Rating: 4/5 stars
Screenshot taken from Official Trailer
Written by Wan Phing Lim, Malaysia
“I am Venom and you are mine. You didn’t choose me, I chose you.”
Sounds like an eerily familiar verse from the Bible? Venom, the latest supervillain to hit the big screens as a standalone movie, is a Marvel blockbuster with all the science, superpower and alien species invasion from space.
The Brock/Venom Hybrid
Released on 5 October 2018 in the US, Venom tells the story of down-and-out reporter Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), who loses his job and ex-fiancée after exposing trade secrets of The Life Foundation. The foundation is a bio-engineering company headed by scientific genius Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) who is secretly running human trials to merge with an alien life-form, the symbiote. During a break-in to the facility, Brock is attacked by a symbiote and gains superpowers. The symbiote starts speaking to Brock, introducing itself as Venom, and the two work together to bring down a more evil symbiote known as Riot, which later takes over Drake’s body.
Voiced by Tom Hardy himself, the Brock/Venom “hybrid” is an amusing character to watch. There’s wit and humor going on between man and monster as they seek to share a body and make space for each other. “If you want to stay, we can only hurt bad people,” says Brock. But Venom’s reply is: “The way I see it, we can do whatever we want. Do we have a deal?” In another scene, Venom threatens Brock to “cooperate and you might just survive”.
But over the course of the film, we see that Venom has a softer side. He gets upset when he is labelled “a parasite”, and even changes his mind to invade Earth, choosing instead to help Brock and save humankind from Riot’s destruction.
The movie is slow at the start, taking 45 minutes to reach the climax where Venom invades Brock, but it’s also not as dark and menacing as the trailer portrays. It’s fun, quirky, fast-paced (after the 45th minute, that is) and action-packed as with any Marvel superhero film.
Symbiosis and A New Race
The Brock/Venom character has much to teach Christians about the concept of symbiosis and becoming a new race. In the movie, Drake races against time to create a super-race that can sustain humanity, whose careless lifestyles are destroying earth’s resources by the day. His human experiments have failed countless times, that is, until Venom achieves perfect symbiosis with Brock, giving Drake hope that it can be done.
C.S. Lewis writes in Mere Christianity that we become “new men” when we are fully in harmony and in tune with God. “God became man to turn creatures into sons: not simply to produce better men of the old kind but to produce a new kind of man,” Lewis writes. Indeed, 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT) says, “anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”
In biology, symbiosis is defined as the interaction between two different organisms living in close physical association to the mutual advantage of each other. In that sense, learning to “submit to the will of God” is like learning to be in symbiosis with an unseen force.
Drake’s many human experiments failed in the past because the human bodies or “hosts” were unwilling and not strong enough to withstand invasion. Many of them were homeless men and women who were tricked off the streets. But Eddie Brock was different. He was physically and mentally strong, willful, focused, and willing to accept his fate—making him the perfect cooperative host for Venom. In the movie, Brock and Venom are stronger together, achieving their goals for the greater good.
The film begins with the phrase “I am Venom” but it ends with “We are Venom” once Eddie Brock is fully attuned to his new identity. Are we willing enough hosts to be “invaded by Christ” in the spiritual sense, and are we willing to cooperate to do His will?
Just like Brock, we are weak as mortal human beings, but God’s supernatural strength enables us to achieve greater things. And just as Brock and Venom worked together to defeat a greater evil, we have been chosen by God and united with Him in order to defeat the stronghold of sin and establish God’s kingdom here on earth. As new creations in Christ, He gives us boldness to pray for others, to perform miracles just as His disciples did, and to stand firm against the forces of darkness with the Holy Spirit’s help.
God never forces Himself on us because He gave us a free will, but in Christ-likeness, we should all say as Jesus did on the cross: “Your will be done, not mine” (Mark 14:36).
p/s: Be sure to stay till the very very end of the end credits!