Venom Deserved to Be More Gay

Listen, you don’t need an introduction to Venom. From the second the trailer dropped online, the internet was aswarm with comments about how people wanted to fuck the titular symbiote. No big surprise. One doesn’t design a character with such a massive tongue and feign innocence, even if said tongue is attached a pile of sentient toxic sludge that sustains itself off of human flesh. “Monsterfuckers,” as the subsection of the internet dedicated to the romanticization of typically horrifying creatures is affectionately called, were on this like butter and toast. It was The Shape of Water all over again.

 

 

Father Guillermo, bless us, for we hath sinned.

 

Tensions only grew upon Venom’s release. The story is simple: Tom Hardy’s character, Eddie, is a down–and–out journalist who is trying to take down a major corporation when he’s “infected” by an alien creature called a symbiote. While symbiotes are technically genderless beings, Eddie’s symbiote takes on an incredibly deep male voice and refers to itself as Venom, occasionally covering Eddie’s body with its weird alien gunk to create an ultra–resistant supersuit. You know, just regular Marvel–universe stuff. The two are biologically bonded to one another so long as Venom chooses to remain living within Eddie’s body, and Venom is privy to Eddie’s every thought and emotion. Naturally, they grow close over the course of the movie, resulting in Venom’s decision to stay with Eddie and explore the planet at his side (or rather, inside, *badum tish*).

 

In fact, in many modern comic book adaptations of the two, they grow a little more than just “close.”

 

 

While I am more than open to discussion about the implications of fostering a gay relationship between characters commonly characterized as villians, many modern adaptations of Venom—including his titular movie—do not depict Eddie nor Venom as villainous. There very much seems to be a push to, at the very least, make the two anti–heroes of sorts whose close relationship is first built on mutual hurt and fear before transforming into something more powerful (read: cross-species love).

 

Many instances of Eddie’s relationship with Venom inside of the comic universe are subtle.

 

 

Some are not.

 

 

 

It was a mere day after its release where I heard the holy words for the first time: “Tom Hardy makes out with the symbiote.”

 

Well, like hell I’m not going to watch that on the big screen. You’re talking to someone who had to be talked down by their Her Campus editors to not write an article ranking different cryptids’ fuckability. Someone well–versed in the discourse surrounding the Shape of Water’s unofficial dildo. Someone who would go down to West Virginia just to slap the Mothman statue’s ass.

 

 

So imagine my shock, my sheer disappointment, when the famed scene came calling. I was three inches deep in my movie seat, stomach properly distended from buttered popcorn, icee and regrets, the movie theater empty save for me and my friends. I had laughed. I had cried. I had watched Venom call Eddie a pussy.

 

The context of the scene is that Eddie and Venom, who for most of the movie act as a single bonded unit, have been temporarily separated. Venom attaches himself to Eddie’s ex–fiancee and tells her (off camera) that the best way to “reintroduce” him to Eddie’s body is to let him take her over so he can kiss Eddie. Somehow, this will facilitate him entering Eddie again—even though it’s already been established that symbiotes are perfectly capable of jumping from host to host without any need of ceremony. The fiancee confirms this towards the end of the film, telling Eddie that “the kiss was his idea” in reference to her time with Venom. And since Venom has access to his host’s every thought, memory, and feeling, there’s absolutely no arguing that he didn’t understand the significance of a kiss.

 

On paper, this sounds great. You go to the movies, get a steamy homosexual alien make-out scene, you go home. Everyone wins.

 

Enter titty Venom.

 

 

Canonically, this creature is known as She-Venom, but let’s face it. Her design is essentially Venom with titties. She-Venom is the alias of Eddie’s ex-fiancee when bonded with the symbiote, which is only explored in the comics and not directly mentioned in the movie.

 

Except during the makeout scene. When Venom makes out with Eddie, it is in the form of a woman. It’s obvious that Venom has some form of control over the shape it assumes. It might look vaguely humanoid because of its host, but it also has massive muscles that Eddie clearly doesn’t. Eddie’s ex-fiancee feminine body isn’t heavily emphasized within her outfits in the movie, besides wearing some dresses now and again—so what’s up with this big–breasted, wispy female form?

 

 

The answer seems pretty obvious to me, and it exists outside of comic book lore—it was an attempt to make the movie still appealing to heterosexual folk in the audience. And that to me, as a queer monsterfucker, is incredibly disappointing. Hell, putting all of my stupid jokes aside, it’s sad to me just as someone in the LGBTQ+ community.

 

It’s incredibly difficult to disentangle the inherent queerness of Venom from his story. In the comics, he is considered mentally deranged by other members of his species because of his desire to bond with one being and remain with them for the rest of his natural life, whereas the other symbiotes want to bond with as many hosts as possible (I am also very open to the discussion of the villainization of polyamory, but that’s a conversation for another time). His dedication to Eddie through his words, action and pure will to keep him alive are very evident in most of his comic appearances. While Venom is not technically male, it’s hard to miss that he’s been coded as such, constantly being referenced to as a “he”—adding to the symbolic homosexuality of his very concept (and even if that weren’t the case, being in a relationship with a non–gendered being still sounds pretty queer to me!).

 

The movie doesn’t seem to explicitly shy away from this, either. When asked what changed his mind into staying on the planet Earth during the movie, Venom quickly responds, “you did, Eddie.” The two are seen playfully exchanging banter during the movie’s later scenes, much like a couple. When—spoilers—Venom is implied to be dead, the emotional framing of the scene is not unlike that seen in other relevant romantic-interest death scenes, like Steve Trevor’s death in Wonder Woman. And they both refer to themselves as a singular unit in one of Venom’s most well–known lines: “We are Venom.”

 

None of this is subtle. None of this is under the table. Letting these two characters show a physical, firm sign of their love for one another was still too much.

 

I’m tired of queer subtext existing as just that: subtext. It doesn’t matter if Venom isn’t meant to be the 2018 rom-com of the year, with Eddie and Venom holding hands and dancing into the sunset. Their romantic relationship deserved at least a mention, a recognition—a kiss.

 

I loved Venom. But it deserved to be more gay.

 

 

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