Has Venom: The Last Dance’s trailer drawn Spider-Man: No Way Home’s sting?

Estimated read time 4 min read

What a pity Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock didn’t last very long in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. One meagre end-credits scene at the tail end of Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Brock and his disgusting symbiotic buddy were wrenched back to Sony’s slightly pitiful Spider-Man Universe. In the grand scheme of things, this is a bit like joining the orchestra performing a symphony at Carnegie Hall only to discover yourself suddenly strumming a broken guitar in the bogs at HMP Pentonville.

Even more strangely, there are weird echoes of Brock’s brief appearance in the MCU in the debut trailer for Hardy’s final appearance as the alien-assisted antihero in Venom: The Last Dance, which hit the interweb this week. Remember how we last saw Eddie getting drunk in a bar, while the multiversal events of No Way Home all happened somewhere a long, long way away? And then, just as he was dragged back to his own reality by some primal unknown force, we noticed that a small piece of the alien symbiote was left behind.

Now assuming (and this may be a big assumption) that there is some kind of continuity between the events of 2007’s Spider-Man 3 and the Venom movies, one tiny bit of extraterrestrial goo is quite capable of causing major issues in any universe. The problem with the trailer, as many fans have been pointing out, is that it seems to transfer an almost identical scene, in an almost identical bar – Ted Lasso’s Cristo Fernández is even the bartender in both scenes – to the Sony ’verse, except this time around, a military man played by Chiwetel Ejiofor is along for the ride.

The issue with casting Ejiofor is that he also portrays Doctor Strange’s colleague turned nemesis Baron Mordo in the MCU. Is this the Sony version of Mordo, or a completely different character? This is unclear, which is fair enough given that it’s just a trailer, yet a lot of people are still getting very confused on social media.

Should they be? This is hardly the first time that the Sony and Marvel comic book universes have danced and dovetailed in unusual ways. The version of J Jonah Jameson in the “Home” trilogy is not the same as the one we saw in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, yet nobody ever complained this wonderfully curmudgeonly media man was being trampolined in from a parallel reality. That guy in the back of the bus in the trailer who looks like Rhys Ifans’ Curt Connors might be just another happy musical hippy hanging out with the Electric Kool-Aid crew.

The useful thing about the multiverse is that it’s perfectly acceptable to pick and choose how different realities relate to each other – in one universe, you might be Brad Pitt: in another just a rock with eyes. So there is no reason to think that the new trailer’s bar scene means that there is no longer a bit of Venom running around in the main MCU. There could yet be hope for a symbiote storyline in Spider-Man 4, even if everyone seems to think that possibility has now been torpedoed.

It’s almost sad to think that this will be the last time we see Hardy in the role, because the Venom movies (unless The Last Dance turns out to be a significant upgrade on its predecessors) will go down in history as an example of almost perfect casting let down by mediocre storytelling. Imagine the giant-mawed horror in a buddy movie with Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool, or romping through space with Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk. Venom feels as if he would really benefit from other larger-than-life heroes and villains to bounce off, but thus far he hasn’t even been given the chance to meet Spider-Man properly on the big screen.

If Sony was able to get its act together enough in the boardroom to pull off the ingenious inter-universal smackdown with Marvel that was No Way Home, you’d think they could manage to get the wall-crawler in a flick with a villain he’s totally synonymous with, rather than trotting out endless origin stories for minor league Spider-villains that nobody ever asked for.

The Last Dance does appear likely to give us a fitting climax to the trilogy, with the symbiote’s monstrous mates popping in from across the cosmos to mess things up for humanity. But the only way this one is going to really hit home is if Tom Holland’s webslinger turns up to save the day. Now that would be a moment – an increasingly unlikely seeming one – to make the bit when Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire walked through portals from another reality pale into insignificance.

Source: theguardian.com

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