Whether your opinion of Venom is positive or negative, it’s hard to ignore one of the movie’s biggest plot holes. There’s no arguing that it’s there–just ask Venom director Ruben Fleischer, like we did. Here’s your spoiler warning–if you haven’t seen Venom, proceed at your own risk.
The issue occurs near the beginning of the movie. When the Riot Symbiote escapes the Life Foundation’s custody, it finds its way to a crowded marketplace in Malaysia. Naturally, it goes on a killing spree, eventually bonding with an old woman in the crowd. The movie makes Riot’s goal at this point explicit: It wants to get to San Francisco, where the Life Foundation’s headquarters is located.
The movie then switches perspective to Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), who proceeds to screw up his entire life by stealing confidential information from his fiance’s laptop and using it to halfheartedly confront Life Foundation head Dr. Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed). After a six month time jump, Eddie is a sad sack of a man, having lost everything he cared about, including his job and fiance, Anne Weying (Michelle Williams).
There’s the rub: Six months has gone by, yet when we catch up with Riot again, it seems virtually no time has passed. The Symbiote is still inhabiting the same host, which other scenes in the movie confirm is virtually impossible, since all but the most compatible hosts are quickly used up when bonded with a Symbiote. And furthermore, Riot has apparently only just made it to the airport. We asked director Ruben Fleischer, and he confirmed it’s simply an unfortunate plot hole.
“Our idea was that Riot was using up the life force of whoever he took, and then he jumped ship when he’d consumed them and then find a new host to carry him further on his journey,” Fleischer explained. Obviously that idea got lost somewhere in that six month time jump, when Riot stayed bonded with the old woman for half a year. What was Riot doing for those six months?
“Yeah, that’s a good question,” Fleischer said. “That’s one of our few–hopefully–few logic bumps. But we had to have a passage of time in order to show Eddie’s downfall, and that was the one thing that doesn’t entirely track.”
“But I like to think that old lady was going around murdering all throughout Malaysia, and she was just having a good old time just shooting shards through different people in Malaysia,” he continued.
That’s a more exciting option than what we’d assumed–that Riot was either temporarily dormant or hibernating, or that it was just pretending to be someone’s grandma the whole time.
“Yeah, I mean, who’s to know?” Fleischer said.
For more on Venom, check out our breakdown of Venom’s after credits scenes, plus all the Easter eggs and references you might have missed. We also chatted with Fleischer about the challenges of making Venom without Spider-Man.