Venom: Let There Be Carnage – Film Review
by Gearoid O’Byrne
Director Andy Serkis
Writers Kelly Marcel(screenplay by), Tom Hardy(story by), Todd McFarlane(Marvel’s Venom character created by)
Stars Tom Hardy, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Williams
This is the sequel to “Venom” from 2018, wherein Eddie Brock, a failed reporter, was successfully symbiotically bonded to an alien entity, the eponymous Venom who was planning to invade Earth. The film is directed by Andy Serkis who viewers might remember as Gollum in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. Serkis previously directed Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle in 2018.
Tom Hardy reprises his role as the endearing Eddie, and almost immediately we are taken into the internal struggle between Eddie and Venom, his shapeshifting symbiotic lodger. Eddie is trying to hide the existence of Venom as he fears them both being taken to Area 51 for experimentation.
Venom on the other hand is struggling to control his instincts to eat human brains which unsurprisingly contain a unique chemical he requires. Eddie is trying to keep him satisfied with chickens and chocolate, both of which just about meet his needs but Venom’s frustration is palpable and both host and symbiont are definitely getting on each other’s nerves, frequently resulting in Eddie’s apartment getting thrashed! It doesn’t help Eddie’s mood when his ex-fiancée Anne Weying (Michelle Williams) announces she is getting engaged to her new boyfriend Dr Dan Lewis (Reid Scott). Eventually, Venom leaves Eddie’s body and passes through a number of temporary hosts before ending up as his alien self at a fancy-dress party where his “costume” is much admired by the other participants!
Meanwhile, Eddie’s journalistic career gets a boost when he is invited to death row to interview deranged serial killer Cletus Kasady (a suitably wicked Woody Harrelson). This results in an invite to Cletus’s execution which unfortunately results in a physical altercation between the two men resulting in blood being spilt and with it some symbiote material, leading to Cletus also becoming
host to an even bigger and more dangerous alien symbiote, Carnage. After breaking out and going on the rampage, Cletus releases his girlfriend Frances Barrison/ Shriek (Naomie Harris) from a high-security jail where she is held in seclusion due to her ability to project destructive sound waves.
Funnily enough, both Venom and Carnage cannot cope with loud sounds and must retreat into their hosts whenever faced with the same. Eddie and Venom must (literally) come together once again and put aside their differences if Cletus’ reign of terror is to be stopped.
This is an entertaining sequel with a lot of comic moments which doesn’t take itself too seriously. Tom Hardy is impressive and the internal dialogue between Eddie and Venom is surprisingly warm and vulnerable. Both come to accept how much they actually like each other as well as enabling each to achieve more than they can do on their own. The special effects are suitably spectacular with some great set-piece battle scenes. A lot of familiar Hollywood tropes are employed, monsters hanging off spires, destruction in Gothic cathedrals, burning of crumbling mansions and all punctuated with funny wise cracks and a great sense of pace. It’s not the most sophisticated film you’ll see in the cinema this week, but there is a lot to enjoy in this anti-hero comic book feast.
Oh and be sure to stay till the end of the credits, you never know what hints of the next film might be dropped!