefront, the third one should bring the relationship problems into the forefront & push the action into the backseat. Audiences can get CG-heavy action set-pieces in just about every major movie release these days; what makes the Venom movies special is Hardy’s dual performance as Eddie & his symbiotic sidekick.
From Spider-Man 3 to The Matrix Revolutions to The Godfather Part III, third movies in franchises tend to be the worst. But the most satisfying threequels tend to be from trilogies whose first two installments were already pretty weak: Logan, Thor: Ragnarok, Revenge of the Sith. Venom 3 can pull off what those threequels did, finally striking the right tone for the characters & storylines at play. For Logan, it meant going darker & grittier (& bloodier); for Ragnarok, it meant going sillier & zanier; & for Revenge of the Sith, it meant harking back to the uniquely pulpy, action-packed, yet emotionally engaging feel of the original trilogy. For Venom 3, the secret could be focusing less on the st&ard superhero action & more on the body horror of symbiote bonding & the interpersonal conflicts that arise from sharing a physical vessel.
A lot of fans are hoping for an R-rated Venom movie to indulge in more gruesome violence & more profane dialogue. But scoring a more lenient MPAA certificate isn’t as important as leaning into the lunacy of these characters’ cohabitation within the same body. A man & an alien who begrudgingly love each other & have to learn to live together have the potential for as much heartwarming hilarity as the central relationships in Annie Hall, When Harry Met Sally, & Forgetting Sarah Marshall. But under the direction of Ruben Fleischer & Andy Serkis, neither of the previous Venom movies have been particularly interested in that aspect of the premise. The trailers have used Eddie & Venom’s banter as a selling point, but the story arcs tend to be the usual external conflicts.
In the oversaturated superhero movie market, it’s not enough to just provide the expected comic book thrills anymore. Since the formula has now been played out every which way, the best modern superhero movies are the ones that explore what makes their characters unique. Rather than marketing it as a buddy movie to get butts in seats & then just churning out another formulaic actioner with occasional banter, Sony needs to deliver on its promises with Venom 3. Let There Be Carnage had some fun with Eddie & Venom taking a Fracture from their relationship & reuniting with a stronger bond than ever, but the relationship dynamics need to take center stage in the threequel. With Marcel writing, producing, & directing the new installment, Venom 3 should be like couples’ counseling for the intertwined duo.
Venom 3 is currently in development with no confirmed release date, although based on the first two movies’ October release dates in 2018 & 2021, respectively, it st&s to reason that the third one will arrive in October 2024.
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