I don’t know why I have them. So far, I’ve really loved these Spider-Man movies. And it isn’t like I’ve got any doubt that this one will be good: I think that’s probably a lock. So why the apprehension? Maybe it’s because I don’t like Venom. Maybe it’s because Venom has already been done to death five million times under every conceivable condition, whether restarted, rebooted, reimagined, or just plain reheated. Maybe it’s because I associate Venom with the beginning of the long, slow slide into the latter-day excessively-laboured high-concept circle-jerk Spidey that I disliked so much.
(I should have something more to say on that shortly, after I let Tom’s recent thoughts percolate in my head a bit…honestly, Tom, I’m almost back! Just five more minutes!)
Or maybe it’s because I guess I figure that in order to even make Venom worth doing, it’ll have to be yet another amping-up of the basic thing that Venom’s all about, and I ask myself: do I need that? Because Venom also constructs Peter Parker, obviously…and even if I understand why that story would be rightly considered to have a fair amount of snap in movie form, I’ve seen that construction process so many times that I don’t know if I’ve got the patience to sit through it again. Venom just tires me, at this point. “Spider-Man No More” has been done fewer times than the whole Venom bit now, you know? And why oh why couldn’t it have been the Lizard and the Sandman and the Green Goblin? Why couldn’t John Jameson just have gone all nutso from space spores, or something?
I wish for the moon, clearly. It’s got to be Venom. People (not me!) really like Venom, and want to see him: they don’t mind sitting around while the Mouse Trap is set up. I’m a whiner. A worry-wart. A despoiler of harmless fun.
And Venom works. You can build a story around him that gets you to the right place, cinematically. It’s all there in the commercial: interlocking revenges that decapitate happiness, a lost ring and a lost promise, the allusion to a necessary sacrifice…all very nice and neat, really. So…why…yes. Tough question.
That I don’t know the answer to. Possibly it’s just that I sense the hand of editorial/directorial fate hovering over this Spider-Man, all Damocletian-like, in a way that a non-comics guy wouldn’t, and so I’m getting a double message. Which boils down to: hey, maybe it’s just that Marvel comics are so eager to be movies these days, maybe it’s deja vu, but Good God, don’t you think May Parker’s odds of getting out of this in one piece might be a little, y’know, not too good? I mean obviously I could be wrong about that. Maybe I’m picking up telegraph signals that aren’t really there. I could be.
Not that I’m saying I’m making them up…
Yes, because when Venom shows up you know things are mandated to get really bad, not just run-of-the-mill bad…I mean why else is he the last Boss in the Spider-Man game? Eh? There are expectations there, too, that need fulfilling…but then again, why should I even be perturbed by the idea that there might be a little genuine life-and-death tension in this installment of the excellent Spidey movies, whether it’s mandated or not? Oh, hell…well, you know, isn’t it always that same stupid life-or-death tension with goddamn Venom, isn’t that kind of my point? And isn’t it always that same stupid life-or-death tension with Peter Parker these days in general? He really is pretty poignant. But this poignancy is becoming a poison, a poison that the dose makes. In Amazing Fantasy #15, Peter’s life isn’t too enviable. In USM#1, though, it is hell. And I won’t even get into JMS’ junior Molten Man stuff, let alone The Other (remember that?) but really…gosh. Keep your spider-powers, I don’t want ’em. They cost too much. I can’t identify with that anymore. You’re going through stuff now that I don’t even have a name for, it’s so damn poignant. Ask me to be interested, ask me to be excited, ask me to hold my breath and bite my nails and fall out of my chair from shock at your cleverness, but just stop asking me to feel, damn it! I’ll feel when I’m damn good and ready!
And another thing: get off my lawn!
If it was the Lizard, I don’t think I’d mind so much. I like the Lizard. Just about everyplace you can get to with Venom, you can get to with the Lizard just as well, if not better. In my opinion. Then again, I grew up with the Lizard, so no wonder I think that. I hated Secret Wars, too. I think the Punisher is kind of boring. I miss Mike Murdock and Karen Page. In short, I’m just an all-round old geezer fan who isn’t willing to let the young people have their own things, is what it is. And I swear, if you kids hit that ball into my yard one more time…!
Yup, that’s it. I just don’t like Venom. I’m bloody sick of all things Venom. Of course, that’s what I said before the USM crew did their Venom story, too, and look how good that was! Very pleasantly surprising.
Grumble. Now if they make me eat my words again, then I’ll really be pissed…