The Venom franchise is a very strange beast and probably the oddest franchise in Sony’s Marvel Cinematic Universe-or whatever they’re calling it this week. The character was first seen in live-action, way back in 2007’s terrible Spider-man 3. Talks of a Venom spin-off followed the film, but nothing came of it until 2018.
The original Venom film was a letdown, a jumbled mess with an identity crisis. It wasn’t sure if it was a buddy-comedy or a body horror. It didn’t help matters that it was released in the same year as one of Hollywood’s most popular superhero movies, Avengers: Infinity War. Compared to that, Venom felt like a throwback to a superhero movie from 2003.
Venom: Let there be Carnage, however is heads and shoulders above the first film. The tone is set immediately and they stick with it. The crude humour is still present, but it somehow works this time around. At just 90 minutes, it’s a lean film that breezes by. Tom Hardy’s portrayal of Eddie Brock and the CGI Venom, gets the movie through some really tough spots.
Woody Harrelson, like Hardy, wholeheartedly embraces the film’s unique, frequently ridiculous tone and thoroughly enjoys his role as the antagonist. He’s practically chewing the scenery.
The duo makes it easier to overlook some of the obvious storey gaps and jumpy editing because they work so well together.
Whilst I enjoyed the pace of the film, the shorter runtime does do a huge disservice to Anne Weying (Michelle Williams), Francis Barrison (Naomie Harris), Stephen Graham and Patrick Mulligan, the films secondary characters. Fans of the comics may feel a bit letdown, by how little they feature. They all have intriguing potential roles, but they don’t get much in the way of development beyond a few rushed plot beats and end up being the story’s weakest link.
When the two alien symbiotes ultimately battle it out in the third act, it’s a satisfying conclusion.
The CGI is noticeably better than in the first film, probably due to director Andy Serkis’ previous experience.
The action is simple to follow and looks fantastic. There’s even a great cameo by Reece Shearsmith, which leads to the funniest line in the film.
While the film passes the fundamental prerequisites for a comic-book movie, enjoyment. It is the post-credit scene that elevates the film and the character of Venom to new heights. It not only broadens the realm of where he and Eddie Brock may appear next, but it also elevates the potential sequel to new heights.
Venom: Let there be carnage, is available to rent from all VOD services in the UK.