Three years ago, I made the decision to watch ‘A Star Is Born‘ over ‘Venom‘ on their opening weekend. As I sat down to watch both ‘Venom‘ movies this year, I realize I made the right choice. Three hours I will never get back, all for the satisfaction of being in the comic-book movie loop. While the first movie was unwatchable at times, ‘Let There Be Carnage’ seems to act more self-aware and double down on the absurdity of these movies. That being said, the movie never really knows when it’s imitating cheesy 90’s action rom-com movies and when it’s actually giving into those tropes. It is so confused tonally that you can never tell what it’s going for. I still have no idea when I am supposed to take any of the characters seriously. Eddie and Venom are quite literally a rom-com couple and it’s played for laughs… I think. I honestly don’t even know what this movie is about.
major spoilers for ‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ are featured in this review.
It may come down to preference but Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock is one of the most dislikable leads in a movie I’ve ever seen. The movie locks him in such a despicable mold of a character that he never manages to break out of it. He quite literally hasn’t changed since the first movie, there is no depth or development to his character. He is still the same guy who broke into his fiance’s laptop, read confidential information and then used said information for his own gain, leading to the unemployment of both him and Anne. The movie is so hellbent on catering to 12-year old boys that it treats the main character like one. The movie doesn’t know whether to treat his ignorance and utter lack of self-awareness as cool (in a 12-year old boy type of way) or pathetic. They quite literally never present Eddie as something other than a self-destructive screw-up whose life was honestly made better by a symbiote. His fixation on his ex, Anne is downright pathetic, his apartment is as unhinged as he is and it’s honestly a miracle he is even alive at this point. The movie tries to make fucking Venom of all characters look weak by saying that he was a reject on his planet as well (which is honestly hilarious in an unintentional way) yet they never treat the two’s bond as the thing that fixes them. They play so heavily into the relationship angle yet they ultimately never end up using it for any character development. Two movies in and nothing has changed. Well, other than that ludicrous end-credit scene but that’s for later on in the review.
Perhaps the biggest crime this movie commits is that even though I am neither a Venom or Carnage fan, even I feel like they were both underused and ultimately wasted in their own movie. So much happens in this movie yet it feels like nothing does. The plot is basically non-existent, first, second and third acts? They don’t exist according to ‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’. Character development or motivation? This movie has never heard of them. Around thirty minutes the movie makes time for a scene where Venom makes Eddie breakfast and nearly destroys the apartment (for God knows which time). It’s funny in it’s own childish way, sure but why is it not the opening scene? Why is there little to no set-up to a plot? Both movies have struggled so much to find a reason to exist and yet even two movies in, there’s really no reason why these movies should exist or moreso why they should be at this level of quality. Venom (the character) used to scare the living shit out of me when I was a child, I couldn’t even get through the opening of the animated ‘Spider-Man’ series from the 90’s without bursting into tears out of fear. Now kids look at the movie and laugh because Venom says “pussy” and makes a mess while making breakfast. The same goes Carnage who arguably suffers more because he feels more like a side-character than an antagonist. Venom and Carnage should have equal importance to the plot yet there are huge chunks of the movie where Carnage is absent or is present through the form of Cletus who is played as annoyingly as possible by Woody Harrelson of all people. It continues to boggle my mind how such great actors are in such a shitty franchise. Michelle Williams, you are four-time Oscar nominated actress, you deserve so much better! Hell, Tom Hardy deserves better than being made to look like a fool for two straight movies.
All of this being said, ‘Let There Be Carnage’ is undoubtedly better than it’s predecessor and the reason why is that takes an insnae amount from the pre-existing Sony Spider-Man movies. I cannot tell you the amount of times I got a flashback to both Tobey and Andrew’s movies while watching this movie. I got major vibes of ‘Spider-Man 3’ and ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ which funnily enough are the lesser movies of both versions. There were even hints of ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ with that scene where Venom is caught under debris and has to to use his strength to save the day. In fact, the entire action finale is insanely derivative of these movies. The use of clocks, towers and hanging blonde love-interests was genuinely baffling. It was so distracting to see a ‘Venom’ movie of all things reference or outright steal scenes from ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ of all movies. It just didn’t make any sense, it didn’t feel like an homage and if that was the intent, why would this movie be the one to do it? The end-credits scene is shocking in the sense that I don’t know how the MCU could possibly fit such a mess of a character into their universe. ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ is going to be one hell of an experience. At this point I’m just sorry for Tom Holland who might end up being the least talked-about part of his entire movie. Tom Hardy can relate though, as no one is even talking about this movie but rather the end-credits scene.
Overall, ‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ is a fucking mess, as expected. It’s a continuation of the first movie both literally and quality-wise. There isn’t really any redeeming quality other than how great Venom looks as a character and honestly that one scene of him at the Halloween party. That was everything. Other than that, it’s just a lame, sorry excuse of a comic-book movie which should’ve came out ten years ago because this movie is definitely not of these times.
‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ is now showing exclusively in movie theatres.