VENOM 07' vs. VENOM 18'
As the Sony pictures’ Venom hype comes to a close there is one last thing that needs to be addressed and that is who was the better Venom, the 2007 version played by Topher Grace in Spider-Man 3 or the 2018 version played by Tom Hardy in Venom? Now in order to make a fair assessment, the following aspects will be observed to make a sound judgement: Origin Story, Abilities, Costume, Personality and Relationship with the Host(s). Let’s get into it.
Venom 2007: The symbiote that eventually became Venom originated from outer space in a small meteor. Spider-Man 3 doesn’t confirm if the symbiote came to earth of its own free will, however, moments after it landed it immediately makes its way to Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Not long into the movie the symbiote bonds with Peter giving him his black suit. Paralleling various comic books and tv shows the black suit enhances Spider-Man’s powers while corrupting his mind. The symbiote soon turns Peter into a selfish, arrogant and violent jerk and realizing this, Peter goes on the offensive by going to the famed church to remove the alien parasite. Unknown to him, Eddie Brock who at the time was praying to God to kill Peter (yeah because that’s how praying works) sees Peter remove the suit only for the symbiote to come down and bond to Eddie forming Venom.
Venom 2018: Just like the 2007 version, the symbiote came from outer space only this time the Life Foundation had a part in bringing the symbiote to Earth. When Eddie breaks into the Life Foundation lab to find out more about the deaths taking place in San Francisco, the symbiote bonds with him. When the Life Foundation goes after Eddie to get the symbiote back, they run away and just as Eddie is about to be killed the symbiote saves Eddie and covers over him to form Venom.
Winner - Venom 2018: Venom’s appearance in the 2018 version comes out of a need to protect himself and Eddie rather than random events. I always ask myself ‘what if the symbiote landed in a different part of the earth?, would the symbiote traveled the globe to find Peter and what if Peter and Brock weren’t in the same place when Peter removed it? Would the symbiote have bonded with a different host besides Eddie and would Eddie still be spending his days wishing for Peter’s death? That would have been a lame way to end Spider-Man 3?
Venom 2007: Venom 2007 was a more powerful version of Spider-Man having all of Peter’s abilities including his own webbing.
Venom 2018: Venom 2018 has the same abilities as 2007, but he also has the ability to form weapons and hold a conversation. Even when not covering Eddie completely, Eddie can still interact with the symbiote. This is best shown during the chase scene when the symbiote helps Eddie escape from the mercenaries and the wise cracking comments brought on by the symbiote itself.
Winner - Venom 2018: We get more variety with this Venom. The 2018 Venom doesn’t have Spider-Man to take powers from and Venom’s abilities feel more natural. In the end of the 2007 version, if it wasn’t for the symbiote bonding with Peter first, Venom would have never been the threat it became towards the end of Spider-Man 3.
Venom 2007: After Peter removes the alien from him and it attaches itself to Eddie. The result is Eddie donning the black suit previously worn by Peter with some modifications due to the anger the symbiote felt towards Peter along with Eddie’s rage. The resultant suit now comes with claws and fangs as a representation of the symbiote’s true nature as a monster.
Venom 2018: The most noticeable aspect of this Venom is his very large size. Similar to the 2007 version, 2018 Venom also has claws, fangs and a very long tongue. The suit looks more alien in appearance as well. One thing I also observed about the suit was how it was moving more like a liquid and I found that very fitting because when its not attached to a host, the symbiote looks like slime. Since this Venom doesn’t have Spider-Man to draw inspiration from, the costume feels more natural.
Winner - Venom 2007: Yes, the 2018 Venom stays true to Venom’s size but bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better. It’s true when Venom is towering over his victims his height does dial up the intimidation factor, but one could argue it’s also due to Venom’s general appearance and eerie voice. The Venom 2007 costume is the result of both the symbiote and Eddie’s mutual hatred for Peter/Spiderman and the result is a dark variation to Spider-Man’s original suit. Venom in Spiderman 3 mirrors all of Spider-Man’s dark tendencies. In the end Venom in Spiderman 3 is what Peter would have been if Peter never removed the symbiote.
Venom 2007: If there’s one word that best describes the 2007 Venom that word would be revenge. Venom’s only purpose was to kill Peter Parker for rejecting it and uses Eddie’s hatred of Spider-Man for ruining his life as a means to fuel that goal. The symbiote is almost like a jealous boyfriend/girlfriend using someone to get back at their ex. Besides that, there is really nothing that stands out about this Venom’s personality. In the end, 2007 Venom feels one dimensional.
Venom 2018: This Venom is more comedic while still being bloodthirsty and savage. We get a frightening new Venom, especially when he is towering over people ready to eat them, but we also get a more comedic and grounded Venom this time around. This Venom isn’t above making jokes with his host and others. Furthermore, his constant food cravings make the alien more grounded as an individual and fun to watch.
Winner - Venom 2018: Personality wise, Venom 2018 is more than a bloodthirsty monster fueled by rage and revenge. Yes, Venom 2018 is still scary, but he also funny and can hold a conversation with Eddie. The discussions between Eddie and the symbiote gives us an idea of what kind of creature the symbiote is and how it thinks. For instance we learn that the symbiote is actually a loser and outcast among it’s own race and that he is actually lonely. This shows us that deep down, the symbiote desires acceptance from it’s host not just for survival, but for a sincere relationship which it finds with Eddie. Why else would the symbiote risk itself for Eddie during the final battle against Riot?
Relationship with Host(s)
Venom 2007: It’s never clear whether the 2007 symbiote needs to bond to a certain host to survive, but it’s clear that the symbiote does corrupt its host, whoever is unfortunate enough to bond to it. The symbiote corrupts both Peter and Eddie to the point that Peter treats everyone around him with discontent and to the point he hurts the people that mean the most to him. In the case with Eddie, while Eddie was already kind of an asshole the symbiote dials it up a notch. The symbiote turns Eddie to a complete monster. Even when Peter tries to warn Eddie about the alien he ignores the warning and even admits he enjoys his villainy and deplorable actions.
Venom 2018: Like the 2007 symbiote, it needs a host to survive, but the 2018 version makes it clear that the symbiote needs to bond to a ‘particular’ host to survive. If the symbiote attaches itself to a non-compatible host, the symbiote rejects the host and the host dies instantly. Just like its 2007 counterpart, it’s clear that the symbiote is in control and poor Eddie is scared out of his mind about the events that are happening around him. However, unlike 2007 Venom, 2018 seems more willing to work with its host instead of using its host. In addition, while the 2007 Venom robs its host of their free will, the 2018 symbiote allows Eddie to make his own decisions at times while forming a buddy friendship with Eddie.
Winner - Venom 2018: This time around we have a much more dimensional Venom and Eddie Brock. Eddie Brock is unable to grasp the situation, but the symbiote guides him through the ordeal, it even risks its life for him. The symbiote also helps Eddie with his personal life with Anne Weying, played by Michelle Williams. The 2007 symbiote only saw Eddie as a host and when Eddie ran towards it as Peter threw a pumpkin bomb at him the symbiote didn’t do anything to prevent Eddie’s death. By the end of Venom, it’s clear Eddie and the symbiote have become much more than partners, they almost became, in someway friends.
You have to respect where it all began though, which is why 2007 Venom deserves some recognition here. Whether you prefer the 2007 Venom or 2018 Venom, if it wasn’t for the earlier success of the first set of Spider-Man films, Venom 2018 probably wouldn’t of been a box office success. In addition, whether Venom is playing the villain or anti-hero he still has that killer instinct that readers and viewers love to see. And while the 2007 Venom was a PG-13 killer, the 2018 Venom lived to the Rated ‘R’ version by killing, biting off heads and staying true to the comic book version in terms of design, abilities, and personality. In my opinion, the 2018 Venom movie did a better job introducing both Eddie and symbiote as individuals before combining them into one. I declare the winner to be Venom 2018.