Why The Spider-Man Villain Origin Stories Are So Bland

Credit: Venom

Sony Has Been Trying To Expand The Spider-Man Universe For Decades

For a good while, Sony was riding high thanks to Tom Holland’s Spider-Man. Ever since his introduction into the MCU back in Captain America: Civil War, the latest rebooted Spider-Man has been a massive hit with mainstream audiences. Two of the films in the franchise have made over $1 billion: Spider-Man: Far from Home and Spider-Man: No Way Home. To be fair, the Spider-Man franchise has always been the company’s bread and butter. Sure, not every version has been a huge success, but the property is a hot commodity regardless.

Now, Sony has been trying to build a Spider-Man universe for decades. There were whispers around Spider-Man 3 about a Sinister Six film, but that never happened. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was essentially a building block to a Sinister Six feature, and that film ultimately bombed. However, the success of the Tom Holland reboot has allowed Sony to flex their muscles and expand the universe.

Credit: Venom

Morbius and Venom Feel As If They Came Out In The Wrong Time Period

That expansion first came with Venom. Tom Hardy is a great actor. However, when I look at the Oscar nominee, I don’t see him as the perfect fit for Eddie Brock. Nevertheless, Hardy makes it work, and his dynamic with Venom is fun more often than not. The problem is that the film is so focused on making Venom an anti-hero that they strip away the more interesting parts about the alien character. Venom is supposed to be a demonic alien obsessed with hurting Spider-Man. The lack of Spider-Man is the first problem. The second is not exploring the dangerous alien nature of the character that makes him fascinating in the first place. Venom: Let There Be Carnage wasn’t any better.

The same thing can be said about Morbius. It’s a generic telling of a story that feels it should’ve come out in the early 2000s. It feels as if Sony is too afraid to go too villainous or dark with these characters. And I get it. Just like heroes, villains should be crafted as multi-layered human beings. However, Joker manages to nicely tell a character-driven story that stays true to the origins of the classic DC villain. The crazy thing is that Todd Philips didn’t base the story on any of the comic books!

Credit: Venom

Why Not Truly Explore The Uniqueness Of Their Characters

Morbius and Venom are so bland because it’s not their story. Both films felt as if they were put in an early 2000s superhero machine generator. While some moments are true to their characters, there’s nothing unique about their stories in the live-action films. In the comics, these characters are so layered and nuanced with or without Spider-Man.

Why not explore the reason the symbiote crashed on Earth? There’s a very interesting backstory about how the venom symbiote was exiled from his planet. Or even dive deeper into the symbiote feeding into Eddie Brock’s urges. Unfortunately, the lack of Spider-Man doesn’t give Brock much purpose, as Brock’s hatred is the reason he turns evil. If you’re not going to have Spider-Man in the film then explore another avenue that makes Brock go from good to bad. Eddie felt in control of the situation, whereas Venom should’ve been steering the ship in their relationship.

Morbius is a vampire; why isn’t this more of a horror-based film? I’m not saying that Morbius should’ve been slaughtering people left and right, but there weren’t any storytelling risks with such a unique character. Sony is carving out a Spider-Man universe in the wrong manner because most of these villains need a hero like Spider-Man to bring out their true character. Can they stand alone in a feature film? Yes! But the reason these films feel that they desperately need Spider-Man is due to the fact that they’re just not compelling enough without him. Hopefully, that changes with the upcoming Kraven the Hunter film.

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