Sony’s Spider-Verse started back in 2018 with the release of Venom—which I thought was okay, nothing amazing. By far the best part of the 2018 film was the incredible chemistry between Eddie Brock and Venom (played and voiced by Tom Hardy). Venom: Let There Be Carnage expands on the tumultuous relationship in an amazing way, because other than the intense action of a superhero film, this film is also a… queer coded rom-com?
Venom: There Be Carnage starts off with a look at the relationship between Cletus Kasady (played by Woody Harrelson) and Francis Barrison (played by Naomie Harris)!and their unstable mental states. After one of Eddie’s articles condemns Kasady to the death sentence, Kasady escapes prison with the help of a red symbiote, named Carnage, and goes on a vengeful murder spree in order to reunite with his love. It is up to Eddie and Venom to put aside their couple squabbles and put a stop to the terror they unleashed.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage is very similar to the original movie: so much so, if you didn’t like the first film, you probably won’t like this one either. A lot of dialogue remains very campy (some lines with great comedic success, others groan inducing) and the action is, once again, hard to follow with it mostly involving CGI characters in dark lighting and lots of quick camera movements. While these were huge negatives I had with the first Venom, the new direction under Andy Serkis definitely improved these areas, and a lot of that was because Serkis and Sony embraced the campiness and moved away from that dark and serious tone of the first.
While this film is an improvement, it does come with a new issue that the previous movie did not have: its runtime. Venom: Let There Be Carnage comes in at a surprisingly short 90 minutes. While many films thrive with shorter runtimes, this is not one of those films. The movie moves at a rapid pace and many scenes are not given time to breathe or flesh out. Several characters’ motivations are made clear, but are too quickly passed over for them to hold any weight. A big reason this film feels more like a rom-com than anything else is that the Eddie/Venom relationship is the only thing in the movie given time to flesh out.
Overall, this film is just okay. It has a lot of great visual noise if that’s what you’re looking for, and the Eddie/Venom banter and relationship is very enjoyable. I would say if you don’t have any interest in this movie, don’t bother going out to see it, BUT the mid-credit scene is a MUST WATCH and is single-handily worth the price of admission. So, if you don’t want to watch the film, I would suggest going in to see another movie (or take a nap) and just walking in/waking up for the credits—you do not want to go without seeing it.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, some strong language, disturbing material, and suggestive references.
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