Instead, we get just under two minutes of generic action movie shots, with cars exploding, people running, and Tom Hardy growling in a voiceover about how people have “our own demons.” Don’t get me wrong, those are all fine things to put in a movie trailer.
But Venom is a superhero movie, which means that, at some point, audiences may have the odd expectation of actually seeing the character the movie is named after. The way iconic comic book characters make the jump from the pages of a comic to real-life designs is often one of the biggest draws of seeing these sorts of films. So, not getting to see what Venom looks like (especially after the lackluster cinematic version in 2007’s Spider-Man 3) is a bit of a letdown.
Seriously, there’s not even a quick tease or jump-scare or over-the-shoulder shot or anything! Take out the title card, and this could quite literally be a trailer for almost any action movie on the planet. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Skyscraper may be generic summer popcorn fodder, but at least there was a skyscraper in the trailer.
Plus, Sony desperately needs Venom to go well. The company’s past few Spider-Man franchise films were terrible; the company eventually canned the Andrew Garfield-led Amazing Spider-Man series and returned sheepishly to Marvel Studios to reboot the character as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe — for the third time in a decade — with actor Tom Holland. Now, Sony is trying to make a Spider-Man movie series without Spider-Man by launching a film led by a character who is basically defined by his relationship with Spider-Man. And the best the studio can do is show Tom Hardy in an MRI machine for two minutes?
Look, I’m not saying that Sony should spoil the entire movie in the trailer. The studio has actually shown uncharacteristic restraint by not revealing details of the movie. But there’s a difference between being coy about spoilers and failing to build up excitement for your film. Venom is decidedly the second one.
As an aside, Venom is also more commonly depicted as a supervillian, not a hero. Sony’s description calls him a “lethal protector” — which seems a bit of a stretch — but we’ll see, I guess. Because the superhero genre definitely needs another brooding antihero who struggles with his literal (and metaphoric) demons.
Venom is set to hit theaters on October 5th. Hopefully Sony will have finished the effects work on the title character by then.