Back in 2018, Sony released its first attempt at expanding its Spider-Man universe with the Tom Hardy-led Venom solo film. Directed by Ruben Fleischer, Venom was released to some pretty unflattering reviews, but ultimately did pretty well at the box office with some help overseas. The film earned $856.1 million globally, something that is pretty insane for a project that cost $100-$115 million to make and had bad reviews. A sequel titled Venom: Let There Be Carnage was then greenlit with Woody Harrelson attached to play the villainous symbiote Carnage after appearing in the first film’s post-credits scene as Cletus Kasady. Venom‘s success paved the way for multiple Spider-Man spin-offs, including a Morbius film led by Jared Leto, a Kraven the Hunter film starring Aaron Taylor Johnson and even a Madame Web movie that is expected to further expand the Multiverse.
Venom found a niche for itself to survive by becoming a pivotal part of meme culture the year it came out due to its very hysterical and dumb moments. The buddy cop aspect of the Tom Hardy starrer was a hit with fans around the world and Venom was officially a household name after 2018. When it was announced that legendary actor Andy Serkis would direct the sequel fans were wondering if the film would go a different route but Let There Be Carnage doubles down on everything that made the first one a success. While I didn’t find the first Venom very good, I did have a few laughs with it, so going into Let There Be Carnage I had zero hope for the franchise to have a big change in quality. Boy was I right. I recently got the chance to see Venom: Let There Be Carnage and I wish I was teleported to the part of the Multiverse where I didn’t.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage plays like you sat on a remote and watched a film on the second level of the fast-forward function while on Adderall. The 97-minute runtime leaves little to the imagination and by the third act of the film you feel like you’re on a roller coaster that you’re just begging to get off of. The sequel’s editing and frantic pace is reminiscent of a Safdie brothers film, but not anywhere near as good and bound to give you a migraine. The dynamic between Venom and Eddie Brock somehow gets worse and funnier, but ultimately also pretty annoying. The Venom series reminds me of superhero films from the early 2000s and that isn’t a complement as the genre has evolved so much in the past 21 years.
Although I didn’t enjoy Let There Be Carnage, it had a few good performances and Tom Hardy carries the film on his back. Hardy returns as Eddie Brock/Venom and he brings back the same schizophrenic charm that he had in the first one. The actor’s portrayal is one the few redeemable qualities of the sequel and you will definitely have fun with Eddie and Venom bickering. Venom is a dual role for Hardy as he also voices Brock’s symbiotic headache. Hardy’s voice work is so good that you can’t even tell that it’s him. Yes, I know, his voice is heavily modulated, but you wouldn’t believe that it’s Hardy on a first listen. Michelle Williams is also back as Brock’s ex-girlfriend Anne Weying and whenever she’s on the screen you wonder if the Golden Globe winner will ever get the chance to act.
Venom: Let The Be Carnage wouldn’t be anything without its titular villain and you would think that Woody Harrelson would bring his A-Game but instead he opts to leave it at home and just have fun with a bad film. Harrelson’s Cletus Kasady comes off as a cliche villain. He’s a murderer and there’s something really off in his brain. I’m a huge Woody Harrelson fan and I expected for him to be the saving grace of the sequel, but I was ultimately disappointed. The actor also got the chance to voice Carnage and he barely speaks throughout the entire thing. The sequel had so much potential but it ultimately let me down as a film. I would pass on seeing Venom: Let The Be Carnage until you can see it from the safety of your home.
Overall Thoughts: Tom Hardy’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage is absolutely terrible. The film’s short runtime makes it feel rushed and not worth the effort to go to a theater during a pandemic. If you like the first Venom then you’ll probably enjoy this. If you didn’t like the first one and end up seeing the sequel, just know what you signed up for. Children will definitely enjoy the sequel as I found myself laughing and liking a few key moments. All in all, Venom: Let There Be Carnage was another dumb movie that isn’t worth the price of admission.
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