Marvel comic fans may feel confident enough in their knowledge to go into Venom without a single second of googling.
But fans not so well versed in the comic book universe have been introduced to an almost entirely new world with Venom.
Despite Venom being part of the Spider-Man universe, for the purposes of this Sony adaptation, Venom exists in a standalone universe. A Venom-verse.
As such, a lot of world building and exposition was required but for some fans, this went by too quickly.
Who is Riot? And what actually is the symbiote?
Warning, this article contains spoilers for Venom
The answer to the two questions go hand in hand.
To understand how Brock became Venom, and how Drake became Riot, one has to understand what a symbiote is and how it functions.
In the Marvel comic book lore, symbiotes are a race of amorphous aliens, visualised in the Marvel movie as somehow both blobby and spikey black goo.
Their name stems from their ability to form a symbiotic bond with their host.
Another power the symbiote has is to alter their hosts’ personalities.
Venom: Riot is the main villain in Venom, but who is he and what is a symbiote?
They can influence their hosts’ desires – most notably in the Venom movie by making Eddie Brock eat maggot-infested chicken.
Symbiotes can also amplify their host’s physical and emotional traits, as well as grant them superhuman powers.
But this isn’t a total takeover, and the host still regains some level of control – which is what makes the connection, for Brock particularly, so special.
Ruben Fleischer, the director of Venom, was inspired by one particular comic book quote for his adaptation, which says: “You’re Eddie Brock. I’m the symbiote. Together we are Venom.”
For Riot, however, the connection seems a little more one-sided, with the symbiote capitalising on Drake’s megalomania to push his own agenda.
To make matters more confusing, in the movie the two symbiotes refer to each other as Venom and Riot, despite the above quote Fleischer was inspired by.
This decision from the screenwriters was likely to avoid confusion between the two symbiotes.
Drake’s grand plan for The Life Foundation was to create a new type of human capable of surviving on another planet.
Riot (the symbiote) uses this to trick Drake into launching the rocket again.
Though Drake thinks they’re on the same page Riot actually plans to bring his fellow symbiotes down to Earth to assimilate into humans and take over the species.
Riot: The symbiote Riot bonds with Carlton Drake to try and destroy human life
Venom, for reasons the movie doesn’t quite detail well enough, has a change of heart (initially being on Riot’s side) after living inside Brock and together they go after Riot/Drake to save Earth.
When Venom 2 eventually comes to fruition, which seems likely despite the mixed critical response to Venom, Cletus Kasady/Carnage will be the new villain for Brock/Venom to fight.
The comics show Carnage being created when a bit of Venom’s symbiote is left behind, which adds an element of confusion as to how the symbiotes actually form their own individual personalities.
However, the Venom movie has deviated so far from Brock’s origin story it seems unlikely they’ll stick to it for the sequel.
As Carnage is created from an offshoot of Venom, it seems reasonable to think another Riot could come into existence.
If it found the right host.
Venom: Tom Hardy and Riz Ahmed butt heads as Eddie Brock and Carlton Drake
Riz Ahmed’s Carlton Drake was, perhaps, the perfect balance of megalomania and idealism for Riot to take hold of.
The movie shows Riot as a body-hopper, moving from person to person in order to get to The Life Foundation.
But the symbiote was presumably destroyed when Venom set the rocket alight.
However Carnage comes to be, Venom has a lot more world-building ahead of it, if it wants to create a whole, believable universe for future films.
Venom is in UK cinemas now, and in US cinemas today, Friday, October 5, 2018.