The following contains spoilers for “Venom: Let There Be Carnage”
“Venom: Let There Be Carnage” released exclusively to theaters on Oct. 1. The film serves as a sequel to “Venom,” with Tom Hardy returning as Eddie Brock and Venom. Andy Serkis replaces Rueben Fleischer as director.
To summarize the film, the alien symbiote Venom continues to live in symbiosis with Eddie. The two struggle to cohabitate and deal with Venom’s craving for human brains. Eddie continues his interviews with serial killer Cletus Kasady from the previous film’s post-credit scene. Unable to control himself, Venom attacks Cletus and Cletus bites back.
After Cletus bit Eddie, the symbiote mixed with his blood and created his own monster alter-ego, Carnage. After he escapes from prison, Cletus works to reunite with his childhood girlfriend, while Carnage plans to kill Venom.
Carnage stands out for his violent nature. The design of Carnage is larger and more disturbing than Venom. His grotesque look continues with his red color that resembles muscle tissue.
Although Venom has his fair share of violent behavior, Carnage takes it to the next level. He kills hundreds of people without thinking twice. His aggression extends towards Cletus’ girlfriend Shriek. Shriek’s advanced screaming ability hurts the symbiotes, who are sensitive to noise. Carnage constantly threatens to kill her despite Cletus telling him not to.
Meanwhile, Venom’s attack on Cletus leads to a fight between him and Eddie, which is the highlight of the film. The two have a break-up scene reminiscent of a romantic comedy, with Venom throwing all of Eddie’s possessions out of the window.
Venom decides to leave Eddie and take over other people’s bodies. He eventually finds himself at a gay bar and “comes out of the Eddie closet.” Meanwhile, Eddie must work to locate Cletus without help from Venom.
Audiences resonate with their bond and want to see them happy together. Venom and Eddie go on their own separate journeys to become their own people before Eddie’s ex-fiancee Anne helps reunite them. Despite not needing each other, their friendship proves important to both of them.
Their time apart makes their reunion special and exciting before they work to take down Carnage. They defeat Carnage because he and Cletus cannot work together like Eddie and Venom can. Eddie and Venom then escape to a tropical island and make a decision to become the Lethal Protector.
The pacing of the film works well. The film’s runtime of 90 minutes moves fast. There are absolutely no filler scenes. Scenes jump from the gorey Carnage to the funny and colorful Venom. The tone shifts back and forth until the final battle.
These constant tonal shifts would not usually work, but Serkis makes the contrast clear. Something is always happening on screen and it keeps the film interesting. Audiences never have a moment for boredom and the shifts never take away from the story.
Despite these highlights, the film contains a couple major flaws. The writing for the women in the film was incredibly disappointing. Anne had no purpose in the film. She brought Eddie and Venom back together but the scenes had no significance to her character. Anybody could substitute her scenes and it would not make a difference in the film.
Eventually, Anne is taken hostage to motivate Eddie. This trope of the hero saving the girl he loves is tired and overplayed. Audiences have seen this same plot device over and over again for years. There are plenty of ways to motivate Eddie without diminishing Anne’s character.
For example, Eddie could find motivation through wanting to protect the people of San Francisco. To include Anne into the story, she could encourage Eddie and Venom to use their powers for good. Then, to incorporate her into the final battle, she could help distract Carnage while Eddie and Venom attack him. Her character was underutilized and feels incomplete overall.
The other leading woman is Shriek. Shriek’s power is sonic screaming which contrasts well with the symbiotes sensitivity to noise. However, the movie does not use this power to the best of its ability. Shriek’s main purpose is to capture Anne and annoy Carnage. With such interesting powers, the film would be better if it utilized Shriek.
The most disappointing part of the film comes after the credits. Venom is about to show Eddie what symbiotes go through when the room around them changes. The television shows J. Jonah Jameson exposing Tom Holland’s Peter Parker as Spider-Man. Eddie and Venom have entered the world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Venom and the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Spider-Man come from completely different worlds of film. The Venom movies are reminiscent of early 2000s superhero films. They are campy and do not take themselves too seriously. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is more snarky and it takes its threats more seriously. The combination of these two universes makes no sense tonally.
This mixture of their worlds is clearly pushed from Sony Pictures. Sony Pictures has no faith in its properties. They constantly squeeze as many villains and heroes as possible into their films in order to create a quick cash-grab. The result is usually a bad film. They previously put multiple villains in “Spider-Man 3” and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” the two lowest rated Spider-Man movies by critics.
The “Venom” series works as its own thing. A scene at the beginning of the film demonstrates this. Cletus writes about his childhood in a letter to Eddie. While writing the letter, he kills a spider. This shows that despite being a Spider-Man villain in the comics, this story does not involve the hero. Unfortunately, the post-credit scene removes the significance of this scene.
Overall, “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” is a comedic and interesting story. Expanding on the relationships and gore, the film takes what was great about “Venom” and amplifies it. Excluding the implications of the post-credit scene, the film only falls short in its writing of female characters. Anyone in the market for a ridiculous yet fun superhero flick should check out this movie.
Release Date: Oct. 1
Director: Andy Serkis
Production Company: Sony Pictures
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars