Following on from 2018’s Venom, in Venom: Let There Be Carnage reporter Eddie Brock is still wrestling with Venom, the alien symbiote who has taken up residency in his body. Down on his luck and experiencing distinct flat-mate blues with Venom, Eddy is now offered a career-changing lifeline. Get convicted serial killer Cletus Kasady to reveal the location of his victim’s bodies and Eddie’s career will be forever transformed. However, there is an unforeseen price. Kasady will only talk provided that Eddie’s guarantees that he print a specific message within the headline. -Who is the message for? -And should Eddy take the deal or will he suddenly unleash carnage upon all those around him? … Hmm.
... this is Venom with a nitrous-oxide tune-up.
Well, for many 2018’s Venom was a sweet and sour experience. With the critics hating it and audiences loving it, a sequel was never in doubt. So, whilst the character remains straddled between the universes of Sony and Marvel, the one clear takeaway from Venom: Let There Be Carnage, is that Sony has lost none of its bravery. For if there’s a quality that so marked out the first movie, it’s the fact that Sony’s Venom had its own voice. Clearly eschewing the well-established way that Marvel’s movies handle their characters, Sony’s Venom movies trample all over the Marvel playbook and markedly forge their own path. By embracing black comedy with loud frenetic sets pieces that never last long enough to ever become boring, Venom: Let There Be Carnage is another avalanche of ideas sandwiched into a 97 minutes runtime.
Clearly absorbing many of the feelings about the first movie, this is Venom with a nitrous-oxide tune-up. From Marco Beltrami‘s bewitching score to Robert Richardson‘s creatively infused cinematography, director Andy Serkis has clearly got both hands on the scale and intensity required to bring Venom to the next level. Add to this the quality pairing of Stephen Graham and Tom Hardy finally onscreen together and the suitably demented Woody Harrelson as Cletus Kasady and Andy Serkis has all his thespian boxes ticked. Yet the further delight is the way that Serkis incorporates novel visual story-telling techniques to get vital exposition across whilst still addressing the arc of his characters. Because this time, within his unstable marriage of convenience, Venom is the emotionally smart guy to Eddie’s bruised ego. In allowing the characters to emotionally grow throughout the movie, Eddie and Venom become increasingly distinct as The Odd Couple who really must learn to live with one another.
However, this may well not be enough for the cine-literate lions who can’t handle salad with their supper. If some of the best-integrated action sequences of recent times can’t convince the nay-sayers, then its gloriously over-the-top violence won’t do it either. Deliberately hovering beneath a 15 certificate, the head chewing is wisely kept back for the bigger moments and the f-bombs only surgically strike whenever they’re needed to. Loud, lively and unrepentantly preposterous, this is super-hero filmmaking done differently and the result is fabulously entertaining.
So, if you didn’t enjoy 2018’s Venom, it’s fair to say you won’t be converted by this second movie’s rampant charge into a similar sunset. However, if you’re beginning to tire of origin stories done by appointment or strict adherence to over-aching conventions, then you might want to look away from the post-credits scene. As a franchise that sets a lot of store by giving its fans exactly what they want, the final five minutes may either be a cause for celebration or commiseration, depending on what happens next.
In the meantime, see Venom: Let There Be Carnage in cinemas now. It’s joyously bonkers and you really should share in the clear love Andy Serkis has for Venom by buying a ticket today.