Why Tom Hardy will blow everyone away as Venom

After loaning Spider-Man out to join the Avengers at Marvel Studios, Sony is eager to get its own adjacent Marvel universe back on track with the other characters in its stable — and Tom Hardy is hoping to start things off right with Venom.

Hardy plays the big-screen version of Eddie Brock, who eventually becomes Venom, in Sony's first Spider-Man spinoff, which is slated to open October 5, 2018. Venom is directed by Ruben Fleischer, who proved he's got a solid knack for violent sci-fi with his breakout hit Zombieland

Making a Spider-Man movie that doesn't really focus on the wall-crawler is a tall order, but we believe Sony's found the right man for the job. Here's why Tom Hardy will blow everyone away as Venom.

He's done big sci-fi action

Hardy doesn't just bring name recognition to Venom, he also brings the chops to play big, sci-fi action. When the stars finally aligned for director George Miller to get Mad Max: Fury Road off the ground, he tapped Hardy to follow Mel Gibson in bringing Max to life. It was a tall order, but Hardy did a perfect job of capturing the quiet, action-packed intensity that made Max such a fan favorite character. The movie also featured some of the most ridiculously insane stunts ever attempted, so whatever Fleischer cooks up for Venom, Hardy should be prepared.

​He also knows how to be bad thanks to Bane

When you think of Hardy's résumé, his role as Bane in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises is likely one of the first to come to mind (especially for comics fans). Hardy joined the final installment in Nolan's Batman trilogy to play the classic DC baddie Bane, one of the most physical and menacing roles in comic movie history—a character who pushed the Dark Knight further than he's ever been pushed, and almost beat him in the end. We don't know exactly which direction they'll be taking this version of Venom, but it stands to reason he'll be somewhere between villain and anti-hero — so Hardy's experience as a straight-up comics baddie should come in handy.

He knows how to play nuance

Outside of his two biggest genre roles, Hardy has a varied career that should serve him well with whatever curveballs playing the character might call for. Hardy's had roles in everything from Sucker Punch to Inception, and took on period parts in films like Lawless and The Revenant. Heck, he's even gone the romantic comedy route in This Means War. More recently, he's been spreading his wings on the small screen in the critical hits Peaky Blinders and Taboo, and he reunited with Christopher Nolan for the acclaimed writer-director's hit World War II drama Dunkirk. Clearly, Hardy's ready for pretty much anything. 

He's big on comic book properties

He might not have been too familiar with the Batman comics beforehand, but after signing on to play Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, Hardy seems to have acquired an interest in tackling films that originate on the comics pages. After his Batman gig, Hardy signed up with New Line in 2015 to produce and likely star in an adaptation of DC's Vertigo title 100 Bullets. There hasn't been much news about that film since, and you do have to wonder how Hardy's deal with Sony might affect it at this point. But regardless, Hardy certainly seems interested in comics gigs. 

​He looks a lot like Eddie Brock

Going back to his comics origin, Eddie Brock was an athlete in his younger years—and he's typically portrayed with a big build and a short fuse. Hardy might just be 5'9", but judging by the character's typical portrayal in the comics, the actor certainly has the type of build that matches up with what comic fans would expect. 

The first Venom teaser trailer gave us a look at Hardy's version of Brock, and at least from an aesthetic standpoint, he seems to have nailed it. Hardy's rough and tumble vibe and muscular frame are a perfect match for the comics' take on the character. Also working in Hardy's favor: the only other live-action version of Eddie Brock we've ever seen came courtesy of That '70s Show alum Topher Grace in Spider-Man 3. Nothing against Grace, but it'd be hard for Hardy not to be an improvement.

Venom is a fascinating character

Venom has a long and varied history throughout the comics canon, and even if Spider-Man doesn't pop up in this film, there are more than enough great stories to mine. 

Eddie Brock has been portrayed has been a disgraced journalist, villain, anti-hero, villain again, and law enforcement officer. The first footage from the film makes it clear the story will be digging into Brock's mind, which should make for fascinating viewing. Over the past few years, the Venom symbiote has also hung out with Flash Thompson, who's served as the hero Agent Venom — and even served a stint with the Guardians of the Galaxy for a while. It's doubtful we'll see any of those stories here, since the focus is on Brock, but it's clear if Sony plays its cards right, there could be a long, dark future for Venom.

He's a great starting point for a shared universe

After the Amazing Spider-Man franchise crashed and burned, the pressure was really on Sony to get it right with the next go-round for its Spider-Man universe. Teaming up with Marvel Studios to hire Tom Holland for the rebooted Spider-Man franchise — and bringing him into the MCU for Captain America: Civil War — was a masterstroke, and Holland was even better making his solo debut in Spider-Man: Homecoming

Despite the MCU deal, Sony still thinks there's potential for a Spidey-based cinematic universe, and Venom marks the first step. If it goes well, it could just be the tip of the iceberg. The studio is also developing a script based on Black Cat and Silver Sable, and there are rumors that Kraven, Morbius and Mysterio could all be next on the list. But it all starts with Venom — and Hardy could be just the man to get it off the ground.

Venom is a psychological thriller

Fans had mixed reactions to the first Venom teaser, mostly because of the fact it didn't really show all that much Venom. Instead, the film is being framed as a psychological thriller that apparently deals with the fallout of mind-melding with a symbiote. It's an aspect of the story that's certainly been explored in the comics, but rarely on the big screen with any real depth. As Sony looks to differentiate its mini-Marvel universe, telling a smaller, more mature story could be the perfect approach to avoid the territory the Marvel Cinematic Universe has already staked out with its high-stakes blockbusters.

Stellar supporting cast

Hardy is an accomplished, talented actor in his own right — but Sony is doing him a big favor with the Venom supporting cast. He'll be joined by Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea), Riz Ahmed (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), Woody Harrelson (True Detective), and Jenny Slate (Gifted). It's a solid mix of established actors and talented up-and-comers, and it'll be interesting to see how they fill out the world around Hardy's Brock.

The man behind the mask

Anytime an actor signs on for a superhero movie, it's typically assumed they'll spend a decent bit of time behind a mask. From Iron Man, to Spider-Man, to Batman, most superhero movies have the flagship hero in a suit and mask for a decent bit of the runtime. Hardy pretty much never got out from behind his Bane mask in The Dark Knight Rises, but that doesn't look to be a concern in Venom. All the teaser footage showed Hardy playing Brock outside the Venom suit, and though we'll certainly see the suit in the full film, it looks like Hardy will have ample opportunity to shine when he isn't behind that toothy symbiote face.