Insomniac’s Venom Sets A High Bar For Future Venom Adaptations

The greatest adaptation of Venom, ever.

I grew up with the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man movies, and when I watched Spider-Man 3 for the first time, I instantly fell in love with the final antagonist, Venom.

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Of course, looking back now, that iteration of Venom wasn’t the best, but nonetheless, Venom as a character became one of my favorite villains of all time.

So when I saw Venom announced as the main antagonist for Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 on PlayStation 5, I knew I had to play it. Little did I know that this iteration of Venom would become my favorite version of all time.

How to Beat Venom in Spider-Man 2
Image Source: Insomniac Games via Twinfinite

There are a number of things that Insomniac did right with Venom, but the most important thing was keeping true to his innate nature. Venom is a villain, and while many adaptations have tried making him an Anti-Hero or something he’s not, Insomniac stayed true to his comic version and kept him as a devious evil-doer.

Every cutscene he appears in depicts him as this giant, scary, powerful, and menacing creature that could rip you apart easily. His voice perfectly encapsulates the monstrous, yet hyper-intelligent personality of the alien hivemind.

As soon as he’s finally revealed in the game, you’re also given the opportunity to play as him and really feel how powerful he is first-hand, and I can confidently speak for everyone when I say it was a very welcome experience. You go from playing as Spider-Man — this normal-sized man with superpowers and a code not to kill people — to Venom, who’s out here biting people’s heads off and breaking their backs.

Selling this further is the fact that you immediately hop into a boss battle with the other primary antagonist, Kraven, and proceed to rip him apart. After hours of feeling overwhelmed and barely on par with the illustrious hunter, Kraven is proven to be a pushover and a joke compared to the oozing black goliath. While it was for a brief period of time, the one mission we got to play as Venom will always be in my heart.

All of this is even followed up perfectly. After the mission where you play as him, Venom doesn’t go to hunt down the Spider-Men immediately, but instead proves his intelligence by building an army of Symbiotes to help him. Previous iterations of Venom would depict him as this kill-hungry creature with no motive or will to do anything but hunt Spider-Man. Now, taking inspiration from an older Spider-Man game, Web of Shadows, Venom turns other people into Symbiotes and plans to do the same with the web-slinger so he can take over the world.

Spider-Man 2 Final Boss Fight
Image Source: Insomniac Games via Twinfinite

It’s hard to judge Venom in older Spider-Man games based on how old they are (Web of Shadows is a 2008 game!), but recent iterations such as the movie version, depict him as an Anti-Hero. Some iterations of Venom as an Anti-Hero have worked, and others haven’t because it strays too far from Venom’s true character as a maniacal monster. It’s like turning Captain America into a villain: the idea is cool in specific scenarios, but it doesn’t feel right because that’s not who he truly is.

This is especially apparent in the recent film Venom: Let There Be Carnage. Marvel’s comedic hand turns Venom into what was once a mysterious and sometimes funny character from the first movie into a full-on comedian in the second. It doesn’t feel right to watch what was once a scary and menacing villain from your childhood turn comedic relief character years later.

This makes Insomniac’s take on the character all the more impressive. They proved that you can make an exceptional version of the character without resorting to gimmicks, and by sticking to the source material while adding some twists here and there a la Harry being the host of the parasitic extraterrestrial instead of Eddie Brock.

Really, the only downside of the studio’s take on the villain is how high the bar is for both the films and future games now. Any and all future adaptations of the character will need to break the ceiling to overcome the success of Insomniac’s take.

But honestly, that’s far from the worst problem to have. Venom finally has a strong portrayal outside of the comics, and I can’t wait to see what new heights other mediums can reach in their takes on the character thanks to Spider-Man 2.


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Author
Joe Thomaselli
A fresh college graduate with a passion for Destiny 2, Joe has only been writing professionally for a short time. That doesn't stop him from covering everything regarding the looter shooter, and more.