Ah, the humble lobster tank. Familiar to us from fancy restaurants and that one amazing Les Misérables parody from Saturday Night Live, it’s such a common fixture that it almost fades into the background.
It’s also the centerpiece of one of the the best scenes from Venom.
To put a particularly pretentious hat on (ooooh, it’s got a plume!), the lobster tank functions as a baptism of sorts for Eddie, marking the distinction between more or less plausible deniability that he’s just really sick and accepting that there might be, idk, a tentacle monster from space inside of him. Binging on chocolate and tater tots at home might be explained away by hangover and fever, but leaping into a lobster tank in public to chow down on its occupants? Eddie does not want to go in that tank. He’s in public. He’s in a fancy restaurant. His ex-girlfriend and her super cool new boyfriend are watching. But he knows, like a hero from a Greek tragedy, that he is going in the tank whether he likes it or not.
Tom Hardy’s amazing performance in Venom, which I can only describe as a threat to make Bugs Bunny sound like a native New Yorker and sweat through every piece of clothing in wardrobe made good (and I mean this as a compliment), reaches a particularly choice pitch here. I have never seen a man try to deliriously negotiate with his ex-girlfriend before tearing into a lobster while maintaining eye contact with patrons. Say what you will about Venom, but it has shown me more fantastical sights than some of its bigger ticket Marvel Cinematic Universe siblings.
And none of that would be possible without the lobster tank set dressing that famously inspired Tom Hardy to make the executive decision that Eddie Brock had to get it in ASAP. Here’s to you, lobster tank; you’ve earned it.