Venom: Let There Be Carnage, a less than stellar follow up to 2018's favourite odd pairing
Directed by: Andy Serkis
Stars- Tom Hardy, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Williams, Naomie Harris, Reid Scott and Stephen Graham
Where to watch: In Theatres
I defended the first Venom movie from all the criticism that it fell victim to. Was it not the strongest script? Sure. Was there some fairly messy CGI used in it, yeah fine that's a fair critique. I could agree with all of that while still saying, hey look they wanted to make a fun movie and that's what we got, so they did their job. The first movie embraced its oddity and introduced us to the fun buddy comedy that was the symbiote Venom and its relationship with its host body- everyones favourite down on his luck beat down loser, Eddie Brock.
So the follow up happens sometime after the first movie, and features Brock now use to his bond with Venom- getting a big break to do an interview with murder Cletus Kassady, when everything goes wrong and Kassady ends up with a much more brutal symbiote known as Carnage within him.
I'll start with what I enjoyed because this review will have more critiques than compliments. For starters the follow up of Eddie and Venom is strong enough, there's enough back and forth there as clearly they've grown accustom to both the good and bad of each others personalities. When Hardy and his inner voice are on the screen the movie is successful, they riff off one another and have some pretty funny dialogue between the two.
We also have some brilliant moments of Venom himself, and get to discover even deeper thoughts on the misunderstood man eating symbiote.
Some of the action is entertaining, the final battle has its own flaws and the CGI doesn't always work- but its effective. We get the epic battle that we'd want out of Carnage and Venom, and even though the movie suffers from a PG-13 rating- Serkis stretches the rating as much as he can in his action sequences to make them still be entertaining and brutal.
The negative notions is the movies inability to find its pacing and tone. We go through all these different type of emotional feels- and yet the movie never finds the right to land on by the time its credits are rolling. The movie is just over an hour and a half long, and yet it feels like Serkis, as well as Hardy and Kelly Marcel who wrote the screenplay- wanted this movie to be far longer because they try and tackle so many different topics in the short runtime. The jokes don't land the way they did in the first one, maybe its comedic timing, but this time around the humour felt forced and out of place as if they knew when writing that their strong part is Eddie and Venom so they were going to squeeze every ounce of the comedic juice from the pairing even if it meant squeezing out things that were never going to work.
The CGI is once again mucky, and its a massive disappointment that Sony has decided that every symbiote should have the exact same design. Venom, Carnage, as well as Riz Ahmed's Riot- they all are the exact same character just with a different color paint brush used on them. It makes the fight sequences so limited- and if they do any more Symbiotes within the universe I won't hold my breath for any creativity towards making them interesting.
I've seen mostly positives for Harrelson's Kassady, but it didn't work for me. Nor did Naomie Harris' Shriek. Its nothing that either actor did wrong, and more so that the script that they were working with- made their characters feel so out of place. As if they were written for a younger audience, than their protagonist counterparts. Both come off as such classic villains with no understanding towards their madness, rather just they shot off these unnecessarily bland and camp-y lines to really hammer home that these two are lunatics and evil.
The best part of the movie is the already hotly talked about end credit scene, and that alone makes it well worth the sitting through this heavily inconsistent story.