Venom: Let There be Carnage Review

By Tyler Quigley

“Venom: Let There be Carnage”  is the sequel to the 2018 film adaptation of Venom, which is considered to be one of the funniest, yet most interesting characters in Marvel Comics. For better or worse, however, Sony has primarily focused on the humorous aspects of Venom in these films as opposed to his more serious and nuanced traits. This is something that is doubled down on in the sequel. While this movie is generally fast-paced with some amazing fight scenes and CGI, it unfortunately sacrificed character development and a cohesive narrative in order to cram in as much zaniness as possible.

Starting with what the film does correctly, the absolute best aspect of the film is the dynamic between Eddie Brock and Venom. The movie plays into the relationship between these two, framing this human reporter and extra-dimensional symbiotic as an old married couple that cannot stop bickering. This is where a majority of the humor comes from, which isn’t an issue at all since the interactions between Eddie and Venom are incredibly funny, well written, and well-acted by Tom Hardy (who also serves as the voice of Venom). Hardy doubles down on both Eddie and Venom’s personalities and performs both roles excellently. Venom also gets his own humorous and emotional moments detached from Eddie, having his own story arc for a decent chunk of the movie. This allows Venom to be a more fleshed out character that can be enjoyed on his own merits, not just in his relationship with Eddie. 

Another character that also is executed well is Cletus Cassidy. Woody Harrelson puts on a great performance as the psychotic serial killer and only becomes more deranged and more entertaining to watch after he bonds with the Carnage symbiote. 

Other good things about this movie are the fight scenes and CGI. The symbiotes look more “real” than they did with the first “Venom” and the fight scenes have more flair to them, with the climactic battle between Carnage and Venom at the church being a genuinely amazing fight. 

Unfortunately for this movie, everything good about it has already been said. It’s a blessing that Eddie, Venom, and Cletus are all entertaining characters that take up so much screen time, as the side characters in this movie are uninteresting at best and downright annoying at worst. Eddie’s ex, Anne, regresses from a fairly interesting main character to the simple damsel in distress by the end of the movie, with most of her scenes being pointless to the plot. Her new husband Dan isn’t even his own character and just acts as a punching bag for Eddie and Venom to take out their anger on for “stealing” Anne. 

Aside from Cletus, none of the new characters are memorable. Despite being in the title, Carnage, unlike Venom, has zero personality or motive aside from “kill Venom”, which makes him surprisingly forgettable when combined with his lack of a distinctive origin. This absence of development makes Carnage simply a vessel for Cletus to cause mayhem which, while fun, misses so much of what makes the symbiotes interesting. This is especially jarring given how great the dynamic between Eddie and Venom is in this film. Cletus’s girlfriend, Scream, is a bland and frankly annoying secondary antagonist that doesn’t have any interesting interactions with Cletus or Carnage.

 Another thing this movie suffers from is a lack of character development across the board.  No one is different from how they are at the beginning of the movie, which leaves the audience with the feeling that the movie didn’t matter. The movie tries to get Eddie and Venom to learn some “we actually need each other” message, but it’s so hollow and is resolved so quickly that it just feels like something just to pad this movie’s short runtime. 

This movie has a story in the loosest term, but nothing to actually engage the audience. There doesn’t seem to be a sense of urgency for the first half of the film and the movie haphazardly gets the characters where they need to go without any thought. 

One last criticism of the movie is its rating. “Venom: Let There be Carnage” should be rated R and not rated PG-13. All of the best aspects of the movie would be elevated with an R rating and would help further overshadow the problems with the movie. The dialogue between Eddie and Venom would be much funnier with more violent language and jokes. More importantly, though, the fight scenes, especially with Carnage, could be extremely violent. This could show the audience how dangerous Carnage is compared to Venom (something only told to us in the PG-13 version) and allow for more extravagant and outlandish fights. Being rated R would allow the best aspects of this movie to shine even brighter, which unfortunately means that being rated PG-13 makes these best aspects duller.

Overall, if you want a dumb and funny superhero movie, this movie is for you. If you want to see a movie that makes you think even the smallest amount, don’t see this movie. “Venom: Let There be Carnage ” is simply dumb fun, with an equal emphasis on both the dumb and fun.

Consensus: 2/5

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