Directed by motion capture acting legend Andy Serkis, Venom: Let there be Carnage is one of the most awaited films for comic-book fans this year. A sequel to the well-received first film, 2018’s Venom, which introduced us to reporter Eddie Brock and his blood lusty parasitic symbiote counterpart, Venom, the second instalment hopes to up the ante.
We review Venom: Let There Be Carnage.
A quick recap.
In the first movie, we saw Eddie coming to grips with sharing his body with an extraterrestrial who also wishes to cannibalise every other human they lay eyes on. The banter between the two was quite amusing and actor Tom Hardy, who nobody doubted would do anything less than a brilliant job, proved himself to be up to the task of playing the titular Spiderman villain.
Venom: Let there be Carnage puts another one of the most popular symbiotes from Marvel Comics, Carnage, at odds with Eddie and Venom. The host of Carnage is serial killer Cletus Kasady, who was introduced in the previous film’s end credits. Actor Woody Harrelson reprises his role in the sequel.
A little on the origin of symbiotes, also known as Klyntars:
Symbiotes were the creations of the banished Celestial named Knull. They were created as living weapons by Knull in his fight against the other Celestials. The Klyntars later became resentful of their God and confined him in a prison. Although most of the symbiotes seen throughout the comics seem to be blood lusty, some of them are noble-intentioned as well.
Of course, these characters are perhaps the best thing about Venom: Let there be Carnage. Both Tom Hardy and Woody Harrelson deliver superb performances as Eddie and Cletus. The dynamic between Eddie and Venom once again provides the movie with its charm while also serving as the comedic relief in an otherwise dark premise.
While the interactions between Eddie and Venom are fun to watch, they do not do much for the viewer as the other parts of the movie do not pull their weight. The story sometimes seems disjointed and rushed and we often jump from one sequence to the next without context or coherence.
The script tries to humanise Carnage.
In the comics, Cletus is the personification of mindless chaos and hedonism – doing whatever he feels like doing just to satisfy his internal desire of entropy. He’s very much similar to the Joker in that sense and that is a part of his character’s appeal. You never know what he might do next.
In Venom: Let there be Carnage, however, the script has him chasing the ideal of family. He wishes to be reunited with his lover Frances Barrison, who comic book readers would recognise as the alter ego of Shriek. Cletus believes Frances to be the only light in his otherwise miserable life. That is not to say the aforementioned is a bad premise, but it could have been done with a little more conviction and dramatic weight behind it.
Does Venom: Let there be Carnage deliver?
The choreography of Venom: Let there be Carnage kind of hangs in between satisfactory and great as the fight scenes between Venom and Carnage fail to deliver the force and the oomph two super-powered aliens fighting each other should have had. The script fails to develop sufficient motivations for Eddie’s Venom to really go after Carnage full-powered.
In terms of the graphical appeal of the film, the CGI is quite convincing and well done, especially the transition between Cletus and Carnage.
All in all, Venom: Let there be Carnage is a fun film that has all the fun elements (and laughs) from the prequel but does not really build upon it. The film is not bad at all but had more potential, especially since two of the most popular Spider-Man villains take centre stage. It’s a good Friday night popcorn film, but don’t expect too much more.
That said, superhero fans should love it.