This article is full of nothing but Venom spoilers.
The new Venom movie is here! 11 years after being in a movie with too much Spider-Man stuff in it, Venom gets another attempt, this time in a movie with no Spider-Man stuff in it. Ruben Fleischer directs Tom Hardy as he chews both brains and scenery. We have a review of the flick right here.
Of course, the connective status of the movie is interesting. It isn’t part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it is based on the background makeup of Spider-Man, a character who is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Having to rely on his own mythology a lot of the time, Venom ends up being a film based on stories and characters from the early-to-mid-90s. Hell, the villain is a character who hasn’t shown up in a comic since 1994!
There are a good chunk of Easter eggs and references to be found in this overly-ridiculous antihero movie. As always, major spoilers.
– The movie takes place in San Francisco. Back in 1993, when Venom got his own series, he left New York City and spent about two years fighting crime in San Francisco. While the movie goes in a slightly less outlandish direction, Eddie mainly protected and stood up for the homeless during this time. I’m actually kind of surprised Maria and Isaac aren’t based on anyone from those stories.
– They’re vague about it, but before Eddie moved to San Francisco, there was some kind of incident in New York City with the Daily Globe. In the comics, Eddie wrote for the Daily Globe until an incident involving a serial killer named the Sin-Eater. A man confessed to being the killer to Eddie and the Globe ended up running the story. Unfortunately for Eddie, that man was a liar and the real Sin-Eater was apprehended by Spider-Man. Eddie was fired in disgrace.
– The comics and cartoon always showed Eddie preparing for his war on Spider-Man by lifting weights in his rundown apartment, so it made all the sense in the world that he’d just have random dumbbells lying on the floor.
THE VENOM SYMBIOTE
– At one point, Drake’s experiments with the symbiotes were mentioned as a possible cure for cancer. Interesting line, that. In the Ultimate Universe, Venom was not an alien organism, but a man-made attempt to cure cancer that ran amok. Also, in regular continuity, Eddie was dying from cancer and the symbiote was keeping him alive for years.
– At the classy restaurant, Eddie went on a bit of a feeding frenzy rampage and was disgusted that whatever he tried to eat wasn’t good enough for him. He ended up eating a live lobster, which barely satiated him. This is a lot like the beginning of the story Venom: The Hunger, where Eddie found that no matter what he ate (ie. movie popcorn or junk food), it all tasted like garbage, driving him to subtle desire to actually eat people’s brains.
– Venom possessed a dog when escaping captivity. The symbiote (well, its clone) pulled the same trick in the mid-00s Venom series by latching onto a snow dog in order to escape the arctic where it originated.
– The symbiote admitted to Eddie that it was considered a loser and outcast on its home planet. This lines up with the origin story David Michelinie came up with in Planet of the Symbiotes where all the symbiotes were about being pure parasites and sucking their hosts dry. While they wanted conquest and full control, Venom wanted true symbiosis with its host. It was deemed insane and was thrown in a prison.
– Venom admitted to having a soft spot for chocolate. During Venom’s antihero days in the 90s, there was a whole plot point about how eating chocolate would rein in the monster’s brain-eating tendencies. The symbiote naturally hungers for the chemical phenethylamine, which is found in both the human brain and chocolate.
Ann Weying first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #375, created by David Michelinie and Mark Bagley. Rather than being Eddie’s former fiancée, she was his ex-wife. Different comics muddy up whether or not they were divorced before or after the Sin-Eater incident. As in the movie, she was a lawyer, albeit with no connection to the Life Foundation.
Ann wearing the symbiote was a pretty big part of her history. In the storyline Venom: Sinner Takes All, she was badly wounded by a new Sin-Eater and Eddie had to use the symbiote to heal her. As She-Venom, she mercilessly slaughtered some vagrants who attacked Eddie. Upon being freed from the alien’s influence, she took her actions a lot harder and it haunted her enough that she eventually took her own life.
CARLTON DRAKE AND THE LIFE FOUNDATION
– The Life Foundation was created by David Michelinie and Todd MacFarlane, first showing up in Amazing Spider-Man #298, coincidentally right before Venom made his first true appearance. They appeared sporadically for several years as a threat to Spider-Man, the New Warriors, and eventually Venom. Their MO was that they believed the world will eventually destroy itself, so they would experiment with human biology to find ways to survive the apocalypse.
– Carlton Drake was the leader of the shadow organization and mainly used the Life Foundation as a means to cure his cancer. His most well-known appearance came in Venom: Lethal Protector, where he had Venom captured and forced the symbiote to birth five children. Those five soldiers were eventually defeated by Venom and Spider-Man, but Drake escaped. He later gained powers due to injecting himself with Spider-Man’s blood, but had not appeared since.
– I have far more to say about who Riot is here, but instead of being the leader of the symbiote race, Riot was an offspring of the Venom symbiote, brought to life by the Life Foundation. Life Foundation volunteer Trevor Cole bonded to it, but Cole was later killed by teammate Scream and the symbiote moved on to other hosts over time, including even Deadpool.
Oddly enough, Riot was the least descript of all the different symbiote children.
– In the film, Riot went hot potato with its hosts before ending with Carlton Drake. The Life Foundation woman seen walking off and devouring a live eel is identified in the credits as Donna Diego. In the comics, Donna was one of the Life Foundation test subjects and the one who got the most amount of promotion (she’s the one who shows up in the Universal Islands of Adventure Spider-Man ride). Although she didn’t become Scream, the yellow, black, and red Scream symbiote was definitely one of the creatures in Drake’s collection.
– Riot intended to lead an army of millions of symbiotes to Earth to take it over. This was essentially the plot of Planet of the Symbiotes, a Spider-Man/Scarlet Spider/Venom team-up where the Venom symbiote betrayed its own kind in order to protect Earth.
– Riot’s fighting style was exactly like Carnage’s. Not only could it alter its limbs into weapons, but Riot could also fire projectile spikes from its hide.
– At one point, Riot tore the mask off of Venom, causing extreme pain to Eddie. This looked an awful lot like the cover of Venom: Carnage Unleashed #3.
– The comic version of Roland Treece was yet another corrupt rich guy heading an evil organization. He was the main villain of Venom: Lethal Protector, where he acted like a Scooby Doo villain, trying to scare everyone away from hidden gold. Treece ran afoul of Venom twice, but each time ended up in police custody.
The only similarity between the comics and movie versions are that they both worked under Carlton Drake. It was just that instead of being head of security, Treece from the comics served on the board of directors for the Life Foundation. If anything, the movie version was closer to Mr. Crane, who acted as Treece’s right-hand man.
In the intro scene, we get a mention of astronaut John Jameson, including his untimely death. In the comics, Jameson never had much to do with Venom outside of serving with Eddie Brock in a task force put together to stop Carnage. His inclusion here has more to do with the ninth episode of the Spider-Man cartoon from 1994. In “The Alien Costume, Part 1,” Jameson went on a space mission that unexpectedly brought back the Venom symbiote and he ended up crashing back to Earth.
Spider-Man rescued him in that animated incident, based on an event in Amazing Spider-Man #1. Fitting that in a world with no mention of Spider-Man, John Jameson is doomed.
– When job hunting, Eddie brought up how he could write under a pen name and pretend to be a woman like Tootsie. The 1982 film was about Dustin Hoffman playing a blacklisted actor who pretended to be a woman in order to land a soap opera role.
– Ann’s cat is named Mr. Belvedere, named after the literary character Lynn Belvedere from the Gwen Davenport novel Belvedere. The character was adapted into several movies in the late-40s/early-50s, but is mostly remembered for a sitcom adaptation that lasted five years in the 80s.
Oh, and once during a table reading, the actor who played Mr. Belvedere – Christopher Hewett – once sat down on his balls so hard by accident that he had to be hospitalized and they shut down production for a week. This part has nothing to do with Venom, but I thought it might brighten your day.
– Ann mentioned sonics as being Venom’s “kryptonite.” Kind of weird that Superman is a fictional entity in that world. I wonder what Eddie thought of Dark Knight Rises.
– It wouldn’t be a Marvel movie without a Stan Lee cameo, even if he never actually wrote anything directly Venom-involved. The symbiote’s indignant, “Who is that guy?!” was one of the bigger laughs.
– In the final scene, there’s a sign for “Ron Lim Herbal.” Ron Lim was one of the artists on Venom: Lethal Protector.
Got any more Easter eggs? Let us know in the comments!