Venom: Let There Be Carnage – Film Review

Courtesy of Sony

I wasn’t into the first Venom at all and I was amazed when it did so well at the box office. Given its commercial success, a sequel was no surprise and it has been doing ridiculously well over in America – but don’t let that make you think it’s particularly good!

Carrying on from the events of the 2018 film, Let There Be Carnage – directed by Andy Serkis – follows journalist Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) as he struggles to adjust to life as the host of the brain-devouring alien symbiote Venom and accept that his ex-fiancee Anne (Michelle Williams) has moved on from their relationship. Imprisoned serial killer Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson) requests to speak with Brock, and during one of his visits, he inadvertently allows the psychopath to become the host of Venom’s chaotic spawn Carnage. Brock and Venom must put a stop to Carnage before he goes on a killing spree.

This film works really well when it’s an oddball buddy comedy because the relationship between Brock and Venom (voiced by Hardy) is its greatest strength. They have excellent chemistry – which is amazing considering Hardy is acting against nothing and responding to his own voice – and are constantly bickering like an old married couple. Their conversations are really funny and made me laugh out loud a lot and Venom is given some hilarious lines of dialogue, although I sometimes struggled to understand what he’s saying.

But the film fails when it inevitably becomes all about the action sequences. Venom isn’t exactly nice to look at, but Carnage is ugly as hell and watching those two battle it out in the final showdown was not pleasing to my eyes. The CGI in these scenes is very messy and it was difficult to follow the fights so I basically tuned out for these sequences. I know it’s a Marvel Comics movie and action is required but I honestly preferred watching the relatively mundane scenes of Brock and Venom simply co-existing.

This sequel is only 97 minutes which is practically unheard of for a comic book movie. Despite the short runtime and the zippy pace, the plot still feels flimsy with a capital F but you can almost forgive the weak storyline as it’s so entertaining and downright silly. The film doesn’t take itself seriously and neither should we.

Given that this is his passion project, it’s no surprise that Hardy is in his element here and excels at both roles. I really loved how Brock and Venom are accepted as a single entity by Anne and shopkeeper Mrs Chen (Peggy Lu) – who has a bigger role this time around – and how they can recognise Venom without Brock. Williams isn’t in the film much but she has a couple of cool scenes and Stephen Graham – as a police detective – is always good value. Harrelson brings his specific brand of wacky unhinged energy to Kasady and Naomie Harris is wasted as his love interest Frances/Shriek.

There are plenty of flaws in Venom: Let There Be Carnage but I can’t deny that it’s a lot of fun and an entertaining watch. I imagine fans are going to enjoy this far more than critics. Make sure you stay for the mid-credits scene.

In cinemas Friday 15th October

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

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