Venom: Let There Be Carnage, 2021.
Directed by Andy Serkis.
Starring Tom Hardy, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Williams, Stephen Graham, Naomie Harris, and Reid Scott.
Eddie Brock struggles to strike a balance between his work, life and the alien symbiote within. But things get more complicated when the serial killer he’s interviewing escapes prison to come after him…
2018’s Venom always came off as something of an oddity, that dropped from the early 2000’s when comic book movies were still finding their sure footing. But there was a certain charm to the goofy misfire that looked hilariously out of place in the more narrative and VFX driven landscape of present-day comic book adaptations. Sadly, the same compliments cannot be extended to Venom: Let There Be Carnage, which lacks even the few endearing qualities that made the previous outing a fun watch.
The story kicks off with a brief flashback, as we see a young Cletus Kasady being rudely parted from his lady love Frances Barrison, and carted off to the Ravencroft Institute. En route she uses her sonic scream power to incapacitate the security detail but ends up being shot by police officer Patrick Mulligan. Flashforward to the present day we find detective Mulligan (Stephen Graham), is the man-in-charge of investigating the brutal killing spree left behind by currently incarcerated serial killer Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson) and the only person he’s willing to talk to is Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy). Brock is having issues of his own, with Venom trying to have things his own way, fighting city crime and biting bad people’s heads off. During one of Brock’s prison visits Kasady viciously attacks him and inadvertently ingests part of the Venom symbiote. This gives our bloodthirsty felon the ability to transform into the supervillain Carnage and wreak havoc.
When performance capture maestro Andy Serkis was announced as the director for the Venom sequel, I was overjoyed by what the talented artist would bring to the table. But unfortunately, the weak script penned by Kelly Marcel and Tom Hardy drags down the film into a quagmire of chaos, snuffing out all hope. The domestic bickering between Venom and Hardy’s Brock, which escalates as the story progresses, is a major source of annoyance and the thinly sketched characters just make things worse. The quality of the CGI which erratically fluctuates between half-decent to outright horrendous, is the other irritating detractor.
It seems as if everything we somewhat enjoyed about the first film has been dialled to eleven and allowed to run amok. Hardy and Harrelson deliver serviceable performances in their respective roles but the rest of the supporting cast are either criminally underused or simply badly written. If there is one redeeming aspect it would certainly be composer Marco Beltrami’s appropriately loud and bombastic score. The rest I’m afraid is a hopelessly irredeemable muddle with nothing much left to offer.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage is a massive let down from start to finish, and easily ranks as one of the most disappointing comic book movies in recent memory.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film ★ ★ / Movie ★ ★
Hasitha Fernando is a part-time medical practitioner and full-time cinephile. Follow him on Twitter via @DoctorCinephile for regular updates on the world of entertainment.