Movie Review: Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Full disclosure: I really did not like 2018’s Venom, this film’s predecessor. I found it silly, tonally inconsistent, and quite literally incomplete. Somehow that movie made $850 Million and the studio greenlit a sequel almost immediately. After three long years, the sequel, Venom: Let Be Carnage is here. Directed by motion-capture legend Andy Serkis, this film manages to be marginally better than the original, but that’s not really saying much.
The best things about this duology are the performances that Tom Hardy gives as the lead character Eddie ABrock and his symbiote, Venom. Tom Hardy is once again effervescent, lively and the dynamic between his character and Venom is just as good, if not better than the original film. Following the events of the first film, a rather chaotic detente has been formed between Eddie and Venom and the first 30 minutes are genuinely hilarious, with Venom’s dark humour contrasting well with Eddie’s more jittery personality. At a brisk 90 minutes, you would think the film’s pacing would be snappy but the flick still meanders, not coming to life until the introduction of Cletus Kasady/ Carnage, an unctuous serial killer played by Woody Harrelson. His introduction is what kicks off the ‘plot’ of this movie but there’s really not a lot going on here. The circumstances around the creation of his symbiote, Carnage are lazy, and the resultant CGI-powered antics are severely limited by the film’s PG-13 rating.
The ‘Carnage’ advertised is little more than property damage. The action is at least much more coherent than the original, with credit going to frequent Martin Scorsese cinematographer, Robert Richardson.
Throughout, there are brief glimmers of a better film. In an early confrontation between Brock and Kasady — which the script bends over backward to accommodate — the convicted murderer gestures to our uncomfortable fascination with true-crime (“People love serial killers!”); there’s a striking animated sequence depicting the horrors of Kasady’s past; Peggy Lu’s scene-stealing shopkeeper Mrs. Chen shows how fun Venom’s body-swapping conceit could be. But it’s frequently frustrating, too — the mega-talented Naomie Harris picks up the squandered-talent baton from Riz Ahmed as Kasady’s equally evil lover Frances; the very nature of Carnage is ill-defined; Williams’ Anne largely spends the final act gagged and bound in a box. As with the original film, there are redeeming qualities to this film.
It’s genuinely funny at times, and up until the final 30 or so minutes I was fine with the film. However, the complete collapse of the film in the third act was borderline criminal. I really couldn’t care about what I was seeing and why should I? This entire film feels like a marginally better waste of time than the first one. Let
There Be No More.