I don’t know if the Venom movie, starring Tom Hardy, is going to be good. I hope it is. But I do know how it looks: like a weird, incoherent series orphan, vainly attempting to capitalise on the popularity of Spider-Man in a fictional universe where Spider-Man isn’t actually accessible as a character.
I found myself drawn to this fan trailer, by Billy Cramer, for the way it tries to unpack and modify that idea. It’s an attempt, in fan work, to repair a vision that seems missing. To do so, Cramer adds footage from a variety of other films, stitching together horror with action with, yes, a few glimpses of Spider-Man, to create a concept for Venom that works, illustrating a hypothetical version of the movie’s supposed Lethal Protector premise that functions as advertised.
That’s why I enjoy fan trailers. Trailers themselves are perfect little documents of a film that doesn’t exist, an advertising trick that pulls together all the best, most interesting moments of a movie to make the audience eager to see a version of the movie that doesn’t really exist outside of that trailer. That trick works, so we go see the movie, or we accept that it’s a trick but still hope the real thing will be worthwhile. Fan trailers, meanwhile, at their best use that trick as a means of storytelling and commentary. Trailers are always about movies that don’t exist, they say. Well, what about this one? Wouldn’t that be cool?
In the case of this Venom trailer, yeah, I think it would.