Even as someone who loves Marvel movies and goes to them on opening weekend, I have to admit that they have a look, feel, and sound. With few exceptions – Guardians of the Galaxy being the prime example – you can tell these movies are being helped along by someone at the top. In Marvel’s case, that’s Kevin Feige. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s definitely a thing. With Spider-Man: Homecoming now in theaters and objectively successful, Sony is looking to universify the web-crawler’s world, but the company says it wants to do something a bit different, reports Variety.
Venom, set to star Tom Hardy and under the directorship of Reuben Fleischer, will pull from the work of John Carpenter and David Cronenberg for inspiration and function more like a horror film than a superhero movie. Those two directors, of course, are masters of body horror, demonstrated in movies like Videodrome, The Fly, and The Thing, are masters of a certain kind of grotesque body horror. Silver & Black, featuring Spidey characters Silver Sable and Black Cat, is the story of “two damaged women who are at war with each other, but need each other to survive,” said director Gina Prince-Bythewood, who likens that film to buddy movies like Thelma & Louise and Midnight Run.
Superhero movies aren’t just superhero movies anymore
“Superhero movies have now transcended [the point] where they’re no longer superhero movies per se; they’re essentially genre movies,” said Columbia Pictures president Sanford Panitch. “It’s not so much that characters have a cape and fly. In Silver & Black these two women are modern and cool. They may wear costumes, but [they’re] very real and very grounded.”
Instead of giving the movies an overall look and feel, Panitch says Sony’s mission is “only to do what’s absolute best for each individual property,” and that he wants to “honor the original DNA.” Each picture, he said, will have a distinctive style, which includes things like R-rated flicks and low-budget movies.
That’s pretty optimistic. If Sony can actually pull it off, then the Spidey-verse might have a chance at doing something interesting. But we’ve heard this before. As BirthMoviesDeath notes, that sounds a lot like DC and Warner Bros. a few years ago, when the studio said that its movies would be director-led. Since then, we’ve seen some very similar-looking movies come out of Warner Bros. in Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and, to a large degree, even the much-improved Wonder Woman. The Flash was originally under the supervision of Dope director Rick Famuyiwa, but creative differences between the studio forced him out and has left the movie directorless for some time. That doesn’t sound very director-led.
Sony is biting off a big chunk of meat here, and we’ll know in the next few years if its eyes were bigger than its jaws. But let’s dream about that Cronenberg/Carpenter-inspired Venom movie. That sounds amazing.