“Venom: Let There be Carnage” keeps the same energy from the first film, going on a wild adventure that’s a much easier pill to swallow than its predecessor. Picking up directly after the events of the first film, we follow Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) as he attempts to put his life and reputation back together.
Both of Brock’s career as a journalist and his personal life just aren’t going back to normal. A tough feat considering the fact that he shares his body with a parasitic alien symbiote named Venom. His life becomes intertwined with that of murderer Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson), the alter-ego of another alien symbiote named Carnage.
Directed by Andy Serkis, this film excels where the last one fell flat. It wastes no time setting up the villains and thrusting Brock into the action. It also benefits from having a clear and defined tone, which is inherently more silly in nature.
The film humanizes the villains in a way that makes their story relatable, while the villain in the last film was one-dimensional.
The most entertaining aspect of this film is the relationship between Brock and Venom. In a lot of ways, this is a buddy comedy under the guise of the superhero genre. Most of the best moments involve the two arguing like a married couple, and these are the moments where Hardy shines the most.
Known for being one of the more brilliant dramatic actors in films like “Bronson” and “Legend,” Hardy’s comedic work in this film deserves equal praise. Not only does he perform physical slapstick comedy, but his vocal performance as Venom is equally hilarious.
Most of the comedic moments arise from Venom’s one-liners and internal battle with the human host, Eddie. At one point, like in most buddy movies, the duo has a falling out before being brought back together after their realization that they need each other.
Harrelson, on the other hand, perfectly embodies the murderous character, Cletus Kasady. Viewers are also introduced to Frances Barrison and her villainous alter-ego Shriek (played by Naomie Harris).
Spending more time with these characters was the right move in this film because it creates more dramatic tension during the film’s culmination, and makes the film’s resolution quite predictable.
But the drama between Brock and Venom is what makes this film worthwhile. Also returning to the sequel is Brock’s fiance Anne Weying, played by none other than Michelle Williams.
It’s clear that both she and Hardy are having fun with such light, comedic material. In a lot of ways, her presence drives the emotional drama of the film, especially her back-and-forth nature with Brock and Venom.
Mrs. Chen (played by Peggy Lu), also has plenty of scene-stealing moments sprinkled throughout the film.
A lot of complaints about this film before it was released was the fact that it’s PG-13 instead of being rated R. Those arguments are valid considering the nature of the characters, but Serkis does a great job of making it work. The film is no less entertaining and the rating begins to make sense considering the future territory that’ll be explored by the leading character.
“Venom: Let There be Carnage” features a single mid-credits scene, so be sure to stay tuned after the credits. The future of the franchise is teased in an exciting way that benefits from this far more entertaining sequel.
It’s going to be interesting to see where Brock and Venom go next.
“Venom: Let There be Carnage” is now playing in theaters and is rated PG-13 for disturbing material, action, intense sequences of violence, some strong language and suggestive references.