Tom Hardy is the most recent star to announce their arrival into the world of superhero movies, with the British actor set to fill the titular role in a Venom film slated for release in late 2018. However, the character will not be following traditional nemesis Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Rather, Hardy’s Venom will be the poster boy for what will be Sony’s Marvel Universe.
Venom will be portrayed as an anti-hero and so the film is likely to draw inspiration from the humorous and violent elements of the extremely successful Deadpool, another film that uses Marvel characters but shares no overlap with the MCU. Spider-Man is unlikely to be completely ignored in Sony’s Marvel Universe, but his existence will be referenced and not seen. However, this will allow characters such as Venom to flourish in their own right.
Venom’s regrettable appearance in the disappointment that was Spider-Man 3 will be firmly forgotten if Hardy’s debut is more impressive – which is a near certainty considering the end to Tobey Maguire‘s reign as the web-slinger was defined by a surplus of villains and, bizarrely, dance scenes. Topher Grace was unable to lend Venom’s character sufficient menace or gravitas, but Hardy should fare much better in these departments. Like Grace, Hardy will be adopting the Eddie Brock guise of Venom but he will deliver a more intimidating incarnation of the character in a film touted to feature graphic violence.
Hardy marks the latest in an extensive list of high-profile actors who have seemed almost inevitable to wind up as a Marvel character in one guise or another. Perhaps one day everyone in Hollywood will have either starred in a Marvel or DC film; Hardy will end up doing both, having starred as the imposing villain Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. The dismissal of this film as non-canon has probably made it easier for him to make the leap from DC to Marvel.
Tom Hardy is no stranger to superhero films, having delivered a powerful performance as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. Source: The Dark Knight Rises via Facebook.
As Venom, Hardy will become a long-term feature of Sony’s Marvel Universe rather than a fleeting appearance as a villain or a secondary character. Marvel has become a cinematic juggernaut, with each film either featuring established stars or creating new stars to become established. It is remarkable to consider how ingrained characters like Iron Man and Thor have become in popular consciousness when compared with their relative anonymity before the MCU came into being.
Such is the allure of Marvel characters that massive actors are excited to sign up for multiple films to portray animated characters. Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel are unlikely stars of the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, with Diesel’s Groot a huge breakout star. In the first film, Groot wowed audiences with his humour and courage, and in the sequel charmed viewers as a baby with his adorable mannerisms and behaviour. Groot has become instantly recognisable, popping up everywhere from cuddly toys to his likeness adorning cases at https://case51.com for players of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. It is remarkable how comic-book characters like Groot can appeal to everyone from children to adults and from gamers to film buffs, but superhero films are no longer a niche market. Sony will be hoping that Hardy’s star quality can give Venom a similarly transcendent level of appeal to that of Groot and Deadpool.
Hardy is certainly considered a safe pair of hands, with his name regularly mentioned when considering successors to Daniel Craig in the role of James Bond. Hardy has featured in critical hits including Inception and The Revenant, and his ability to vary between comic relief and serious threat makes him the ideal candidate to portray an anti-hero such as Venom.
Whilst it will be jarring at first to see staples of Spider-Man stories to exist in a world without Spider-Man, it could also prove to be a massive advantage. The films will be able to have a different tone to the MCU and will be required to tackle the lack of Spider-Man with subtlety, perhaps enabling a shift away from the near-formulaic approach to MCU films. It will be intriguing to see how the Sony universe fares, but with Tom Hardy on board fans can be confident that the classic character of Venom will be given the outing it deserves.