Venom 2 Needs To Embrace The ‘Symbrock’ Romance

Venom 2 needs to fully embrace the romantic relationship between Eddie Brock and Venom like its fans have. Rule 34 is an unofficial internet law that dictates a simple truth: if it exists, there will be porn of it. The topic is inconsequential because the internet can make anything, everything and everyone sexy. Rule 34 is a big part of fandom and fan fiction, often to the point of absurdity, but it demonstrates of fans can find the subtext in undiscovered ways for creative potential. There will always be fandom trends and favorite relationships that become the stuff of fanfiction fuel for years to come. Now, the big trend on Tumblr, a home of sorts to fandom activity, is centered on Venom.

Sony’s latest attempt to craft an expanded superhero universe based on the world of Spider-Man opened to tepid reviews but has become a commercial success, all but cementing the development of a sequel. While Venom‘s mid-credits scene offers Woody Harrelson’s Carnage as the main hook for a second film, the true appeal of future installments lies with Eddie Brock and his relationship with the Symbiote that he is bound to.

Related: Venom Was A Massive Box Office Success

Fans may call it Symbrock and jokes may be made about their romance, but this dynamic is and always has been the most fascinating thing in the Venom narrative. Eddie and Venom’s mind-bending and often deeply co-dependent relationship is frequently compared to a romance in the comics, and recently, the pair even had a baby Symbiote together. It’s no wonder fans are happy to lean into the sexual subtext between the two, but it would also be worthwhile for director Reuben Fleischer and Tom Hardy to wholeheartedly embrace that in Venom 2, especially since they seemed happy to play around with the dynamic in the first movie.

Eddie and Venom’s Dynamic Was the Highlight of Venom

Venom was advertised as an origin story in the vein of its comic book movie contemporaries but it best succeeds on its own terms, primarily as a bizarre buddy comedy that happens to have a sci-fi action slant. All of the best scenes in the film center on Eddie Brock (played by Tom Hardy with absolute gusto) and Venom (also voiced by Hardy) as they try to come to terms with one another. Their pseudo-slapstick dynamic melds together well with their blossoming friendship and by the end of the film, Venom is halfway between being Eddie’s life coach and his significant other. It’s primarily played for laughs – and Venom is much more intentionally funny than it’s given credit for – but it’s also a psychological quandary that proves fertile ground for storytellers and fans alike.

The Eddie/Venom dynamic of the comics tends to skew darker in tone, delving into the mental impact and co-dependent forces that keep them together, even when it’s bad for both of them. Venom goes goofier than that, in part because a PG-13 film intended for wide audiences probably wouldn’t be able to penetrate those layers of emotional strife. Instead, the film plays around with the inherent silliness of its concept and the limb-flailing slapstick that would occur if you found yourself taken over by a bossy alien parasite with a point to prove. It’s in these moments, including the now-infamous lobster tank dive, where Tom Hardy is clearly having the most fun with the story and the character(s). He has genuine chemistry with the CGI blob voiced by himself and the interpretation of Eddie and Venom both being losers who find each other and become two halves of the same whole is endlessly fun to watch.

Eddie And Venom’s ‘Romance’ Is Canon In The Comics

While Venom has had other hosts during his long run in the comics, the bond formed with Eddie Brock has stood as one of the Spider-Man universe’s most enduring and fascinating relationships. The Symbiote originally bonded with Peter Parker, but he found the power that came with Venom to be a poisonous force that he rejected. For Eddie, the power was more intoxicating, in part fuelled by the pair’s mutual hatred towards Peter (Brock’s story starts in the comics when he loses his job as a reporter at the Daily Globe when he messed up a major story, which he blamed on Spider-Man). While Venom would later find other hosts – including Flash Thompson – he always seems to return to Eddie.

Related: Venom Erases Spider-Man To Avoid Marvel Mistakes

The most recent run of Venom stories in the comics leaned much harder on the relationship dynamic. Eddie frequently refers to Venom as his “love” and Venom is openly determined to defend Eddie against the world. Eddie calls their situation a relationship multiple times, and the mental strain their connection causes effects them both. As already noted, they even have a child together.

Page 2: How Venom 2 Can Do Symbrock Justice

How Venom 2 Can Incorporate Symbrock

It’s unlikely Venom 2 will go completely psychosexual with the Eddie/Brock relationship. This franchise, like the MCU, is tied to the PG-13 rating in order to appeal to the biggest audiences possible (as well as to allow for potential future cross-overs with Marvel Studios). However, that shouldn’t mean there’s no room for the franchise to explore the relationship in ways that go beyond jokey subtext. The first film works best as a buddy comedy so the sequel can build on that foundation and take the dynamic to the next step.

The emotional and psychological journey that binds Eddie and Venom together is the sort of dynamic that we haven’t really seen explored in the current era of superhero cinema. Sam Raimi’s version of the characters, as seen in Spider-Man 3, proved uncompelling and wasted a lot of its potential. The marketing for Venom leaned heavily on an anti-hero angle the film didn’t end up tackling, but a sequel would give more breathing room to the relationship and how it tears the pair between good deeds and bad. Now that the origin story has been dealt with, the complexities of the pairing can be properly explored, and the comedic elements can bleed more into the serious mental strain of Symbrock.

Sony wish to differentiate their franchise from their major competitors in part because many still feel that a Spider-Man villain universe must justify its own existence. It’s not enough to replicate the format or style of the MCU or DCEU because then the studio risk questions over what uniqueness they can bring to the table. The parts of Venom that don’t work are those that are there seemingly to give the franchise freedom to join the MCU should the possibility occur.

Related: Venom Can Still Fit Into The MCU (If Marvel Wants It)

Yet Venom offers the Spider-verse something nobody else is doing with the Symbrock relationship. As evidenced by Tumblr, this is exactly the kind of thing fans like and they’re rushing to it because nobody else in blockbuster filmmaking is doing it. The power dynamics alone are worthy of exploration, with the strange dominant-submissive co-dependence of the pair offering a multitude of creative possibilities. The relationship could also take a stranger turn in the sequel if the film chooses to follow up on the She-Venom hints. The almost-threesome kiss between Eddie, Venom and Anne Weying in the movie is one of the reasons Symbrock is so beloved in fandom now.

It’s unlikely Sony or any major studio would delve into the psychosexual queerness of Venom and Eddie’s relationship in the way the comic books do. It’s just too weird and too adult for any PG-13 family-friendly franchise to delve into. However, there’s no reason Sony can’t embrace the fandom excitement around the pair and give it more screen-time in the sequel. It wouldn’t just be good business: It would be great storytelling with its roots in the source material.

Venom is weird and the films should embrace that. This isn’t just fandom fantasies. Venom 2 could make a lot of fans happy if Eddie and Brock get their twisted happy ever after.

NEXT: Venom 2 Will Have To Change Carnage’s Origin

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