After numerous delays, everyone’s favourite symbiote finally returns in Venom: Let There Be Carnage, bringing about the duality and split personality that defined the first movie and made it a huge hit.
Even after the first one refused to connect with Spider-Man. You know, the basis and origin for the Venom character in the Marvel Comics series?
But fear not, as this sequel adds more of Spidey’s supporting cast into the mix, even if it blatantly refuses to acknowledge Spidey. First up is serial killer Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson), who had a cameo at the end of the first movie, and moves front and centre here. Cletus is after all the host for Carnage, the most violent and brutal of all the symbiotes linked to Spidey, and one offspring of Venom.
So what links Cletus to Eddie Brock aka Venom, played to great form by Tom Hardy? Well, one is a killer, while the other is some amazing journalist, so naturally the two should meet, but these are not the only pairings in this movie, as we also get a chance to meet Frances Barrison aka Shriek (Naomie Harris), fellow wacko and lover of Kletus. So begins this threesome journey, as Kasady seeks Barrison, while also searching for Brock, who inadvertently leaves part of himself with the serial killer, hence the birth of a stronger and much more powerful Carnage,
Back home however, Eddie and Venom start having issues seeing eye to eye. Eddie begins doubting the relationship he has with Venom, and as if things isn’t hard enough, he learns that his ex-fiance Anne (Michelle Williams) has happily moved on without him. It is here where Venom: Let There Be Carnage starts to feel like a breakup movie as Eddie goes through the ugly cycle of grieving losing everyone he loves and cares about.
Whilst some may argue that it isn’t a terrible move, it’s not the type of content we’d expect from one of Marvel Comics’ cult favourite characters. We’ve waited years for a sequel and instead of seeing two symbiotes ruthlessly claw at each other or chomp on heads from the get go, we see a hot journalist moping about in a shitty apartment in San Francisco and an insane, lustful killer attempt to balance his relationship with the symbiote in him, and the love of his life.
Speaking of Carnage, Carnage only begins to enter the narrative halfway through the sentencing of Kasady and that’s where the action picks up. Most of the action is sub-par though, with Carnage flinging his opponents around and screaming into their faces or into the air. Venom: Let There Be Carnage is a loud movie, with lots of screaming and banging around but does very little in the visual department. Carnage and Venom both are known to be violent in the comics, and the blood or gore in the movie barely lives up to the horrors we see on the pages. This is likely due to the rating imposed on Venom: Let There Be Carnage, but one can’t help but wonder what magic director Andy Serkis could’ve done if he had no limitations.
Together with Carnage, Kasady breaks out Frances and together the trio hunt down Venom and Eddie before leading up to the face off between Venom and Carnage in a church. For the main finale, the church scene was like many other action scenes in the movie – dissapointing. For starters, the scene had Williams’ Anne gagged and tied up for most of it (what a waste of talent!) and much of the fight between the two symbiotes was not only so quick that you can barely catch what’s happening, it also happened in the dark.
Although Kasady’s dislike towards Eddie was somewhat understandable, it wasn’t fully explored and made his motivation as a villain less convincing. Kasady later adds to the confusion when he confessed to Eddie that he just wanted to be friends.
Speaking of confusion, viewers who aren’t familiar with the relationship between Carnage and Venom would be incredibly stumped by the daddy jokes during the church scene. In the comics, Carnage is an offspring of Venom and is far more powerful than the black-coloured symbiote and because he wants to remain all-powerful, he’s made it a goal to exterminate Venom once and for all. Whilst Venom: Let There Be Carnage follows the same motivation, it didn’t exactly explain the reasoning behind it.
Plot holes are aplenty in this movie and it almost makes you thankful that it only runs for an hour and a half. The plot felt empty and leaves you wanting more to be explored and the action was a bit too PG13 for those who expected to see, well, carnage.
Jokes in the movie didn’t fly too well either. The movie tries to mimic the comedy in Deadpool, but it comes off lame and extremely watered down. It can potentially get a chuckle or two out of you, but it won’t have you laugh out loud in the way Deadpool does.
As a comic-book movie, Venom: Let There Be Carnage isn’t the best we’ve seen in recent years, especially not since the release of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Black Widow. As compared to other films of similar genre, Venom: Let There Be Carnage falls flat in comparison – a no brainer movie that you watch with little to no expectations, or for the mid-credits scene that is arguably the best part of the entire experience.
With the first Venom movie barely making it to fans’ top favourites, the sequel does very little to bump favour. Much of the excitement around Venom: Let There Be Carnage were based around Carnage’s debut and the potential of a Spider-Man crossover one day, but with Carnage hardly bringing carnage to the screen, there’s very little that fans can expect out of future movies – regardless if bigger threats like Toxin were to make an appearance or not.
The Venomverse cannot depend on teases of a crossover with friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man for much longer because fans will get fed up eventually. Unless the next Venom movie were to receive a bigger budget and a much bolder rating, the Venomverse could be pretty much dead.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
Venom: Let There Be Carnage sees the debut of long-awaited comic book character Carnage, but is hardly worth all the rage.
Story - 5/10
Direction - 5/10
Characterisation - 5/10
Geek Satisfaction - 4/10