‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ improves on its predecessor with dynamic action and fun humor

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Despite its weak dialogue and narrative, ‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ is a fun action movie filled with amusing jokes and great visuals. (Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures)

Myles Wolf

It has been interesting to see DC and Warner Brothers have more critical success with their supervillains than their superheroes.

Releases such as “Joker” (2018) and “The Suicide Squad” (2021) effectively repurposed characters that audiences are used to seeing as antagonists to create some of the most exciting and innovative comic book movies in recent years. “Venom” (2018) and its newly released sequel “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” (2021) have attempted to capitalize on similar audiences.

While neither of the “Venom” films are as well-made as “Joker” or “The Suicide Squad,” “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” is a significant improvement over its predecessor.

In this film, Tom Hardy reprised his role as Eddie Brock, who continues to have trouble coexisting with the symbiotic alien life form, Venom, living in his body. Although allowing the symbiote to live in his body gives Eddie superpowers, Venom has a problematic lust for wreaking havoc and eating people. However, Eddie and Venom agree to stick together when they are pursued by two superhuman foes named Shriek (Naomie Harris) and Carnage (Woody Harrelson), a symbiote who makes his first appearance on the big screen in this movie.

I saw the first “Venom” movie when it was released, and I was very disappointed. I thought it was one of the most confusing and underwhelming comic book movies of the last decade. It seemed to have no idea whether it wanted to be a comedy, psychological thriller or horror epic. “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” is much better by comparison because it knows what it wants to be: a simple action and adventure movie with some dark comedy thrown in for good measure. 

For one, all of the actors do well in their respective roles. I can also appreciate how this film stands out from other adaptations of Venom in comics, movies and cartoons.

The mano-a-mano between Venom and his two rivals created a lot of great action and visuals on screen. The CGI on Carnage is particularly well done. Audiences will enjoy the film’s action-packed climax, which contains a lot of great set pieces and small surprises.

Additionally, the segments of the film that showcase Eddie and Venom’s odd couple-like relationship are fairly good too. The scenes rely on lowbrow humor that occasionally interrupts the pacing of the film, but I’ll admit, they made me chuckle at times. While not all of Eddie and Venom’s interactions are funny, I believe most people seeing this movie in the theater will find at least a few laughs throughout its duration.

On the other hand, I felt that the movie could have expanded on the relationship between Carnage and his girlfriend Shriek. The fact that Shriek’s superpower involves an ability to yell even though Carnage is weak to loud noises makes for a very interesting obstacle in their relationship, and it should have been explored more. The film seemed more interested in focusing on the rivalry between Venom and Carnage. This makes sense given their popularity as villains, but I felt that developing the relationship between Carnage and Shriek could have made for an even more unique film.

What also really holds this film back is its dialogue and narrative, neither of which are very mentally challenging. For instance, the tension surrounding whether Venom and Eddie will go their separate ways is really emphasized in the movie. However, it’s very clear that they’re going to get back together in the end for the climax, which makes this conflict feel like a waste of time. 

As much as “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” tries to change up the “Venom” storyline, it really is just a standard action movie with a couple of good jokes and some well-done gothic imagery. However, the ending augurs some interesting possibilities for the series and, judging by the improvements made in this film, I’m interested to see if the third “Venom” movie continues to make strides in the right direction.

As it stands, “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” is not particularly memorable or thought-provoking, but there’s definitely an audience out there that will enjoy it. It’s a decent film to watch with a group of uncynical friends who like dark humor and want some casual fun.