Venom: Let There Be Carnage is the latest Marvel flick to be shown on the big screen. Continuing from 2018’s successful film debut, the sequel sees Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) who’s still struggling to coexist with Venom, the shape-shifting extraterrestrial symbiote within him. The villain in this story is a deranged serial killer by the name of Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson) who hosts a rival alien symbiote. As you’d expect, Brock and Venom must put aside their differences to stop Cletus’ reign of terror.
This sequel is aimed squarely at fans of the original’s odd couple chemistry, because it chooses to focus on the franchise’s sillier side – namely, the hilarious banter between Eddie and Venom. For some, the sequel is reminiscent of Ted (2012), except instead of Mark Wahlberg and his wisecracking teddy bear, it’s Tom Hardy and his wisecracking symbiote.
Plot-wise, it’s a mess. We don’t get any explanation on some issues, like how Cletus became a serial killer or why Shriek (Naomi Harris) was locked up. Most of the film is on Eddie’s relationship with Venom, so when Cletus and Shriek (Cletus’ lover who’s a mutant who can manipulate sound energy) come into the story, they seem more like afterthoughts.
However, the movie certainly does justice to its title – Cletus and his symbiote wreak havoc wherever they go, and we see a violent brawl between Venom and Eddie in his apartment. Venom also comes into his own here, portrayed hilariously as a character “coming out” of his shell and having daddy issues. The film also tries to pack in as much deadpan humour as possible, and Tom Hardy delivers on this front.
Let There Be Carnage actually feels like a romance film in the midst of couples counselling, with Eddie and Venom going through the usual bickering, furniture-throwing, and splitting up, only to come back stronger than ever. There are also 2 other couples featured: Cletus and Shriek, as well as Anne and Dan who reprise their roles from the first film.
Directed by Andy Serkis, the Venom in this sequel shows us how it is one of Marvel’s most complex characters/heroes, with a focus on relationships. It certainly goes all in on the goofy shenanigans of the first film, for better or worse.
The after-credits scene is worth staying for – we see a familiar character here that ties Venom squarely back to the Marvel cinematic universe.