Venom: Let There Be Carnage is a 2021 American superhero film produced by Columbia Pictures in association with Marvel and Tencent Pictures. Distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing, it is the second film in Sony's Spider-Man Universe and the sequel to Venom (2018). The film is directed by Andy Serkis from a screenplay by Kelly Marcel, based on a story she wrote with Tom Hardy who stars as Eddie Brock / Venom alongside Michelle Williams, Naomie Harris, Reid Scott, Stephen Graham, and Woody Harrelson.
Eddie Brock struggles to adjust to his new life as the host of the alien symbiote Venom, which grants him super-human abilities in order to be a lethal vigilante. Brock attempts to reignite his career by interviewing serial killer Cletus Kasady, who becomes the host of the symbiote Carnage and escapes prison after a failed execution.
So the good news is that Venom 2 is better than the first film. The bad news is that it just barely achieves that. As I said in my original review I'm not a comic book historian. Outside of Venom a lot of these characters are brand new to me, so I can't speak on accuracy. But to best sum up this film Venom: Let There Be Carnage will be remembered for its post credit scene and nothing else. It's a very good post credit scene that I really want to talk about, but this is a film that will mostly be forgotten except for the scene that happens after the folk.
This film is weird. It's not a great film, but I was far from disappointed, mainly because my expectations were pretty low. The first film was bad, but it did enough to be average. This film improved in some aspects and got even worse in others, but in the end it's just painfully average.
I thought the worst part of the film was the plot and how it was structured. This goes without saying, but this was not a great script. The first hour is a buddy buddy rom com. The film doesn't actually get going until the midpoint, nearly an hour in. I actually checked the time and realized we were halfway through the film, and the film isn't that long to begin with at 90 minutes.
Half of the runtime is dedicated to Eddie and Venom fighting, but nothing actually happens. There's no plot in the first half of the film and it becomes a little boring. The first half relies heavily on the comedy and banter between the two, but the comedy is hit or miss with a fair amount unfortunately missing. I'm not usually one to criticize comedy for not working 100% of the time, but when that's all you have and it doesn't work, there's nothing left.
The Eddie and Venom relationship worked so well in the first film because of the novelty of it. They were learning who each other were and they were discovering themselves and their new abilities. That was the dessert of that film even though it overshadowed the rest of the film. Here it's treated as the main course, and unfortunately, it's not enough.
The film recycles a lot from the first. They redo Eddie being a loser, they redo Annie breaking up with him, and they redo the relationship with Venom. If they would've kept all this to the first act then the film would've worked a lot better.
When the midpoint hits the plot finally kicks into gear, but by that time I had already checked out. It takes an hour for Eddie to finally have a goal and do something. While the second half of the film is admittedly better than the first, it still struggles mainly because it's rushed.
Nothing happens in the first half and the second half is stuffed and rushed. It seems like a simple fix, but the writing simply isn't there. There's only one writer credited with this film, and Tom Hardy had a story by credit along with the creator of the character. There has to be a bunch of uncredited writers, or a lot of producers intervening because it feels like there's a hundred voices trying to tell a different story. There's the rom com, the Eddie and Annie love triangle, another love story, and a random cop that doesn't do much.
This film puts plot in the background for comedy, but the comedy isn't nearly strong enough to justify it. Again the writing is bad. Kasady starts the plot at the midpoint and he has one goal. There's ton of exposition building this one thing up so that's what the rest of the film should be about, but no instead he achieves his goal immediately. So the rest of the film is built on nothing more than unnecessary cliches. I hate crapping on writers but this was an awful script.
The more I think about this film, the less I like it. One thing it did do better was the villain. Kasady wasn't great, but compared to the last film, he's a lot better and is actually given some depth. The problem is that this is only effective for 10 minutes because that's all they build his character up for.
I love Andy Serkis and they definitely brought him on to help out with the CGI. Even then Carnage at times looks like silly string flapping around. Speaking of Carnage, I was very disappointed with his character. He didn't do anything and when he did the PG rating definitely hurt those scenes. For a film called Let There Be Carnage, he was barely in it. Shriek wasn't a character, she was a plot device that you could see from a mile away. There's a lot of dumb stuff in the final fight, and by final fight I mean the third one because there isn't a lot of action in this film. But that scene was filmed a lot better than the first one, but even that's not saying much considering how low of a bar it had to beat.
I didn't hate this film despite how negative I'm being it's not a terrible film. It's competent enough to be average but nothing more. I'm mostly disappointed that Sony got a second chance with this film but wasted it. The first one wasn't the best received but it made a ton of money so we got a sequel, but this film makes the exact same mistakes the first one made.
This film isn't good enough to be remembered, but it isn't bad enough to turn off. It's simply stuck in phase of mediocrity along with the first. I do think this is better than the first one, but the first one I could put on as background noise. I don't see myself ever watching the film again. Overall, if you liked the first one, you're going to like this one. If you didn't like it, then you won't like this one. To me, Venom: Let There Be Carnage is painfully mediocre.
The acting was solid. Tom Hardy is great as Eddie Brock. He really sells that character and he has great chemistry with himself. Venom is funny here and there, but he mostly suffers from poor writing.
Woody Harrelson is one of my all time favorite actors. Here he's fine. I think he, like most of this film, suffers from a poor script. He sells his character enough to make the film work. Michelle Williams is a great actress but she's barely in this film, and when she is she doesn't do anything. Naomie Harris is in the exact same boat where she doesn't do anything.
The acting was solid, but the talented cast was unfortunately stuck with a subpar script. Even with that out of all the problems with this film the acting isn't one of them.
The film starts with Venom complaining about them just sitting there and doing nothing. So they argue about this for an hour, and because it's that long I agreed with Venom that they should be doing something.
They go to see Kasady in prison and he bites Eddie. That's how Carnage is born. Again I don't know the comic book history so I'm basing everything on the film, but I think that's extremely stupid. You have to ask, has Eddie not bled since he's been with Venom even after that huge fight in the last film. One excuse they try to make is that Venom heals him up to prevent him from bleeding, but if that's true how did he bleed when Kasady bit him? Things like this break what little immersion the film had.
Anne invites Eddie to dinner just to tell him she's getting married. Who does that? It's such a weird scene that doesn't do much for the story. Are trying to tell us that he's a loser? Well they already did that in not only this film but the last one. It doesn't play into anything plot wise. The characters start in one position and right after they're in the exact same position.
Venom and Eddie fight some more before Venom decides to leave. He goes to a weird rave where he gets a larger body count than Carnage because everybody he gets into dies. He literally walks around killing people.
Finally the midpoint comes and Carnage and Kasady merge and Kasady escapes in a scene held back by the rating. It should've been a brutal scene to show this character off, but instead it holds back to much. The entire film up until this point has build up the relationship between Kasady and Shriek. She's in this hidden facility and he's the only thing he wants. Well he gets it five minutes later. The entire film has built up to this and it's done almost immediately. The scene itself would've been cool but Carnage looked like chewed up gum.
The random cop arrest Eddie, but again nothing happens with it. Then the third act comes, and it's not the best. Carnage kidnaps the random cop because he took Shriek's eye, and Shriek takes Anne to lure Eddie and Venom there. The main fight is based on a conflict that didn't exist until halfway through the film even though we get a ton of exposition about another. Again a pretty written script.
Carnage says he wants to kill Anne but immediately doesn't. Shriek wants to kill the random cop but instead throws him on the floor. The two then fight in a battle of CGI before the plot device that is Shriek does what she was written for and ends the film.
Now to the coolest scene of the film that actually happens after the film goes off. The post credit scene has Eddie laying in a hotel room then he talks about showing Eddie all his knowledge. The room blinks and Spider-Man is on the TV. A Venom/MCU crossover confirmed? Maybe, but I really want to see what comes of this. An additional thing is that Venom is kinda surprised so maybe someone else brought him to that universe also he licks the screen as if he knows who Spider-Man is, so I'm really excited to see what happens. Again the post credit scene is the only scene you'll remember.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage was a mediocre film with a very bad script. The performances were fine and the comedy works at times, but as a whole the film was never exceptional at anything. If you liked the original, you're going to like this one, but if you didn't, you will be very disappointed with this film. Overall this film was painfully average.
© 2021 Royce Proctor Jr