Venom Got It Right The Second Time: Venom: Let There Be Carnage
The Sony film doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is a good thing.
The original Venom was released in 2018 with, at best, mixed reviews; the critics were not expecting anything special, and the fans were wishing for something decent. Then it was let out to the public, and to everyone’s surprise it wasn’t half bad.
Sure it took itself a bit too seriously than it should’ve, and it contained a lackluster plot with a lack of character complexity, but the original got a couple things right: a great casting, good buddy cop energy between Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) and Venom (Tom Hardy), and a whole lot of computer-generated action. The original was a good watch when you just wanted to see some mindless action.
The movie was already assumed to have a sequel due to the end credits scene in Venom, showing Eddie Brock meeting Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson), a locked up deranged serial killer. Kasady ends it by declaring, “There’s gonna be carnage”, an obvious sign of a sequel and a nod to the symbiote that Kasady is linked with in the comics.
The sequel was slated for October 2, 2020 but due to COVID-19, the movie was pushed back to September 24, 2021, and then to October 15, 2021 due to the sudden rises in COVID cases in the US from the delta variant. The good news we did get, though, was that the director was switching from Ruben Fleischer, the original Venom’s director, to Andy Serkis, which meant Serkis could hopefully fix some of the problems in the original film when making the sequel.
Also, Tom Hardy, who played Eddie Brock wonderfully in the first film, would become a bigger part in the production; Hardy co-wrote the story with screenwriter Kelly Marcel, and the two spearheaded the sequel to make sure it was great, The Hollywood Reporter reported, “[Hardy and Marcel] looked at the complaints from critics and examined what audiences liked about the first one, too.”
The sequel capitalizes on the chemistry between Eddie Brock and Venom and takes itself less seriously, leaning into the absurdness of the film, and it has fun with itself. The lackluster plot of the past film is replaced with a well formed plot that displays Harrelson’s spectacular display of Kletus Cassidy and the chemistry the character has between Brock.
The plot is also rather grounded, instead of trying to outdo a fight on a rocketship (what happened in the last film), it worries about Brock’s daily life and working out a good relationship between Brock and Venom. Of course there’s also a serial killer, but he does not feel shoehorned in and makes sense with the relationship they built between Cassidy and Brock.
In the end though, Venom: Let There Be Carnage is a relationship film. Venom and Brock have to work out their differences first before they can fight anyone, and the studio pulled it off as well as they could have. They did limit themselves to less action due to the relationship problems and challenged themselves by trying to juggle the carnage plot and the Venom-Brock relationship.
Overall, the premise of the plot was not the best, but it was executed fairly well; however, the movie is a vast improvement over the last one. The Venom series just needs to find its footing a bit more, so it can work on polishing the premises of the films, but it is definitely one large step closer to that.
Final Score: 6.6/10