The History of Movies With Villains As Their Stars
Look at that guy up there. Gigantic fangs. Jagged, pupil-less eyes. Weird veins rippling all over his gigantic, hulking body. If he looks like a bad guy, that’s because he is — or at least was conceived as one.
Venom made his first appearance in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man #300, where a living alien costume once worn and discarded by Peter Parker bonded with a disgruntled journalist named Eddie Brock whose life was ruined, he claimed, by Spider-Man. Motivated by their mutual hatred of Spidey, they decided to join forces. Venom was born.
The character proved popular and kept returning to bother Spidey over and over. Eventually he got upgraded to his own comic books, where he was portrayed more and more as a misunderstood anti-hero and less of an outright sociopath — not unlike the situation in movie theaters this week. Venom first appeared (played by Topher Grace) as a villain in Spider-Man 3. Now he’s got a movie of his own, with Tom Hardy as Brock.
By all appearances, Hardy’s Brock is less of a villain than a weirdo who performs good deeds in reckless or excessive ways. But Venom is still fairly unique in the world of superhero (or technically supervillain movies): The bad guy is the star. In the broader scope of movie history, Venom now joins a formidable roster of films about criminals, crooks, cons, and miscreants. Here’s a few of the most notable examples of movies with villains as their stars, showing how this kind of character’s depiction has evolved over time.