Venom: Let There Be Carnage is a fine follow-up to 2018’s Venom. That movie was part of Sony’s newly named “Sony’s Spider-Man Universe”. Now, we have this sequel that tries to amp up the stakes but never really feels like a threat to our “hero”. The movie, directed by Andy Serkis isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s not given any time to breath. The cast, highlighted by Tom Hardy, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Williams, and Naomie Harris does an admirable job with the material they’re given; but once again, that runtime strangles any sort of character development or performances they can give.
This isn’t a bad film or an unentertaining film by any means though. Venom: Let There Be Carnage is packed to the brim with action, which is one of the only things helped by that 90 minute runtime. It’s also a much funnier film than it’s predecessor. Now that we have the time with Eddie Brock and Venom, their relationship has grown. Through it all though, the film does feel like it could have used a bit more development and time.
The Bad Of Venom: Let There Be Carnage
You’re sitting there in the theater enjoying Venom and Carnage go at it, and then it’s over. Everything in the movie is very abrupt and it all happens very quickly. It feels like the plot is on fast-forward and the action does as well. Nothing is allowed to breath and the audience isn’t either. All the issues in this film come back to the runtime. If the movie had more time to work with, the characters would be better developed. The action would be less all over the place and it would benefit everyone involved. We’re given very little to work with between the relationship of Cletus and Frances. That one in particular seems to change on a dime in the final act of the film.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage probably would never have been rated R. It should have been though. Everything about the film feels like it needs that extra oomph. Venom and Carnage eating people with quick cuts off to a different scene makes it feel like you’re watching an R-rated film that’s been edited for television.
Outside of that, it all comes back to the 90 minutes that the film is given. Stephen Graham‘s Detective Mulligan goes a little beyond the believability of the role. Characters make mistakes, they do dumb things, they do things outside of their job, but him not remembering or knowing that he shot and killed someone or not, is not believable.
There’s A Whole Lot Of Good In Venom: Let There Be Carnage Though
Tom Hardy is a major highlight here. He carries the entire movie just like he did in the first one. His relationship with Venom is where most of the comedy comes from. The banter between the two of them is like an old married couple at this point. When Carnage and Venom actually get to fighting each other, it’s the best part of the film.
Woody Harrelson as Cletus Kassidy is also a pretty good foil to Eddie Brock. He’s locked up for a good portion of the film. When Carnage takes over, the dynamic between Cletus and it is interesting. The scenes involving Kassidy’s mental state and his history give us the bit of character development that we need. He’s the only one that really gets any of it in the film, so it’s solid to make us feel for him.
Bigger, Badder, Less Character Development Than The First
This film feels like there’s some version of it that’s much better and about 15-20 minutes longer. It’s likely to be overshadowed by it’s mid-credits scene (NO SPOILERS HERE). The story of Eddie Brock and Venom is the best part of this one, they would do some good bringing that more to the forefront in later films.
This is not an incredibly memorable or noteworthy movie but it entertains well. The action scenes are sure to please people. The characters all do their jobs and it’s filled with good performances from the leads. Carnage simultaneously feels eminently unbeatable and beatable from scene to scene. His introduction makes him feel like no one can stop him, but the third act somewhat neuters him. It feels like this could have been better used as a villain for a non-Venom character that’s less indestructible.
You’ll have plenty of fun watching Venom: Let There Be Carnage but it’s not much more than that.
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