Venom: Let There Be Carnage MOVIE REVIEW: sadly, it's a mediocre, shallow, anticlimactic rush job
Directed by: Andy Serkis; Starring: Tom Hardy, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Williams, Naomi Harris, Stephen Graham.
Picking up where the first film left off, Eddie Brock/Venom (Tom Hardy) has been meeting Cleatus Kasady for his exclusive interview. Cleatus only wants to talk to Eddie about everything he has done through his life, promising that he will tell all, if Eddie promises to print it as he says it. This leads to him holding a grudge against Eddie, as he feels like he wasn’t given the puff piece he was expecting. After an altercation, Cleatus bites Eddie’s hand, drawing blood, infecting him with the alien Venom symbiote, and giving him his own symbiote suit which he labels ‘Carnage’. Cleatus now wants to break his girlfriend out of penitentiary so they can live freely, after killing all the people who have wronged them, starting with Eddie and Venom.
As a long time Carnage fan, when they teased him at the end of the first film I was really excited. I remember growing up with Spider-Man the Animated Series (1994), and even then at the age of 8, I could see that Cleatus was an unhinged character. With it being a show for children, it couldn’t ever be very violent, but they were still able to distinguish the difference between Venom and Carnage. When I grew up, I purchased the Ultimate Carnage book, then was able to get myself a copy of The Amazing Spider-Man #361, the first appearance of the character. Most recently I read the book Absolute Carnage, which also portrayed how dark the character could be. Which leads us to Venom: Let There Be Carnage.
Woody Harrelson does a great job as the mentally unstable Cleatus. I enjoyed the wardrobe choices, especially his a red Hawaiian shirt, black blazer, and the change in haircut from curls to short, which I actually liked. The difficulty of the character is portraying the extreme violence. With an R-rated film (certificate 15 in the UK), they shouldn’t have trouble showcasing blood and violence, however they really shy away from it. The only time there is blood in this film is when Cleatus bites the hand of Eddie, drawing blood. This is a shame when you have two characters who are known for violence, but they can’t show any of it onscreen. Carnage especially wasn’t as brutal as he could have been.
The cgi was a mix too. Some of the effects were fantastic; Venom and Carnage looked both beautiful and disgusting in their own right. Then there were other moments, including the end, where the background was terrible. It was a shame to end it in such a fashion, but I can forgive that when the designs looked great. The acting by both Harrelson and Hardy were great, backed up by a talented cast.
Andy Serkis was a great choice to direct this film, as he knows cgi characters better than anyone else in Hollywood, from playing them so often himself. The character developments between Eddie and Venom were played out really well, especially the problems that they have with each other while being in a symbiotic relationship and showing that they really need each other.
Overall, this was a very mediocre film. I wanted it to be really good with the first on screen appearance of one of my favourite characters, and as much as the character looks good, it felt a little bit shallow. This is a film that is very unconventional compared to the standard films of today, with a run time of only 1 hour 37 mins. This could have been longer, so we could have gotten a deeper connection between Eddie and Cleatus, or a more satisfactory ending that doesn’t feel so anticlimactic and rushed.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage was released by Sony Pictures on 15th October (UK) and 1st October (USA).
Andrew Carr was blessed to grow up watching the animated series of Batman, X-Men, and his favorite, Spider-Man.This started his dive into the comics world, which resulted in meeting his amazing cosplaying wife Imogen. They live in England with their Sinister Six dogs.