Venom: Let There Be Carnage Review: Our Favorite Duo Returns in an Okay Sequel

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Venom: Let There Be Carnage opened to a record $90 million, the highest theater opening since the pandemic began. It’s the sequel to 2018’s surprise hit which delivered laughs, heart, and a symbiote relationship — or two sides of it — that was strangely heartwarming for a character-based story in horror tropes.

The character’s previously dedicated fanbase remains divided on the film with fans of the character’s comic appearances annoyed with Sony’s depiction of the character.

This Venom has appealed more to a newer generation of fans touting the character’s progressive side. Eddie Brock and Venom are both tortured antiheroes and LGBTQIA+ icons for audiences and Venom: Let There Be Carnage furthers the divide begun by the first film, in a good way.

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Tom Hardy stars as Eddie Brock/Venom in Columbia Pictures’ VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE.

The first film introduced audiences to Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock, a down on his luck reporter whose poor decisions led to him being possessed by an alien symbiote that he seems wholly compatible with. They battle an alien invasion, save the world, and become, for lack of a better word, roommates. The sequel picks up with trouble in paradise with Venom and Eddie stealing chickens to sate Venom’s hunger and Eddie struggling to corral the darkness inside of him.

(Which, is a valid point. Does Eddie taste the people that he eats? Is he effectively a cannibal at this point? Much like the Cars movies, the mechanics of the characters are questions people might desperately want to be answered.)

Entered into this domestic squabble is Cletus Kasady. Kasady’s appearance has been anticipated. He’s the host for Venom’s dark mirror Carnage. Venom has had a live-action appearance before in Raimi’s Spider-Man 3, but Venom: Let There Be Carnage marks Carnage’s first live-action appearance. With Kasady squaring off against Brock and Eddie and Venom’s actions leading to the character’s creation the battle of the century is seemingly on.

The movie introduces a bit more of Venom’s universe and Sony’s mythos. There’s the hard-boiled cop, there’s a brand new location full of monsters, and there are new characters that are just plain awesome. Venom and Eddie face all of it with the help of Annie and Dan who rejoin the characters and break the trope of the main character gets the girl in the end — and hates their replacement.

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Eddie (Tom Hardy, left) interviews Cletus (Woody Harrelson) in prison in Columbia Pictures’ VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE.

The biggest strength of the film is the relationships between the protagonists and antagonists. Namely, the human characters bring their pathos, emotion, and dedication to breaking down the traditional storytelling that plagues superhero movies. The lead always gets the girl, the character always makes peace with the darkness within him and takes control, and the bad guy is defeated. 

The gut-punch is the end credit scene of the film which, if it hasn’t been spoiled by the internet by now, we won’t spoil here. People will hail the film’s greatest triumph as what happens after the film technically “ends” but there’s plenty of fun for casual fans to enjoy. 2018’s

Venom was the spiritual successor to 2007’s Ghost Rider. A character actor chews scenery and makes peace with their inner darkness. This film takes the walls built by Cage and lets Hardy knock them down. Venom and Eddie are partners and unique characters, Anne and Dan are awesome, and even Carnage and Cletus have a ton of fun.

The film has its problems. Comic fans are going to leave disappointed (though if you think about the fact the film has a PG-13 rating and Sony is trying to build Venom into a franchise that might appeal to children the decisions in the film make sense.) It’s best to just turn your brain off and enjoy the ride and give the relationships their laurels, kudos, and flowers. Then get mindblown by the end credits scene after almost two years without them.

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Venom in Columbia Pictures’ VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE.

Delicious Chicken-y Treats

  • The fan service to the Raimi Spider-Man films (and Sony films in general) is everywhere. The final battle in a church, the perching above the city. I’ve ridden the superhero movie train since 2004. I love it.
  • Eddie and Venom are if not in love with each other then in the kind of brotp we all envy. But let’s be real. Hardy went all in on the SymBrock train gleefully telling producers “I am Tom Hardy, I am Bane. You merely adopted the superhero movie. I was born into it, molded by it, I did not see real movies until I was a young man and by then they were stupid.”
  • World building! Lore! Hooray!

Not So Delicous Treats

  • There is something that happens in this that anyone with eyeballs is gonna see and know that diehard comic fans are going to be really upset (Who am I kidding? I was.)
  • We’re going to have a discussion about how this franchise treats BIPOC actors when more people have seen it because I’m very sure people have thoughts.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage is open now in theaters.

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