After dancing with many different potential release dates, Venom: Let There Be Carnage is finally coming to the big screen this week. Moviegoers aren’t sure what to expect with the Venom sequel, with mixed early reactions from critics as well a review embargo standing firm until the day before the movie’s release. I was very thankful to get an opportunity to go to the early screening in New York and meet up with FandomWire Editor in Chief, Reilly Johnson. You can find my initial reaction here.
Before the Film
The New York screening was blessed with the presence of Director Andy Serkis, who was kind enough to speak with fans, take selfies, and even answer questions. To be perfectly honest with you, I had a plethora of questions in my head ready to ask. Did that matter? Not even a little bit. As soon as he pointed at me to ask a question, I straight up panicked and asked him who would win in a fight between Ulysses Klaw (his character from Black Panther and Avengers: Age of Ultron), or Venom. He was kind enough to address my comment with an appreciative laugh and an answer:
“Well I don’t know about that, it’s a tough one, I’ll go with Klaw.”
While I don’t think that’s a fight we are ever going to see on the big screen, it would be interesting to see Venom try and tangle with Klaw’s sonic canons. After Serkis finished speaking with fans, we were graced with a video message from lead actor Tom Hardy, and the movie began.
Let’s Dive Into Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Venom: Let There Be Carnage wastes absolutely no time getting into the storyline, diving deep into the origin of serial killer Cletus Kasady right from the get-go. While I absolutely loved Woody Harrelson’s portrayal of the character, it was tough for me to wrap my head around this version of the beloved Spider-Man and Venom villain. I grew up reading Spider-Man comics and watching the 90s cartoon, and Carnage was the character that always left me the most intrigued. He so rarely had a goal. No plot to take over the world, no devious scheme, just a will to destroy, to create carnage. I always viewed this character the same way as Alfred viewed Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight, only meant to create chaos. I found the writing of this version’s Carnage however to be closer to the portrayal of Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker, damaged and primed for vengeance.
Although the rendition of Carnage wasn’t my favorite, I can’t say enough good things about Woody Harrelson’s performance. Harrelson was able to perfectly encapsulate the rage and pure insanity inside Cletus Kasady’s brain. His brilliant performance was matched by Tom Hardy reprising his role as Eddie Brock, as his chemistry with Venom is once again a highlight of the film. Hardy’s dedication to the role is incredibly evident and I can’t wait to see more of him in the future.
While the film has fantastic acting, beautiful visuals, and many fun elements, it lacked a satisfying storyline. The movie was action-packed for 90 straight minutes start to finish, while giving us quick backstories on characters Carnage, Shriek, and Detective Mulligan. The story seemed very rushed, almost as if they were trying to wrap up a storyline too fast at the end of a television season. The characters were all interesting individually. However, we needed a lot of time to explore these characters. It was difficult to develop any emotional attachment to any new characters or to feel concerned about the stakes involved with them. The movie felt a bit like a race to the post-credits scene, and let me tell you, don’t leave before the post-credits scene. Without a doubt, it is worth the price of admission.
Overall, Venom: Let There Be Carnage is a fun, action-packed sequel with strong rewatch ability. It lacks a complex storyline and while the stakes were high, I didn’t feel overly connected to them. Go in without crazy high expectations, and you’re going to have a blast.
For an in-depth review with spoilers, check out our upcoming Marvel podcast that will be dropping in October on all major podcast platforms!
What did you think of the movie? Hit me up on Twitter @TJ_Zwarych5!