Socialist version of Marvel’s Venom goes viral in China
Venom is an evil, badass alien, played by Tom Hardy in a new film. But one enterprising fan turned Marvel’s antihero into a socialist star, promoting safety and manners in China.
Movie fans and bloggers are widely sharing one-minute video, claiming it’s an official trailer. One post on Weibo alone has already racked up over five million views. Unsurprisingly, we confirmed that it’s not a real trailer for the film. But it’s still very funny.
“Venom with socialism characteristics. I suggest you join the Communist Party,” one user says.
The first sequence shows Venom crashing his motorbike into a car. That’s pretty irresponsible, Venom! So the video shows the slogan: “You only live once. Let safety be with you your entire life,” which it credits to the “Venom Community Residential Committee.”
The video then cuts to a picture of Venom, with the words “Lethal Protector” next to him… until one of his tentacles changes the words to “Safety Protector”.
In another scene, Venom’s neighbor is being really loud -- so Tom Hardy transforms and snaps at him, while the slogan “Less noise, more peace” appears. Later it says “Always remember to observe discipline and obey laws” after Venom catches and, uh, destroys a burglar.
(It’s not entirely clear what Venom does to the burglar, but I find Venom super disturbing so I didn’t want to look too closely. Either way, the burglar seems quite dead.)
One of the first posts with the video has been reposted nearly 24,000 times, including by an account operated by the state-run Global Times. Fans are having a lot of fun with it, teasing that movie makers will do anything to appease China.
Of course, that’s not the case here. We reached out to Tencent Pictures and Sony Pictures, who are jointly distributing the film in China. A Sony spokesperson told us that it’s a fan video, and the distributors have no link to it.
But the jokes have their root in some truth: Foreign films have gone to great lengths to play up to Chinese viewers, sometimes successfully, sometimes less so. And China’s censors are famously strict about which films are allowed into the country.
Take a couple of other Marvel heroes, for example. The first Deadpool film was blocked from release in China, reportedly because it had too many sexual and violent scenes. Chinese censors also cut 14 minutes out of Logan, citing too much blood and violence.
Given what happened to those films, many worried that Venom would either see major cuts or be blocked from release. But Sony denies that. The spokesperson told us that the main Venom film won’t be cut at all, with the only omission being one of the post-credit sequences.
Oh, and in the film, Venom isn’t a socialist hero either. Just thought we’d clarify that.