Feb 8, 2018

Trailing Off: "Venom" (2018)

Welcome to the sporadic column Trailing Off in which I take a look at a trailer from the past week and analyze its potential. This will be done using an obnoxious amount of analyzing and personal thoughts on the cast and crew as well as expectations. I will attempt to highlight films ranging from new blockbusters to lesser known indies and give them their due. Partially to spread awareness, I do believe that there is an art to the sell and will do my best to highlight why these trailers matter or don't with approval (trove) or disapproval (trash). So please stop by, recommend some trailers, and I will see you next time.

Trailer in Discussion

Directed By: Ruben Fleischer
Written By: Kelly Marcel & Todd McFarlane (Characters), Jeff Pinker (Screenplay), Scott Rosenberg (Written By)
Starring: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Jenny Slate

- Preamble -

If there was one thing exciting about 2017, it was that the world of Spider-Man was experiencing a bit of a resurgence. Spider-Man: Homecoming became one of the most successful entries in the franchise, introducing a new generation to a young and spry web-slinger. With an animated movie planned for later this year, it's a great time to love the adventures of Peter Parker. However, among those many movies, was the fate of one character. He is considered to be one of Spider-Man's biggest foes: Venom. He was a character that appeared in Spider-Man 3, but was largely considered to be inaccurately represented. Many speculated that the sci-fi film Life was secretly an origin story, following the surprise-franchise movie Split from earlier in the year (spoiler alert: it wasn't).
But what has always been true is that there would be a Venom movie where he goes upon adventures by himself. The news has slowly been revealed, showing who is to be involved and what they will do. The promise of Tom Hardy in the lead role is especially appetizing, given his recent rise as an action film star who has, surprisingly, not become a prominent figure in superhero cinema. He was going to be in Suicide Squad, but The Revenant took his time away and got him an Oscar in the process. Still, one would have to wonder what he would bring to the game.
All things considered, Venom seems like a promising start to his career. With the recent Disney-Fox acquisition, one could imagine that he'd become a formidable foe in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, at least for Spider-Man. There's no telling if this solo film will be his sole venture into cinematic history, or if there will be more in years ahead. With all of this said, one can hope that the film does well, especially with director Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) returning to the world of madcap, cartoon-like violence and mayhem. Will it be any good? Only time will tell.

- Dissection -

For the most part, there isn't anything that's necessarily exciting about the trailer. There's nothing that separates it from the other superhero movies, making this origin story appear to be a typical lab experiment gone wrong. It isn't a bad thing, but it definitely doesn't help to make for a quick and effective introduction to the marketing side of this movie. It does have some memorable moments, but the idea of a Venom movie rebelling against structural norms of superhero cinema seem to be largely absent. Maybe it's a story of a man turning evil over time, which was a large part of the Spider-Man 3 movie. Maybe it is one of the secrets that the film is saving for later in the marketing, as this is ostensibly nothing more than a teaser.
The one nice thing to see is that this has a pretty strong cast at the center. Tom Hardy is always a good sell, and he makes the most of this explosive trailer. It's also nice to see Michelle Williams and Jenny Slate in the mix, who may bring a certain level of charisma to the overall film. As a whole, it's not a particularly exciting teaser however, barely managing to convey more than the chaos that is to come. That's what the trailer is supposed to do, but it doesn't really manage to have much that's exciting about it. It may be good, but it does little to excite in quite the same way that the Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer initially achieved. Oh well. Hopefully the full trailer does a better job.

- One Sentence Sell -

Tom Hardy is in a movie as the bad guy in the Spider-Man universe, and it's about time.

- Trove or Trash -

It's a fine trailer that at least acknowledges that the film exists, but it does little else to grab the viewer into thinking that it will be the exceptional, highly anticipated superhero movie that we've all been expecting. 

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