Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021) movie review
So Venom 2 follows Eddie Brock as he begins to interview serial killer Cletus Kasady, after Cletus requests to see Eddie. However Cletus ends up escaping from prison with the help of Carnage, a symbiote that came from Venom. Despite mixed reviews, the film had a massive box office haul, becoming the highest opening weekend for any film released since the start of the pandemic.
Now I think it’s important to know something about this review. If you like Venom 2, that’s fine. I personally just hated it, so I am going to spend the review speaking badly about this movie. Rachel offered to help balance this a bit actually by reviewing it together, but she works alot more than I do. No I felt like this was something I needed to get through. But hey, I didn’t like the first film either! So if you liked Venom (2018), go see this one and you’ll probably have a fun time.
I think I need to start with something I liked…
Tom Hardy is fine. He obviously enjoys working on these films, plus he shares a writing credit! And I think you can tell. There’s some darker undertones here than just a corporate bad guy yelling at SUVs when a big alien takes over him and wants to destroy the planet. (AKA the half of the 2018 film that I thought was terrible. Just the worst.)
That does bring me to something I think if fundamentally wrong with these films though! They each feel so easy to split in half between ‘good guy story, bad guy story.’ In this care though, ‘good guy story’ was less interesting. Basically Venom and Eddie are bickering like an old married couple. Aaaaand that’s it. We spend half the film on that while Woody Harrelson burns down some CGI sets and has literally every action scene, sharing the final fight with Venom of course.
And you know what? I didn’t really care for the other half either. Sure we get a strong setup for Cletus and Carnage, but once the film gets going, boy do they become boring and generic. Woody Harrelson’s acting goes from grounded to downright silly, although it could be the haircut he is given… And Carnage is just big, red Venom but with a boring voice and inexplicably stronger abilities. Plus no motivation really…
So I know what happened, but let me explain it just in case. The studio was presented with the assembly cut of the film and it was probably just under two hours. The film features some very interesting character arcs, including Eddie trying to rebuild his journalism career by manipulating a serial killer with his own motivations. That ego, plus Venom’s impatience with the lack of heads he gets to eat, leads them to make a mistake that causes Cletus and Carnage to break free. Now Eddie and Venom have to fix the mess they made by being the lethal protector that Venom wanted them to be.
THEN the studio says, ‘Nah that’s too dark, too long, not exciting enough, and we can play it as many times as we want if we keep it at 90 minutes. Plus it can’t be R like it needs to be.’ So they took it and made this:
“Film character, Eddie rebuild his journalism career by a serial killer. Venom’s impatience leads them to make causes Cletus and Carnage to break free. Now Eddie and Venom have to be the lethal protector.” Exactly what I wrote, minus the things it takes to make that story fleshed out.
Plus the film just feels choppy. Every scene lasts exactly as long as it needs to to get to the point and jarringly cuts to the next scene because heaven forbid we let audiences breathe while watching a movie. Plus come on, why isn’t this a light R? It’s super violent, and tries its hardest not to be.
Here’s the thing though: Could I forgive a decent movie chopped into bits and pieced back together in a monster like this? Absolutely. I don’t hate Suicide Squad (2016) for that reason. But Venom 2 doesn’t care. It doesn’t care about being a great film and resolving the interesting setup, and nothing makes that more clear than a point in the finale. You’ll know when you see it, but if it helps, it’s the only F-word in the film. What an insult. Seriously, it’s like the film is making fun of the audience for being invested in the ONLY interesting thing in the film!
Oh yeah and there’s a post-credit scene that in no way makes this film better or worth watching.
So I hope you can see where I am coming from with this review. I will casually put on movies that are dumb fun often, but I really cannot stand movies that insult the audience for caring. Why bother making the movie then? Oh yeah, because money. That’s why. Because Sony and Disney and all these studios like money and all they want from us is to go see the next property they own so they can get more money and go see the next one and on and on. And you know what, it works I guess. Am I happy for the box office? Sure, it needs to keep on kicking. And if Venom had to do well for people to go out and see Dune! Well heck if you can directly link these movies I’ll give it a point back. As is though? Addams Family 2 was more entertaining… 4/10.
So Venom: Let There Be Carnage? Did you see it? What did you think? Be sure to leave a like or a comment below and let us know! And if you liked this review and you want to read more like it, let us know in the comments what we should talk about next! Thanks for reading!
-review by Ryan Prince