Director: Andy Serkis
Writer: Kelly Marcel
Starring: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Naomie Harris, Reid Scott, Stephen Graham, Woody Harrelson
Three years ago, Venom was released and was ripped apart by most critics, who hated almost everything about it. The pacing, the tone shifts, the comedy. Even more important though, the audiences loved it, and the film made a lot of money. It was one of those films that divided the critics and audiences completely. Now the sequel has arrived, doing almost everything the original did in a more streamlined run time (a little over ninety minutes compared to the almost two-hour runtime of the first one). If you liked the first one, you’re going to like this one as well.
The film starts where the post-credits scene of the first one ended. Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson) is in prison, Eddie Brock and Venom (Tom Hardy) are trying to get along with each other, while at the same time Eddie is the only person Cletus will talk to. Eddie visits Cletus in prison to try and find out where the bodies of his victims were buried to bring closure to their families. On one of these visits, things get heated and Cletus bites Eddie, tasting the symbiote blood and creating Carnage at the same time.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage is a lot of fun. The humour from the first one is back in full force. Eddie and Venom play off each other so well. Director and motion capture master Andy Serkis has described their relationship as being at the ‘odd couple’ stage, and that’s a perfect description. The FBI are still investigating the events of the first film, which means that Eddie and Venom must be on their best behaviour. Venom can’t eat people, instead having to eat chocolate and chickens to survive. Apart from the two chickens he’s taken as pets, named Sonny and Cher. The comedy works and Venom has some hilarious moments.
The action is slick and entertaining. At its heart this is a monster movie, something akin to a Godzilla film. Venom and Carnage have a massive CGI fight and it’s awesome to watch. Andy Serkis does a great job of directing the action sequences, everything is clear and easy to follow. While you know what the outcome will be, it’s still a good time getting there. The shorter run time than most superhero films really helps the film, making it a thrill ride from start to finish. This isn’t trying to be anything more than a fast energetic comedy-action film and it succeeds at that in every way.
Much like Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, or Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool, Tom Hardy is the perfect Eddie Brock. He is excellent in the role, trying to live his life normally while at the same time having to constantly try and stop Venom from eating people or taking control. It’s a great dynamic and Hardy is the best thing about the film. Woody Harrelson is also great as Cletus Kasady. He’s demented and twisted and the interplay between him and Eddie works.
The supporting characters are also great. Anne Weying (Michelle Williams) is back from the first film, now engaged to Dan (Reid Scott). The relationship between her and Venom is a highlight of the film. The shopkeeper (Peggy Lu) is also back from the first film, and is the one keeping Venom fed with chocolate.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage is more of the first film. It’s just as entertaining and just as funny. There are no real surprises, nothing new is brought to the table, but it’s entertaining and fun to watch. It looks like there’s going to be more, which is definitely a good thing. The mid-credits scene is also worth staying for. It sets up sequels and is a real treat for Marvel fans.
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