REVIEW | Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Let’s get it straight. Venom: Let There Be Carnage, the sequel to 2018’s hit movie Venom, is a funny and fresh take on the lethal protector. I say, fresh because it veered away from the Eddie Brock and the alien symbiote Venom we know from the comics. For a casual moviegoer, not being burdened by decades of comics history could be a good thing.
But the sequel sorely misses the edge Venom had in the comics and even in 1994’s Spider-Man: The Animated Series and 2008’s Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon. As far as live-action adaptations go, the closest version is Topher Grace’s version in the poorly received Spider-Man 3 in 2007. Gone is the vengeful mood I would associate with Venom and Eddie Brock.
It is a fun movie, seeing the symbiote and Eddie fight over food, and Venom thinking out loud what Eddie should be saying. Journalism is not the most luxurious profession in the world so I worry about the bill for Eddie’s house repairs whenever the symbiote throws a tantrum or prepares a breakfast. Tom Hardy made Eddie Brock and Venom endearing characters on screen.
The supporting cast though feels has to move on, not only from Eddie, but also from the whole movie. Michelle Williams reprises her role as Anne, Eddie’s ex, who then tells him about her engagement. The operating word here is ex and while I enjoyed her being She-Venom in the first movie, the Venom franchise also has to let go of the character if there will ever be a third Venom film. Williams is no longer in Dawson’s Creek. At least give the Emmy-winning actress good material to work on apart from being kidnapped by the villains.
I’m afraid the title also does not live up to its name “Let There Be Carnage”. Carnage is a murderer but the amount of gore was toned done in the movie. It could be the screen time or the audience rating the studio is after, but I did not feel scared by the villain at all. Woody Harrelson knows the assignment, however. He is a good Cletus Kasady, but the carnage part of his codename is lacking. Carnage should have been a Texas Chainsaw Massacre-type of supervillain.
I felt bad for Naomi Harris’ Shriek too. There was one line in the third act that I thought her character disrupted the believability of the story. Shriek suddenly blurted that the red symbiote was being excessive, regardless of previous scenes where she had seen Carnage/Cletus kill people. Carnage being an unwelcomed third wheel to their Bonnie-and-Clyde could have worked as a subplot if there had been enough build-up.
Despite its flaws, Venom: Let There Be Carnage is a good popcorn movie. Watch out for another symbiote host from the comics - with Toxin being teased to appear, and a mid-credits scene linking Venom to the upcoming Marvel Studios film, Spider-Man: No Way Home.
The verdict: 7/10
Venom: Let There Be Carnage is now showing in Philippine cinemas.