For “Spider-Man” fans, Venom is a well-understood and long-established villain who has been giving Spider-Man trouble since his creation in 1988. For outsiders, his origin is incredibly oblique. The story goes — very briefly — that Spider-Man, while visiting an alien world (don’t ask), stepped into a machine that wrapped his body in a brand new, all-black Spider costume. It would eventually be revealed that his new outfit was not made of cloth, but was in fact a living, intelligent alien blob that could bond with a host organism and change itself into clothes. The blob ended up seeping too deeply into Spider-Man’s brain, necessitating that he painfully separate himself from the symbiote. It then wrapped itself around a man named Eddie Brock, a rival of Peter Parker’s, warping into a large, fanged, cannibal version of Spider-Man. Functionally, Venom (as it called itself) is Spider-Man’s evil twin.
Rueben Fleischer’s 2018 film “Venom” is comfortably separated from “Spider-Man,” and Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) is merely infected by an alien parasite. When it emerges from his body and wraps itself around Eddie, it looks like a shark made of tar and snot. Venom may have been part of the pop consciousness for 30 years, but it still looks dang ugly.
Sandberg revealed that he was once offered the chance to direct “Venom” when a fan asked point blank if he had ever been offered anything. Sandberg’s answer was brief: “I read the script for and had a meeting about ‘Venom’ but I was already going down the path of ‘Shazam!’ and felt that I’d rather do that than pursue ‘Venom.'”
It’s as simple as that. Sandberg just wanted to do “Shazam!” more.