Warning: Unless you want to become infected with spoilers for Venom, come back once you’ve seen the movie.
It’s a simple question, but not all simple questions have simple answers. Sony’s Venom debuted in theaters this past weekend and while a sequel is likely, that doesn’t mean that everyone wants one. You may have hated the movie and still want a sequel, or you may have liked it but felt that once was enough. There are plenty of pros and cons to Venom getting a sequel so let’s take a look at the prospect from all angles before you answer.
If we just look at Venom based on the numbers, it seems pretty clear that the moviegoing public is answering in the affirmative that they want a Venom sequel. Venom broke an October record at the box office with an $80 million debut. That beat expectations, and makes a sequel all but inevitable. Clearly there is a great deal of interest in the character and in this movie. So Venom should get a sequel just based on the dollars and cents of it all; consumers voted with their wallet for this movie and it stands to reason they would do so for a sequel, as well.
However, a ticket purchase, especially on opening weekend, measures interest, not opinion. The box office shows that a lot of people wanted to see Venom, it does not tell us what they thought of the movie once they did. That is much more difficult to measure at scale. If we go by Rotten Tomatoes‘ controversial and unscientific audience score, which currently sits at 89%, moviegoers really liked what they saw in Ruben Fleischer’s film. That means that they would probably like to see a sequel.
Taking a look at CinemaScore, which is far more scientific but isn’t without its own drawbacks, we see that Venom got a B+. That rating isn’t terrible by any stretch, but it’s not amazing either and is the lowest among the big superhero movies this year. So audience opinion isn’t entirely clear and that will take time to get a better sense of, especially once we see what kind of drop-off Venom has at the box office in subsequent weeks. Therefore this doesn’t fall firmly in the pro or con list for a Venom sequel.
Audiences may have ranged in opinion on the film but the majority of critics did not. Venom sits at 31% on the Tomatometer. That’s pretty bad. It’s also 20% lower than The Amazing Spider-Man 2. That film is not looked back upon fondly and it essentially forced another reboot of Sony’s Spider-Man films (more for financial reasons, but still). Sony doesn’t have the best track record in this regard either. Both Spider-Man 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 were the worst reviewed entries in their respective series and both marked the end of those series. So if past is prologue, Venom 2 will not make things better from a quality perspective. That’s a big con against a Venom sequel.
The critical failures of Venom are no small thing, but they also aren’t necessarily a death sentence. Look at the Fast and Furious franchise. Those films eventually found their groove and now receive generally favorable reviews. Of course the other side of that coin is the Transformers franchise. The point is that just because Venom wasn’t good by some observers, doesn’t mean a sequel wouldn’t be. Not every MCU movie worked perfectly, but they worked enough and were successful enough to allow the universe to grow and improve and I think most of us are happy it did. A sequel to Venom provides an opportunity to fix what didn’t work in the first film and lean in to what did. It would be a shame to deny Venom that chance. That’s a pro.
These are all macro points, but most important is to look at the actual content of Venom to help us decide if we want a sequel. Venom is weird and silly and unique and unlike any other recent superhero film. That sort of variety is good for the genre, and more of it in the form of a sequel is reason to want one. A sequel would give us more funny banter between Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock and Venom and hopefully more for Oscar nominee Michelle Williams’ Anne Weying to do.
In theory, the most obvious reason to want a Venom sequel actually comes once the credits begin to roll. The end-credits scene teases a potential sequel, letting audiences know why they should be invested in the future of this universe. The scene introduces audiences to Woody Harrelson’s Cletus Kasady. This sets up the sequel to be a battle between the anti-hero Venom and the insane serial killer who becomes Carnage. So if you want to see the madness and violence of Carnage onscreen, then you probably want to see a Venom sequel. Although looking at that wig for two hours isn’t the most appealing prospect.
The other big component to a Venom sequel is that Venom does not exist in a vacuum. With Spider-Man currently thriving in the MCU, Venom is the launch character and seemingly the center point of Sony’s shared cinematic universe. He is what will theoretically tie a lot of these characters together in the absence of Spider-Man, for now at least. So a Venom sequel is an important next step to establishing this universe and growing it.
Beyond teasing a sequel, Venom didn’t do much world building. Venom 2 could tie in other characters that are getting their own spinoff films and introduce more that can branch out down the line. Whether you want to see that or not is up to you. It’s somewhat difficult to see how Black Cat or Morbius, as we imagine them to be, would fit in with this Venom. But if Venom was a one and done, we may never get to find out. It’s also worth noting that unlike the X-Men, Disney doesn’t look to be buying Sony anytime soon. Nor does it seem like Sony will be handing off creative on its Spider-Verse films to Marvel Studios. So if you want to see some of these characters onscreen, Sony’s Spider-Verse, spearheaded by Venom and its sequel, may be the only way to do so. Whether you like what you see is another story.
That’s the case for and against a Venom sequel as far as I can see it. So what do you think; were there points I missed? Now comes your turn to give a simple answer to a simple question.
Do you want to see a Venom sequel?