Venom: Let There Be Carnage – Review

Venom Let There Be Carnage2018’s Venom definitely seemed to divide audiences. They either loved the brash, over-the-top symbiote doing gags to camera or they hated it. After all, it is rather far removed from Todd McFarlane’s source material, which is dark and violent.

And – being honest – if you hated the first outing of Eddie Brock and his newly acquired friend, you’re probably going to feel the same way about this sequel. The one liners are back, as is the slapstick as the unlikely duo battle to save San Francisco from all out … carnage.

The film picks up where Venom left off, with Andy Serkis replacing Ruben Fleischer in the director’s chair. Eddie (Tom Hardy) is still, quite frankly, a bit of a loser. Anne (Michelle Williams) is now engaged to Dan (Reid Scott) and his journalism career is all but gone. The chance to interview notorious serial killer, Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson) before he is executed could present the chance to get his life back on track. But is the presence of Venom preventing him from clearing his head and getting his act together?

There is plenty of fun to be had in Venom: Let There Be Carnage. It’s the kind of film that truly allows you to switch your brain off and just enjoy the ride. I still think it’s really funny when Venom does his little asides to camera – sorry, haters – and they are really ramped up in this sequel. There’s also funny skits with Sonny and Cher (a pair of chickens), Venom making breakfast for Eddie or the sight of Venom wrapped in glow sticks at a Halloween party. His one liners – “No one likes you, Dan!”, “They’re in PRISON!”, “Oh no, that’s a red one!” still make me laugh.

Tom Hardy is good at playing the down-on-his-luck type and, in that sense, he offers a very human side to Eddie (literally). He’s definitely the straight man to Venom’s nonsense and Hardy is, once again, great in the lead role. Woody Harrelson is clearly just enjoying himself playing the bad guy. Whilst Cletus is the merciless serial killer with the shocking back story, Carnage is just evil. Harrelson is great at giving off that totally unhinged vibe and his casting makes perfect sense for the role. The scene where Carnage escapes from his execution and rampages through the prison is just pure, popcorn blockbuster fun.

Michelle Williams returns (with a better wig this time, although whatever budget was given to her, Harrelson seems to have lost out on, with a series of shocking ‘dos) but Anne is rather flat character and, once again, she isn’t given too much to do. Even worse is Naomie Harris as Frances / Shriek. Her acting is so hammy and over the top that her character – who is clearly meant to be a threat – is chew the insides of your cheeks cringe worthy. Stephen Graham does a passable American accent as Detective Mulligan but, again, isn’t given too much to do.

Venom Let There Be CarnageThe CGI still feels a bit ropey at times which is odd, since there’s clearly budget there for explosions and shoot outs and everything else that goes along with a villain called Carnage. The final battle in the cathedral is all a bit dark, with vertigo inducing camerawork, meaning you can’t really see what’s going on. And, at many points throughout, this film would rival Bohemian Rhapsody for terrible editing.

All that being said, the dynamic between Hardy and Harrelson is what carries this film and, whether they are in human or symbiote form, they turn in really enjoyable performances.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage isn’t going to be for everyone. It’s not your typical Marvel movie, nor is it particularly faithful to the source material. It looks like they are setting it up for a third movie so, for those of us who enjoy this particular brand of mindless entertainment, that’s something to look forward to.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage is now screening in UK cinemas.

Mary Munoz
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