by Christian Asdourian
October 30, 2021
If Marvel’s newest blockbuster had to be described in a few words, ironically enough, I would say “pure carnage.” At the start of the month, I went to see this movie with relatively low expectations in terms of story. The appeal of the film mostly stems from people’s love for the characters and the interactions the characters share with each other. After all, this is what made the first Venom (2018) movie so enjoyable for me. Fortunately, the people behind the movie understood this, and capitalized on it in this sequel. Every good aspect of the original is turned up to eleven in Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021), and I’m all here for it.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage is October’s newest entry to the Marvel mythos. Directed by Andy Serkis, the film centers on two primary conflicts, one internal and one external. The dynamic duo, Eddie Brock (played by Tom Hardy) and Venom (also voiced by Tom Hardy) find themselves in a bit of a lover’s quarrel. Both partners find it rather difficult to coexist with each other, whether it be as two separate entities or as the Lethal Protector himself. As if that wasn’t already enough, the antagonists of the film, Carnage (played and voiced by Woody Harrleson) and his partner in crime, Shriek (played by Naomie Harris) escape from prison with the goal of wreaking havoc. Eddie and Venom must set aside their differences and work together once again to survive their inevitable collision with some of the craziest Marvel characters ever to appear on the silver screen.
Now I’d rather get to talking about the bad aspects first, since I believe they are vastly outnumbered by all the things Venom: Let There Be Carnage does right. First off, the most glaring problem I found with the movie was the pacing. The first third of the film feels like it drags on forever while the final act leaves you thinking “That’s it?” There could also have been more scenes to develop the antagonists of the film before they crossed paths with Venom. Carnage’s alter ego, Cletus Kasady, really is a captivating character but the film only begins to scratch the surface of his character during its runtime. And don’t even get me started on poor Shriek. They really wasted her character and her powers. At times it felt as though she didn’t even belong in the clash between Venom and Carnage. My last major criticism is more nitpicky than the others, but I feel it is still worth mentioning. Venom: Let There Be Carnage has a PG-13 rating, which limits what it can do with its characters. It needs an R rating instead. This really stuck out at me during most of the scenes involving Carnage, one of the most violent and unhinged characters Marvel has ever created. He was drastically toned down to match the film’s rating, and I think that decision hurt the film more than it helped.
Onto the good stuff! Definitely the first thing to mention is the relationship between Eddie and Venom in this film. It’s a natural progression from where they left off at the end of the first film. Their interactions provide most of the film’s comedic relief, and help keep the tone lighthearted and energetic. Their relationship was one of my favorite parts in the first movie, and I’m glad they kept it for this one. Next off, I absolutely have to mention how great the Carnage direction was for this movie. His presence on screen demands your attention at all times and provides a genuinely dangerous threat to Venom. I specifically remember how his entrance into the movie was drawn out, and the suspense had me sitting at the edge of my seat. The action choreography is a major step up from the first movie. There are no more slime monsters having a slap fight. Each and every hit in this movie feels weighty, and Carnage’s attacks had a particularly noteworthy effect of total brutality. I think the most important improvement that Venom: Let There Be Carnage has over its predecessor is that despite the shorter runtime, the movie gets more done. Once the film has all its characters established and ready to go, all bets are off. I didn’t even notice the second half of the film go by. It was just too much fun to watch! I think it can be best described as a rollercoaster, and that’s exactly what the audience wanted to see. What gives the Venom franchise such a dedicated fanbase isn’t simply because it’s associated with Marvel, but also because all of its efforts are poured into appealing to the audience, not the critics.
Now, I’m not usually one to get into spoilers, but Venom: Let There Be Carnage’s post-credit scene absolutely needs to be talked about. Marvel fans rejoice! The movie ends with Eddie and Venom being transported to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)’s continuity, meaning that our favorite alien vigilante is going to be in Spider-Man: No Way Home! The energy in the audience when that scene played simply cannot be done justice in words. Phase Four of the MCU was kicked off with a great intro in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and is now having the torch carried by Venom: Let There Be Carnage. Marvel fans are going to be living in paradise this year, with plenty of shows and movies to keep us entertained, and I for one cannot wait to see all of it! Expect an Eternals review for the November issue, and a Spider-Man: No Way Home review in December or January.
Now back to Venom: Let There Be Carnage, I’d like to share my closing thoughts. Overall, the film isn’t anything revolutionary. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel. But that’s not what it needs to be enjoyable, and it is enjoyable because it doesn’t try to be new. When people go to see Venom: Let There Be Carnage, they’re going so that they can have a fun time, and this movie definitely delivers that. It was great to watch, and I absolutely recommend that you check it out too.