50 Shades of Venom: ‘Grey’ Screenwriter Pens Latest Version of Sony’s Non-Canonical Spider-Man Spinoff

Believe it or not, I wanted to like this movie.  I really did.  Venom is one of the most iconic villains of who is hands-down my favorite superhero.  His solo and non-Spidey team-ups in the comics — especially the version that’s currently flying around with the Guardians of the Galaxy — have somehow proven even better than him starring opposite Peter Parker.  And, my god, Tom Hardy was the perfect choice to bring this character to life on screen.

Sony, however, seems completely incapable of making this production anything other than the farce that it has become.  They repeated botched their answer on whether or not this would be part of the celebrated Marvel Cinematic Universe (it’s not, by the way), have endlessly delayed the start of its production and have tied it hopelessly to their increasingly doomed-to-fail Spider-Man-less Spider-Man cinematic universe.

Nothing has been more discouraging than the direction that they evidently decided to take the script.  Absent Peter Parker to explain the Symbiote’s presence on Earth — or, really, his motivation to do anything even remotely interesting —  they decided to make the film a sequel to Life: an unrelated send-up to Alien that released earlier this year and, by all accounts, has absolutely no connection to the Marvel character at the heart of this movie.

That may no longer be the studio’s plan, however, judging by the writer that they’ve just signed on to hammer out the most recent draft of the script.  For this task, they turned to none other than Kelly Marcel, the woman who notoriously wrote the script for Fifty Shades of Grey.

I imagine that you are as confused as I am at this point.  This movie is already in trouble: with entire drafts of the script that clearly have nothing to do with the title character and a studio that has tried — and failed — to get a Venom solo movie off the ground since Spider-Man 3 killed their initial Spidey franchise.  They needed a steady hand to direct the beleaguered project safely through its pre-production crisis: somebody who had made this kind of film before, who knew their way around this action-packed genre.

The woman majorly responsible for Fifty Shades of Grey is not that person.  She has no experience with the genre and clearly no aptitude for telling a compelling story.  Granted, Grey wasn’t much to work with from the word go, but Marcel hardly did it any favors when tasked with coming up with something even close to filmable (doubles one reason why she was not recalled for its sequel, Fifty Shades Darker).  Even her supposedly “better work” — like Saving Mr. Banks and Terra Nova — doesn’t inspire much confidence for her ability to write a compelling action scene, develop character motivation or stitch together a usable line of dialog.

The version of Venom that we are eventually subjected to in theaters can hardly be blamed on Marcel’s script.  Some form of this film has been shortsightedly rushed into various states of production and unthinkingly worked on for the better part of a decade at this point.  Sony’s decision to bring on this clearly unsuited talent for the task at hand, however, is par for the course for this woefully managed project that I have long since given up hope of being good.

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