Venom: Let There Be Carnage

2018’s Venom was rumored to be the start of a shared universe as part of Sony’s plan for a very Spidey future. After the film was met with mixed reviews, it was hard to imagine we’d see the symbiote again. Welp…2021 has brought us a lot of things and among them is a sequel, Venom: Let There Be Carnage.

Much like Venom, Carnage is a popular Spider-Man vilian that fans have been waiting on for years. But much like 2018’s Venom, Let There Be Carnage is missing the web-slinging superhero to make the story feel complete.

The film has a very tight 90 minute runtime so there’s a lot of story packed in. To keep it simple, the story picks up a few years after the events in Venom. Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) is living with Venom attached to him and has continued his career as a journalist. After he interviews serial killer Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson), Cletus gets a taste of Venom (literally) and becomes Carnage. Cletus/Carnage has beef with Eddie/Venom and that ends in a big showdown.

Kasady has an entire uninteresting backstory complete with a abusive childhood and a love interest played by Naomie Harris. The audience is led to believe Kasady is a sadistic killer and all the film shows him do is make bizarre postcards and smile at people like someone that had too many edibles.

If you’re a fan of 2018’s Venom, Venom: Let There Be Carnage is for you. It’s an extension of the first film with a shorter runtime and more Venom ridiculousness. The creators doubled-down on everything people say they hated about the first film. You don’t like how silly Venom is? MORE! You don’t enjoy two CGI characters fighting at night? MORE! You wished there was more character development? EVEN LESS!

The best part is serious actors like Tom Hardy, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Williams, and Naomie Harris are participating in this craziness. They’re all giving it 110%. Harris plays Frances Barrison/Shriek and she has this accent that sounds kind of southern but a little west cost. It’s a wild choice but somebody made it and stuck with it. It’s kind of a microcosm of the film. There are some choices made and someone made them and stuck with them.

As much of a mess as this is, it is only 90 minutes so that softens the blow a little. There are a few funny moments but it mostly feels like a film that hurls you from one CGI fight scene to the next just praying audiences find the exercise more entertaining than dizzying.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage is bit of a misfire that’s fun at times because it never takes itself too seriously. It can be a little self-aware at times without breaking he fourth wall. It’s balls-to-the-wall wacky comic book movie that never tries to be anything else. It’s the definition of “popcorn movie” and for some, that’s worth a trip to the theater.

Grade: C-