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Venom: Let There Be Carnage Movie Review

Venom is back, and this time he’s got more jokes and implausible relationships.

As Eddie Brock attempts to get his career back on track with an exclusive interview with the serial killer Cletus Kasady, and then, for reasons that are central to the plot, bad things happen and Carnage is born.

After Rueben Fleischer was not going to be able to come back for the sequel, the studio met with Andy Serkis, Travis Knight, and Rupert Wyatt. One starts to wonder what Serkis saw in the project that made the others pass.

It is said that Tom Hardy and screenwriter Kelly Marcel (Venom, 50 Shades of Gray) worked on ideas for a story for months leading to Hardy receiving a “Story” credit. The bits with him and Venom trying to co-exist in this “Odd Couple” relationship are the best parts of the film. The dynamic is surely the bits that Hardy had the most say in and what keeps him invested in the series.

Every superhero genre film needs to have one thing in particular that works, and that is the villain. If the villain doesn’t work, your story is just not going to work. From Carnage’s inception as a villain, issues abound. Forget about the terribly unimaginative way in which Carnage is created, he is played so poorly by Harrelson and the character, when it’s not a CGI monster, devolves into every single cliché a bad guy can be. Once the villain’s intentions are known there is zero investment and the stakes are very low. The other bad guy, Shriek, played by a usually stellar Naomi Harris is literally just there as a McGuffin, her main power as a villain is making a lot of loud noise, which is detrimental to both Carnage, the love of her life, and Venom. Gee, I wonder what happens in the movie.

With the addition of Serkis as director, I was excited to see if his deft work with Motion Capture and CGI would lift the material in any way, but there is nothing that stands out or lifts it past the previous film. The third act is a big CGI fight that is neither exciting nor creative.

Venom is such a fan favorite from the comics and Hardy is very good in the role, it is such a disappointment that the solo films are a letdown. With a very exciting mid-credits scene, it will be interesting to see if Venom will translate to a larger world and splitting screen time.

If you were a fan of the first film, this is just more of the same. If there is going to be the third film it’s going to have to do some heavy lifting in the villain and creativity department to get more than just fans of the franchise into the seats.

 

2.5 out of 5

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Joel Winstead

Joel Winstead