Spider-Man: Far From Home Early Reactions Suggest a Fantastic Sequel

Early social media reactions by select US critics who were lucky enough to catch an uber early Spider-Man: Far From Home press screening have been positive across the board. Critics are calling the film “funny,” “romantic,” and a “great followup to not just Spider-Man: Homecoming, but Avengers: Endgame too.” However, one critic did point out that the film could’ve used a little bit more hard emotions.
Man, I am beyond hyped for this movie. Ever since his debut in Captain America: Civil War, I’ve been a huge fan of Tom Holland’s version of Spider-Man. While Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 is still my favourite Spidey movie, Tom Holland is hands down my favourite Peter Parker. Peter’s journey in the MCU hasn’t been an easy one. In Homecoming, he discovered that his date’s father is the villainous Vulture, in Infinity War, he gets dusted by the Mad Titan Thanos and in Avengers: Endgame, he loses his friend, mentor and father figure in Tony Stark. Spider-Man: Far From Home promises to deal with the aftermath of Endgame.

Check out these early Twitter reactions to Spider-Man: Far From Home:

#SpiderManFarFromHome is funny, exciting, romantic, goofy & follows HOMECOMING in being this brilliant ground-level look at Spidey's world & how the events of #AvengersEndgame impacted everyday life. Lots of twists & turns, plus some adorable summer romances, too. I'm a big fan pic.twitter.com/NUX0f8YFM0
— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) June 19, 2019

#SpiderManFarFromHome is both a great follow up to Avengers: Endgame and a solid Spider-Man story in its own right. It's funnier and more visually adventurous than Homecoming, with another killer soundtrack. Make sure you avoid the hell out of spoilers!
— Mike Cecchini (@wayoutstuff) June 19, 2019

#SpiderManFarFromHome had the difficult task of following two epic Avengers movies AND Spider-Verse and succeeds by telling a smaller, classical story about Peter Parker caught between what he wants and what responsibility demands. Pure cat(spider)nip for Spidey fans like me. pic.twitter.com/G2a4p6YhAr
— Matt Singer (@mattsinger) June 19, 2019

#SpiderManFarFromHome is the coda we needed after Endgame, a glimpse of how the world looks now that the dust has settled. Could maybe have gone a bit harder on P's emotional arc, but bursting with warmth and humor and awkward teen romance. Also: Jake G = perfect casting.
— Angie J. Han (@ajhan) June 19, 2019

#SpiderManFarFromHome is a very worthy follow-up to the phenomenal #Homecoming. Tom Holland proves (once again) that he's the definitive Peter Parker, and his chemistry with @Zendaya is legitimately sweet and engaging.
— Eric Walkuski (@ericwalkuski) June 19, 2019

Spider-Man: Far From Home synopsis:
Peter Parker goes on a school trip to Europe with his classmates. While abroad, Nick Fury recruits him for a mission that requires him to join forces with Quentin Beck a.k.a. Mysterio, a master of trickery and illusion who claims to be from a parallel Earth in the Multiverse. Together they will battle extradimensional humanoids known as the Elementals.
Spider-Man: Far From Home will be swinging into Malaysian cinemas this 3rd of July.
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5 Lessons Disney Must Learn From Fox’s X-Men Franchise

Alas, Fox’s X-Men franchise is coming to a close. And while New Mutants is still on the horizon, the official finale to its latest and final film saga ends with Dark Phoenix. What should have been a triumphant redemption of X-Men: The Last Stand and a reflective celebration of the franchise’s rich history turned out to be a quick, painful death. A film that pleased neither returning fans or fresh casuals. That being said, we can at least look forward to knowing that the property is now in competent, if not good, hands. Regardless of how you feel about Disney’s treatment of its Marvel characters, their commercial success and cultural security cannot be denied. For many, the Iron Man of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is the only one they’ll ever know. So before Disney’s Marvel gives the X-Men yet another chance on the big screen, lessons must be learned from the previous regime.
Not all of them painful mind you. There was a time not so long ago when Fox’s X-Men franchise was the standard of what comic book films should strive towards. For that, they will always inhabit a place of honour in the genre. But now, the mantle has been passed and here are five things Disney needs to remember from their predecessors when dealing with the X-Men.
1. Succeed With Social Commentary
Before things went full on bonkers and dystopian from Days of Future Past onwards, there was a time when the X-Men films presented themselves as grounded and gripping allegories for societal discrimination. I mean honestly in X2: United, there were some pretty overt references to people “coming out of the closet” if you know what I mean. Some of it was a little heavy handed at times but at no point did it ever felt irrelevant. Probably due to Simon Kinberg and Singer’s reverence for the source material and its message. It’s a story about a misunderstood people struggling to coexist with a hostile world, while at the same time battling their worst tendencies in the form of Magneto’s Brotherhood of Mutants. So if Disney is to keep one thing from the franchise, it should definitely keep its beating, bleeding heart.

Previous films like X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Wolverine, Apocalypse and Dark Phoenix failed to engage with their audiences for a litany of reasons. But chief among them was the lack of relevancy or cultural urgency in its setting, story and characters. Eventually, as time went on, the uncomfortable reality of prejudice found in the first three films (yes even Last Stand) was notably missing in future films.
I get that there’s nothing particularly sexy to market about social justice for minorities in the form of mutants but that’s what makes this property unique. They’re not the clean-cut Avengers with their fancy gadgets and PR appeal. They are the outcasts, the remnants of a people society do not wish to acknowledge. Don’t turn them into another branch of the Avengers or downplay their status in society. Rather find new and interesting ways to tell the same, timeless message.
2. A True Team
If there were any real complaints levelled against the first two films, X-Men and X2, one of them would definitely be the films being too Logan-centric. Wolverine is one bonafide badass for sure but there were times when we wished the other mutants got a chance to shine. For goodness sake, the franchise made three whole spin-off films dedicated to the man alone. Eventually, Fox would take the hint and give other mutants some time in the spotlight. Arguably the three most developed characters out of the post-Days of Future Past timeline are Charles Xavier, Erik Lehnsherr and Raven Darkholme, better known as Mystique. Quicksilver and Nightcrawler got a chance to flex their abilities in some truly impressive spectacle but the rest of the cast’s presence still felt hollow. Which is probably why Jean Grey’s sudden transformation to power-mad Omega level threat came off as emotionally fangless.

Disney’s Marvel, on the other hand, has managed to make every single one of their characters matter in one way or another. Whether it’s Tony Stark sowing the seeds of future Avengers films like how Iron Man 3 affecting his mindset in Age of Ultron or Ant-Man’s comedic adventures that have him cross paths with Falcon. Even the most ardent critic must admit that the MCU has managed to achieve a commendable sense of chemistry in its colourful ensemble. Marvel should learn to avoid the mistakes of its forerunners’ past by centralizing the story arcs into a handful of recognizable characters. Give each member some room to breathe and at the very least, show us different mutant stories. We don’t want another “Wolverine’ show.
3. A Strong Setup
A problem that plagued the most recent instalments of the post-Days of Future Past saga, Apocalypse and Dark Phoenix, was the lack of build up to these major events. A villain like Apocalypse isn’t just another Willaim Stryker or Hela. He is a Thanos level threat of unimaginable proportions. Let me put it this way, he is quite literally the very First Mutant, if not the God of Mutantkind. He is a being capable of using any mutant ability he wishes. He could easily take up three movies given his comic book pedigree. Instead, Fox decided to introduce him as a throwaway cameo at the end of Days of Future Past before having him taken out in Apocalypse by Jean Grey. Barely any proper setup to flesh out Apocalypse, his motivations or even his bloody abilities!

I remember watching it in the theatre with my friends and every few minutes, they were asking me who he was or what he was all about. And they’re fans of the film series! Then out of nowhere, we see Jean Grey tap into what looks like her Phoenix Force before incinerating Apocalypse. She isn’t even supposed to have those abilities until Dark Phoenix. That’s just lazy writing.
Speaking of Dark Phoenix and bad writing, the film sees Jean Grey’s meteoric rise to megalomania faster than you can say “Brett Ratner”. I mean, why start from scratch with Jean losing control from the Phoenix Force after the space mission? Wouldn’t it make more sense to build up from her reveal in Apocalypse? Disney should take their time to thoughtfully and methodically lay out their entire timeline for their new X-Men films, lest they fall victim to mindless spectacle.
4. The Art of the Anti-villain
In the past, I would readily proclaim that Erik Lernsherr as one of the greatest comic book film villains of all time. But the truth of the matter is, I was wrong. Magneto isn’t exactly a villain. In fact, he fits more into the category of an anti-villain. I’ll elaborate. We all know that an anti-hero is a morally dubious character who will at times fight on the side of good for his or her own selfish purposes. An anti-villain though will use whatever means necessary to achieve a good and just cause. Honestly, if you think about it, Magneto is righteous in his beliefs. A victim as a boy and now a vindicator as a man. He is the avenging angel of a persecuted people. And while you’re watching his exploits on screen, somewhere deep down inside you, you know he’s right. Say what you want about Fox but they mastered the craft of the anti-villain.

You might be saying at this point: But wait! Aren’t there characters like Thanos and Killmonger who fit the bill? While they do start out as anti-villains, they eventually lose sight of their vision in favour of their more selfish sentiments. Killmonger at the end of the day would have brought Wakanda to ruins get his revenge. Thanos for all his moral posturing took great satisfaction in inflicting pain on others.
Magneto however never lost sight of his goal. The safety and security of his people in a world that hates him and his kin. In spite of his actions and methods, we could always sense his love and devotion for mutantkind. He’s hesitant to engage with Charles and his X-Men but will reluctantly do so for his cause. The MCU has tried to do anti-villains in the past with Ultron, Killmonger and Thanos but one way or another they disqualify themselves from the category. They should take a page from Fox and do it right with Magneto.
5. Curbing Creative Constraints
Now R-rated comic book films aren’t anything new, one only needs to look at the cinematic adaptation of Alan Moore’s graphic novels (Watchmen and V For Vendetta) or Frank Miller’s (300 and Sin City). They’re great in their own rights but are mostly relegated to the realm of cult status. Fox Studios, however, changed the game and broke new ground with Deadpool and Logan entering into the mainstream cultural consciousness. Even now in the final moments of this dying franchise, they’re still determined to explore uncharted waters with what could have been the very first horror superhero film! Sadly Brightburn had already beaten them to the punch…but still! During Fox’s run of the X-Men, the studio strove to take creative risks in innovating their properties. Disney is still hesitant to jump into the deep end.

We covered in the past why if Disney got their hands on Deadpool, they really wouldn’t know what to do with him. The company has had a dubious past of clashing with auteur directors like Edgar Wright and Lord and Miller over their lack of adherence to studio vision. While it’s true that Disney’s Marvel has made some strides in their mixture of genres and progressive film premises, we still can’t quite shake the feeling that they all follow a very, specific hero archetype.
It’s a brave new world for comic book films and there’s simply no room for stagnation. If the MCU is to truly become more than the sum of its parts, more creative liberties must be afforded to directors and writers. It doesn’t have to happen all at once. Hopefully, by the time the X-Men make their way into the MCU, all the complexity and diversity the team represents will be embraced.
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The UK Indefinitely Delays Age Verification For Porn

The UK is supposed to implement its age verification system for accessing porn online on 15 July. This is already a delay from the initial April start date. But now, it looks like the UK government is delaying the implementation of its porn pass indefinitely.
According to Sky News, the delay is caused by legal reasons, after government officials failed to notify the European Commission of its implementation. A separate report by The Guardian states that a government did not deny that the age verification system had been indefinitely delayed.

The system itself also came under scrutiny, and for pretty obvious reasons. Those who wanted to watch such content would have to apply verify their identity using identifiable documents. This can then be used to connect an individual to their browsing habits. Such individuals may, in turn, end up being victims of scams and blackmail.
Had the system not been indefinitely delayed, it would’ve been the first of its kind. Websites that failed to implement it would also have faced sanctions. These could range from being blocked by the UK government, to being restricted from accessing payment services.
(Source: Sky News, The Guardian)
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Xiaomi Mi 9T Hands On: A Mid-Range Device With High-End Hardware

Over the last several weeks, rumours and whispers of the Xiaomi Mi 9T floated around online. Many speculated that the phone was nothing more than a rebranded Redmi K20, which had just launched in China around the same time. Today was the Mi 9T’s official launch in Malaysia. Mercifully, I had managed to spend some time with the phone to see just how the new device from the China-based brand holds up.
My first thought upon seeing the phone was just how gorgeous it looks, and I’m not just saying that. Both the front and the back of the Mi 9T show off a very polished look. On the subject of the phone’s back, I find it interesting how Xiaomi made the diffusing pattern for each colour different.
For context, both the read and blue variant showcase a rippling effect that edges out to the side, while the black variant of the Mi 9T shows a simple yet tasteful matte-like design. Almost as if it was mimicking the carbon fibre pattern.

Moving on, the display of the Mi 9T is, as mentioned earlier, just as gorgeous to look at. It’s an edge-to-edge, near bezel-less AMOLED display, and despite measuring in at 6.39-inches, it doesn’t feel cumbersome in my hands. I also like how Xiaomi has managed to keep the bottom chin as thin as possible, making it the second all-display smartphone I’ve personally held. After the OnePlus 7 Pro.
Still on the display, the Mi 9T adopts an in-display fingerprint scanner, which I am able to say is fast and intuitive, provided that your fingers aren’t oily or covered in gunk from your last meal. In which case, you’ll probably be bungling your way through the security feature, rather than actually accessing it quickly. There’s also the fact that the display is free from the dreaded notch, but more on that later.

Beneath the hood, the Mi 9T is rocking a Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 SoC that has been clocked at 2.2GHz, and 6GB of DDR4X RAM, making it a very zippy phone. And don’t let the mid-range moniker fool you; despite being a member of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 700 series family, the Snapdragon 730 still brings on most of the benefits and features that you would expect from the brand’s top of the line Snapdragon 800 series. Storage for the Mi 9T comes in two capacities, 64GB and 128GB.
Oh, and lest I forget, the phone is powered by a sizable 4000mAh battery. Xiaomi also says that it has improved the audio quality with the Mi 9T, but sadly, I was not able to test out if that was true just yet.

Then there’s the main triple-camera setup at the rear of the Mi 9T. It’s an area where the phone itself more or less dominates, for the simple fact that there aren’t many mid-range smartphones that actually have a triple-camera lineup as their main array. Even more enticing is the fact that one of the sensor is the 48MP Sony IMX586 sensor. Getting into the specifics, the main camera of the Mi 9T comprises a 48MP f/1.75 sensor, a 13Mp f/2.4, and an 8MP f/2.4 telephone lens.

At this point, I haven’t managed to play a lot with the phone’s camera, but from my brief encounter with it, colours in the pictures taken are not as saturated as some other camera do. Specifically, they look more lifelike and truer to what you would normally see, while still retaining a high level of detail.

But what I applaud Xiaomi for, above all else, is for finally moving forward and keeping its display free from the feature that is the horrid trend that is the notched display. In order to maintain the all-display illusion with the Mi 9T, the company uses a motorised 20MP pop-up selfie camera. Xiaomi has also gone ahead to personalise the feature, installing LED into the sides of the phone.
Just to be clear, the LED merely indicates that feature is active, and isn’t designed to act as a forward-facing LED flash for selfies. Oh, and like the different design for different colour variants, the colour of the LED also differs. The blue and red variants have LEDs that glow blue, while the black variant has LEDs that glow red.

In terms of software, the phone runs on Android 9.0 Pie with the brand’s latest version of MIUI running on top of it. On a side note, I am told that there is a beta version of Android Q already in circulation among beta testers. Despite the mid-range chipset, the phone feels fast responsive. Apps open up instantly and switching between tabs and programs shows no signs of lagging.
At a starting price point of RM1099, and with so many premium-grade features and hardware, it’s understandable why many are calling this phone the new flagship killer. But I’m not jumping the gun just yet. In any case, we’re still not done with the phone, so look forward to the full review.
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Xiaomi Mi 9T Goes Official In Malaysia: Available On 25 June, Price Starts From RM 1099

Following their promise earlier this month, Xiaomi today has officially launched the new Mi 9T in Malaysia. Released in China as the Redmi K20, the new device is the third model under the company’s signature Mi 9 series.
Based on its Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 processor, the Mi 9T is generally sandwiched between the Snapdragon 710-based Mi 9 SE and the flagship Mi 9 which is powered by Snapdragon 855. However, it is the only model in the family that doesn’t come with a display notch, thanks to its 20MP pop-up selfie camera which allows users to fully utilize its 6.39-inch full HD AMOLED display.

On it back, Xiaomi has retained the same triple camera setup from Mi 9 SE which includes the main camera that features 48MP Sony IMX582 sensor. It is also equipped with a 13MP ultra wide-lens and 8MP telephoto cameras. A 3.5mm audio jack and 4000mAh battery complete Mi 9T’s general specifications.
Price-wise, the Mi 9T with 64GB internal storage goes for RM 1,199 and can be obtained from 25 June onwards. However, you can save a little bit by getting the device from through Lazada on 25 June for RM 1,099 and you can even try your luck to obtain the Mi 9T for free as Xiaomi is giving away a unit for every 10,000 pre-booking.

For consumers that want to have larger internal storage on the phone, there is also the 128GB variant which goes for RM 1,399 and will be available from 29 June onwards. Xiaomi Malaysia’s Country Manager, Allen An has hinted that there will be a deal for the Mi 9T 128GB as well in which the company will announce as we get to closer to the rollout date later this month.
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Shopee Launches 24-Hour Express Delivery Service And 7.7 Orange Madness Sale

If you’re someone who shops on Shopee often, then this may be good news to you. The e-commerce platform launched what it calls Shopee24 Express Delivery which, as you’d expect, is its 24-hour delivery service. If the name doesn’t gove it away, it’s essentially the e-commerce platform’s 24-hour delivery service
It’s worth mentioning that this is not a service that’s applicable to everything you find on the e-commerce platform. That said, Shopee says that over 10000 items are applicable, and are identified by the Shopee24 tag. Shopee says that as long as your purchase is made before 2 PM, your delivery will reach your doorstep the next day, or you’ll get the delivery cost of your next purchase waived. The service is also currently only limited to shoppers in the Klang Valley.

In conjunction with the service, the e-commerce platform also launched the Shopee 7.7 Orange Madness sale. As part of the sale, you can make purchases for as low as RM0.77, free shipping with a minimum spending of RM27, and the “One or Not?” special sale. As part of this sale, Shopee is letting buyers get over 40 high value items for RM1.

These include the likes of a Samsung Galaxy S10, a Haier 50-inch UHD Smart LED TV, and the upcoming Xiaomi Mi 9T. The buyers will be selected in a draw among those who have put down eir RM1. Those who are not selected will get their RM1 back, either to their credit card, or their Shopee wallet.
Both the Shopee24 service and the 7.7 Orange Madness sale will commence on 24 June 2019. The latter will also last until 7 July.
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Malaysia May Become Home To New Apple Production Facility

Apple is contemplating on shifting between 15% and 30% of its manufacturing outside of China. According to Nikkei, the fruit company has been going around asking prominent players and key suppliers like Foxconn, Pegatron, and Wistron for insight about opening a factory in another country.
Outside of China, Apple is almost undoubtedly spoilt for choice. What is surprising is that Malaysia is the brand’s list, followed by Mexico, India, Vietnam, and Indonesia. However, according to executives who are part of the talks, Apple has seemingly marked both India and Vietnam as potential favourites.
There are several reasons behind Apple’s decision, with the major – if not decisive – factor currently being the on-going trade war between the US and China. Last month, the US’ Trump administration signed an executive order against the Chinese economic powerhouse. However, the move has been viewed by many as a powerplay against the Chinese telecommunications company, Huawei.

It also doesn’t help that the US will be introducing and enforcing a 25% tariff on all phones, notebooks, and tablets made in China. Starting from the end of this month.
Another reason behind the Cupertino-based tech giant’s decision can be attributed to China’s own domestic economy. “A lower birthrate, higher labour costs and the risk of overly centralising its production in one country. These adverse factors are not going anywhere,” said one executive, who is also a part of the discussion. “With or without the final round of the US$300 billion (~RM1.24 trillion) tariffs, Apple is following a big trend to diversify production”.

At this stage, Apple still hasn’t set a deadline for the big move, as it’s still waiting on its suppliers’ advise over which country would be most ideal for its shift. Sadly, the brand also failed to specify how many jobs in its China outlet would be affected by the 15% to 30% shift.
(Source: Nikkei, The Verge // Image: Getty Images)
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TM Has One Month To Submit Solutions That Would Solve Streamyx Woes

While TM has previously stated that it is already looking at alternative technologies including pre-5G network to help deliver high speed broadband to its customers, the situation faced by around 1 million users that are still stuck with the slow and expensive Streamyx service has generally remained the same.
However, a recent directive by the Minister of Communications and Multimedia, Gobind Singh Deo offers a glimpse of hope that things will finally able to move forward. According to a press statement released yesterday, the minister has apparently requested TM to submit a report regarding Streamyx within the next one month.

The statement was released after a meeting between the minister and TM’s senior management team which includes its Chairman, Rosli Man; Chief Operating Officer, Imri Mokhtar; and the newly appointed Group CEO, Noor Kamarul Anuar Nuruddin.
Several issues have apparently been discussed including the low internet speed experience at high prices that is Streamyx. Interesting enough, the statement further revealed that a number of solutions have actually been put on the table which is why the minister strongly believed that TM needs to decide and announce the steps that the company will take to address the issues surrounding Streamyx as soon as possible.

With that, let’s see whether things will finally change for the better or otherwise.
(Source: Ministry of Communications and Multimedia.)
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Acer To Offer 144Hz 4K HDR Gaming Monitor For RM 1,000 Off At Predator Roadshow

Starting from 26 June onwards, Acer Malaysia will be turning the Orange Concourse of Sunway Pyramid into its playground for five days through the upcoming Predator Roadshow. In addition to product showcase, the company will also be offering deals for some of its gaming products.
Among such product that will receive a substantial discount is the Predator XB273K 27-inch gaming monitor which was originally released around the end of last year. Not only that it offers a native 4K resolution, the IPS monitor also comes with 144Hz refresh rate alongside the support for HDR and NVIDIA G-Sync technology as well as 90% coverage of DCI-P3 colour gamut.

Usually, the Predator XB273K goes for RM 4,599 but at the upcoming Predator Roadshow in Sunway Pyramid, it will be offered with a discount of RM 1,000. This means you able to get your hands on it for RM 3,599.
Aside from the monitor, Acer Malaysia will also be offering tons of other products, accessories, and apparels at discount through Flash Sales sessions at the roadshow. Here are what will be made available through those sessions:

To learn more about the roadshow, keep a look for a further update about the event on Acer Malaysia’s Facebook page.
(Source: Acer Malaysia)
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Kevin Feige Says Venom Likely to Appear in Future Tom Holland Spider-Man Movie

When Sony agreed to a shared deal that will allow Spider-Man to be rebooted by Kevin Feige and gang and make appearances in the MCU, fans rejoiced. Many, myself included find Tom Holland to be the best big-screen version of the web-slinger. Much like in the comics, the latest version of Spider-Man is a geeky teenager, joyful, quippy and always excited to hang out with the big boys and girls. However, Sony’s deal with Marvel Studios/Disney also makes the whole situation a little complicated. Keep in mind, the situation is very different from the Disney-Fox acquisition. Once Disney purchased Fox, the likes of X-Men and Fantastic Four became properties of Marvel Studios once again.
On the flip side, the movie rights to Spider-Man still belong to Sony. This means that Sony can use Spider-Man and his supporting characters at any capacity, regardless if Marvel Studios like it or not. It also means that Sony can establish that Spider-Man: Homecoming and Far From Home are set in the same universe asthe crappy Venom movie that turned out to be a massive box office success. In an interview with Cinema Blend, Kevin Feige was asked if he thinks Tom Holland’s Spider-Man will crossover with Venom, to which the MCU chief responded:
“I think probably it’s up to Sony. Sony has both those characters and, has Venom in their world. I don’t know what their plans are for another Venom or if they’re doing that. But it seems likely at some point.”

Venom is probably the best and most intriguing character in Spider-Man’s stacked Rogues Gallery. A clash between the two iconic characters would be a dream come true… if and only if it’s handled properly. Unfortunately, both live-action versions of Venom we’ve gotten thus far have ranged between disappointing (Spider-Man 3) to borderline nonsensical (the Tom Hardy version). It would be a shame to see Sony bring the taint and stench of 2018’s Venom into this Spider-verse which has been excellent thus far.
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