(ARTICLE ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON OCTOBER 7, 2021)
Arts & Culture Editor
“Venom: Let There Be Carnage” takes place pretty shortly after the first film “Venom.” If you are planning on watching this movie, I suggest you watch the first one immediately before the second one. Because if you are like me and do not remember much about the first Venom movie, you are going to be lost due to the callbacks from the first one.
The second Venom movie I found to be not as enjoyable as the first one even with the new one’s better direction.
The first movie starts out as a serious drama in which star reporter Eddy Brock (Tom Hardy) investigates Carton Drake (Riz Ahmed) and his work at the Life Foundation. While investigating Brock gets his body invaded by an amoeba known as “Venom” which creates this symbiotic relationship between the two, giving Brock super human strength and a taste for human brains.
And I remember that the movie had no sense of direction, earlier in the movie it is a drama, then it turns into a buddy-cop comedy between Brock and Venom, turns into a horror movie, back to buddy-cop, then to classic Marvel action movie before ending back into a comedy.
The comedy bits from the first movie, though I am not sure if they were intended, is what I found to make the first movie really enjoyable. Like other Marvel movies the dialogue is usually light hearted and campy, even though this is a movie based on a comic book character who eats humans.
In “Let There Be Carnage” they found a sense of direction. This movie is filled with comedic bits and playful bantering between Venom and Eddy Brock. But there is no real story line and they throw in a couple bombastic action sequences throughout.
One scene towards the end is reminiscent of Marvel’s “Shang Chi” scaffolding fight scene, except it is nowhere near as fun.
Even though this time around they stuck with the comedic parts of Venom, they never really landed. The jokes are all slapstick vulgarities that maybe its rating (PG-13) would suggest are funny. One scene while Eddy is writing a story on his laptop he and Venom get into an argument and Venom takes control of his body and just keeps typing “dik dik dik dik dik dik dik dik dik dik…” Those are the types of jokes you’ll be getting in this movie.
As for the antagonist and sub-titular character of the movie Carnage, or Cletus Kasady played by Woody Harrleson, there is much left to be desired. Cletus is a serial killer who has been put on death row when Venom and Eddy Brock discover clues about the whereabouts of missing bodies that are Cletus’ victims. Before Cleatus is sent to the chair, Brock portraying star reporter once again interviews Cleatus in which there is an altercation between the two, leaving Cleatus to bite Brock and tasting his blood, therefore infecting himself with an alien amoeba known as “Carnage.”
There is not much to the character of Cleatus, other than he is creepy and violent. Carnage and Venom are supposedly the two most gruesome characters featured in the Spiderman universe, something that could have fulfilled the dramatic or suspenseful lull that is featured in the movie “Let There Be Carnage.” Due to its PG-13 rating you don’t really ever get the sense of being afraid of Carnage, or even being afraid of Cleatus. You just see a weird little sicko burning down a house and flipping cars, breaking down walls without real “carnage” despite the film’s title.
“Venom: Let There Be Carnage” is a movie that just happens without provoking anything from viewers. None of the jokes ever really land: the movie might have grabbed one cheap laugh from me but that was really it. There is no strong story line to care about. Its antagonist isn’t really frightening or compelling, and the campy dialogue makes it seem like Venom is doing his best Starlord impression from “Guardians of The Galaxy” instead of being a cannibalistic parasite. This movie doesn’t have the humor or charm of the first one that made Venom not good, not bad, just fun. However “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” is a movie that is not good, not fun, just bad.