Sony Pictures’ new film “Venom” is not part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it is a fascinating thrill ride nonetheless. The movie, released Friday, wastes some action potential, but it also presents important questions about what “global warming” climate alarmism can become in the hands of a mad scientist. If a powerful person truly believes the world is ending, he might do unspeakable things that ruin his humanity and put the entire human race in danger. (Warning: Spoilers.)
Tom Hardy plays the hero, Eddie Brock, but the villain Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) proves far more interesting. Drake resembles Tesla founder Elon Musk, an impressive entrepreneur with ambitions in outer space.
The crazed entrepreneur has bought wholesale into the dangerous cocktail of climate change, overpopulation, scientism, and trans-humanism. Having discovered an alien species, he believes the next step in human evolution involves bonding with alien parasites, enabling creatures formerly known as humans to live on other planets.
The problems with these ideas are manifold. The aliens resemble weird goo that attaches itself to carbon-based life — a bunny and a succession of humans — involving a kind of demon possession. The aliens, true parasites, then suck the life out of their hosts. Unless a human being is particularly perfect for the parasite, he or she will quickly die as the alien consumes his or her organs. The parasite can heal the human host, giving him or her impressive speed and strength, but it has to eat other humans to do so.
The hero, Eddie Brock, blends very well with one of these alien parasites, who goes by the name “Venom.” Drake observes this blending and becomes both fascinated and thrilled.
The villain’s ideology slowly becomes clear throughout the film. Drake is downright anti-human in his preference for alien parasites. As soon as one of the aliens blends with a bunny, he declares, “Begin human trials.”
In one telling scene, the villain directly speaks to a human “volunteer” about to blend with a parasite. He recalls Genesis 22, the story of God calling Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac. “It isn’t Abraham’s story, it’s Isaac’s,” the villain says. “I don’t know what kind of God would ask that. God has abandoned us. This time, I will not.” The poor man “blends” with the parasite in a scene resembling a demonic exorcism, but the alien quickly rejects him, leaving his dead body on the floor. Drake then calls for the next “volunteer.”
Carlton Drake equates himself with God, asking the “volunteer” to sacrifice his life for the “good” of humanity. Drake only believes this is good because he has embraced the myths that human beings are causing catastrophic climate change that will destroy the earth within one generation, and that human beings are having too many kids and will overpopulate the earth.
Both of these real-life pseudoscience fears are unfounded. As for climate change, it remains unknown just how much human activity is changing climate, there has been more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in Earth’s past, and there is no reason to expect the recent slight warming trend to bring about the end of the world. Climate alarmists who predicted the end of the Maldives, pointed to hurricanes as proof of climate change, or blamed humans for the death of a polar bear soon had egg on their faces.
Overpopulation is even flimsier: Recent agricultural advances have enabled the feeding of billions and many countries actually face underpopulation problems, with aging populations threatening national economies.
Like modern ideologues, Drake believes these theories nonetheless, and he also buys into a dangerous worship of science. Through evolution and the idea that science enables humans to remake the world, he decides to concoct a new human nature, and becomes increasingly dismissive of the old humans who must die to produce the next step in evolution.
Drake callously throws human beings at these parasites, who kill them quickly or slowly, but if a parasite dies, he explodes with rage. When one of his staff warns, “It’s killing the host, it’s eating his organs,” the villain mocks human beings as “such poor design.”
When a parasite dies, Drake attacks his staff, declaring, “This is a higher life form. You stood by and watched while it died.”
Another key scene reveals exactly why the villain hates humanity, and it has everything to do with climate alarmism and overpopulation myths. Eddie Brock calls Drake “insane,” and he responds, “What’s insane is the way humans choose to live today. All they do is take. We’re parasites. What I’ve initiated is a whole new world.”
Many environmentalist, animal rights, and other activists seem to agree with this assessment. In the name of the environment and saving the planet, they call for ever more stringent regulations to restrain the human technologies that have brought unprecedented prosperity to everyone. People do need to take care of the environment, but more freedom and prosperity has enabled more creativity and ever cleaner forms of electricity. Innovation, not regulation, will help us steward the environment and extend prosperity across the globe.
In the name of impending catastrophe, Carlton Drake becomes a hater of humanity, a murderer in the name of science, and a destroyer of his own human heart.
In one telling scene, an employee comes to Drake, explaining that she has been “troubled” by her work. Callously, the villain responds, “We’ve all been troubled. It’s the nature of what we do.” This suggests that even Drake has a human heart, but he has suppressed the voice of his conscience in service to what he thinks is a higher good.
This is the tragic ultimate result of following false ideologies and allowing yourself to be swallowed up by activism, even in pursuit of what you think is a good cause. Not only do you become blind to the evidence that disproves your position, but you harden your heart and erase the part of you that is most human.
“Venom” is a fun — if disappointing — movie. The character development for Eddie Brock and for his parasite “Venom” is sadly lacking, and the potential for drones in a car chase was sadly wasted. The action climax falls short of so many better Marvel films, and one key turning point really does not make any sense. The action is rather gruesome with the parasites chomping heads and eating people whole. For the most part, this is a cheap action thrill.
The one deep part of the film is the villain, and Carlton Drake shows exactly how dangerous activism in the service of false ideas can become. Environmentalists, animal rights activists, and population alarmists are not evil like Carlton Drake, but if they’re not careful, they can become blind to the evidence against their positions and callous to the needs of other people as they pursue their activism.
That’s a cautionary tale much needed in America today, and “Venom” delivers it rather well.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.
Watch the trailer for “Venom” below.