Let There Be Carnage brings back the symbiotic duo of Venom and Eddie Brock (played by Tom Hardy). The sequel stem from the killer after-credits scene of the original movie. Introducing Venom’s archnemeses Carnage played by Woody Harrelson. The CGI intensive film is direct by non-other than the master of CGI character Andy Serkis. I felt that little piece of trivia was quite appropriate.
The movie is obviously about the face-off between the two vile symbiotes. Like in the comics Carnage is born of the back of Venom. His human host Cletus Cassidy being a bonified serial killer makes Carnage far worse than Venom could ever be. Unlike the comics, his movie origin is tweaked to better adapt it to Venoms world. Personally, I preferred this origin. Nothing really against the original, just a preference. I felt it just made more sense. I also prefer Woody’s updated hairstyle, the other felt…. A bit whacks.
Building on the Past
The movie builds on the foundation of its predecessor in the best of ways. Venom is offered more screen time and uses it to deliver killer one-liners. While some may argue that this Venom is watered down as opposed to the comic book version, I found the dynamic of Eddie/Venom to be the highlight of the film. This Venom never gets to be the villain, not really. He was immediately thrust into the anti-hero role. This is something that hurts the franchise. Had he been introduced as a villain and defeated, only to rise as an anti-hero and eventually Lethal Protector. And this is where Studio’s push to get the movie made faster hurts. Good Stories are dropped for cash.
The movie is on a grand scale like Spider-Man, but rather runs on a smaller narrative. By keeping it smaller, it helps drive the close relationship between the two leads. While the scope may be smaller the epic battles are not. We get much better battles this time around.
Venom gets A Woody
Let There Be Carnage finally gives Venom a proper villain to go toe to toe with. And steers the franchise into the right zone. Woody Harrelson shines as Cassidy. The character development is very much on point as it takes the best bits from the previous movie and just dials it up. There are some very safe directorial decisions that are clearly visible, but it doesn’t hurt the movie too much. With today’s runtime of superhero movies going into excess of four hours, it is actually a relief that Venom clocks in just over 90 minutes. Unlike its predecessor, it doesn’t have an overly complex start to the story. Also not having the weight of tying into other films does wonder. Saga tie-ins are great but sometimes a movie just needs its own little playground. Venom is a great example of this.
In the end, Venom 2 is a neatly wrapped package that delivers on its end credits scene. Speaking of which, it also gives us another great teaser. A game-changer… one that will take the odd couple to new horizons and put a very sharp tooth grin on your face.