I’m going to start with an unpopular opinion: I enjoyed “Venom.” Cinematically, it was not great, but the witty banter between main character Eddie Brock and his alter ego, Venom, kept my attention. Going into “Venom: Let There Be Carnage,” I hoped for just that: a growing relationship between the two with a twisted villain to fight. Luckily, I was happy with the outcome.
Reprising their 2018 characters, the movie stars Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock/Venom, Michelle Williams as Anne Weying, and Woody Harrelson as the villain, Cletus Kasady. Some background for viewers who have not yet seen “Venom,” Eddie links with an alien symbiote, Venom, who begins to enjoy living on Earth after some time. Unfortunately, Venom isn’t the only symbiote; there are others that are much more vicious and dangerous. Together, Eddie and Venom work to be the “Lethal Protector.”
At the end of “Venom,” we meet Cletus Kasady, a serial killer. He is only willing to speak with Eddie Brock about his crimes. With the help of Venom, Eddie and the police uncover multiple bodies of his victims, which sentence Cletus to death by lethal injection. In a rage, Cletus bites Eddie, whose blood creates an offspring symbiote known as Carnage. Carnage/Cletus and Venom/Eddie face off in a high casualty war leading to victory and defeat. Eddie is forced to run away from the police and hide on a remote island.
This movie takes place three years after the previous film. Eddie and Venom have developed a stronger bond, but also begin to bother each other. The entire movie focuses on their relationship. It was great, and exactly the type of humor I wanted as I watched the movie. They both grow tired of each other and split up, but later decide they still need each other. It reminded me of every rom-com made, which perfectly characterized their relationship. The dialogue was the best part of the film. They argue like a couple, calling each other nasty names, but eventually have the cliche “I need you, you need me” speech. Unlike other movie couples, they are entertaining, which was the best part of the movie.
The biggest issue I had was that the story was rushed. In a 97 minute movie, it’s hard to accomplish everything. The movie begins with a flashback of a broken childhood romance, “mutations,” and the Ravencroft Institute. Cletus meets his lover Shriek at St. Estes, where unwanted children are sent; they are separated and long wait for their reunion.
Shriek, played by Naomie Harris, is referred to with the word “mutations.” Until now, mutants are known for being in the X-Men universe and have been strictly off-bounds for any other Marvel production. Could it potentially be foreshadowing the future of mutants in other Marvel movies? Who knows. The legal rights for these characters are like a maze; no one from the outside knows what’s happening. My issue with this is that they never fully explain the term; it’s brought up once and left for the rest of the movie. Something this important should be given more screen time, but as I said, the plot was rushed.
Next, the Ravencroft Institute is where Shriek is sent to have her powers contained. Ravencroft is essentially Marvel’s Arkham Asylum, and every super-villain from Electro to Doc Ock has been held there. It has been shown in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” but aside from that, this is the most recent film appearance. It would have been nice to see some more inmates, just as a teaser for what’s to come, but this is looked past; instead, they focused solely on Shriek and Cletus.
Those were just a few of the examples, and they occurred in just the first 20 minutes. Looking forward, they show Cletus obtaining Carnage’s powers but never having the cycle of confusion, anger, and understanding that Eddie had. In between, they show “Venom” (2018) characters Anne and Dan, her fiance, giving them essential roles but never fully exploring their characters. It was a bit frustrating seeing time put into characters that didn’t need to be seen again. Since there was a bit of a disconnect between the movies, director Andy Serkis wanted to get some repetition.
Overall, I don’t think Serkis created this movie to be a cinematic masterpiece, but more as just a fun movie where he was able to express his humor and experience with motion capture. Both were done pretty well, but lacked a sense of “cohesiveness” in the final product. Including a longer runtime, and elaborating on some of the comic relevance and the future of Venom would have really brought this movie to the next level. Regardless of some of its flaws, I would highly recommend this movie to anyone looking for a super “anti” hero comedy.