Coming soon only in cinemas.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage is a 2021 superhero film directed by Andy Serkis, written by Kelly Marcel, produced by Columbia Pictures, Marvel Entertainment, and Tencent Pictures, and distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing. The film is based on various Venom comics by Marvel Comics. It stars Tom Hardy and Woody Harrelson. It was not nominated for any Academy Awards. This is the second film in Sony's Marvel Universe, as well as the second film in the Venom series. It was preceded by Venom and will be followed by Morbius.
"Soon come chaos." -Cletus Kasady
Three years after bonding with Venom, Eddie Brock begins losing his mind. While he and Venom have their own issues, Eddie is being used by the police to help find the missing victims of serial killer Cletus Kasady. When Kasady escapes from prison, Eddie must be extremely careful...as must Venom, because Kasady has bonded with a violent symbiote of his own called Carnage.
What Let There Be Carnage succeeds at the most is building these strange relationships between all of our characters. Each relationship is unique and odd in it's own right. Whether it's Venom and Eddie, Carnage and Cletus, Cletus and Shriek, or Eddie and Cletus, all of the characters are related to one another really well. Eddie and Cletus are pretty much enemies, but they also need each other. They have this very Batman-Joker relationship (albeit nowhere near as good) where they are polar opposites but also kind of the same in a way. And Eddie and Venom are just tons of fun to watch on screen together. I will talk about this in a little bit, but Tom Hardy's performance is just so great to watch.
Woody Harrelson also plays a complete and utter psychopath. Cletus Kasady is just all kinds of insane, with his weird, non-sensical way of speaking and his calm, high tone of voice. One of the coolest scenes in the film involves a deep backstory of Kasady when he writes a letter to Eddie. I won't say anything more, but it's a really smart way to deliver exposition and develop Kasady to make you understand the level of insanity that this man is.
The film can also be frightening at times. Carnage is a scary, scary character that is completely merciless. The things that he and Kasady do together are pretty disturbing. Even though the film is rated PG-13, Carnage pushes those limits to almost an R-rating at times. He can be very intimidating and scary. There are points where even Kasady has boundaries that Carnage pushes. The combo of him and Cletus make this movie relatively unsettling.
And, as I previously said, Tom Hardy is just wonderful. Although he is obviously trying to hide the fact that he has an English accent, he uses facial expressions and physical comedy to absolute perfection. He was good in the first Venom, but his character was written in such a strange way that I didn't really focus on his performance. Here, he is written in a much more obvious comedic role, so it was easier to enjoy his portrayal of Eddie Brock. It's hilarious.
And, as always, stick around for the post-credits. Out of the post-credits scenes that we've gotten this year from the four superhero movies that have come out, this is easily the best. It has major implications on what's coming and teases a very, very exciting new plot line in future movies.
Let me say this: I really, really don't like Venom. It's a bad movie that suffers from cliches, an overly complex plot, cheesy dialogue and performances, a tone that was all over the place, a horrid, horrid villain, and a very bad third act. Let There Be Carnage tosses most of these problems out the window. The plot is very simple. While the dialogue is still corny, the screenwriters embraced the silliness of aliens infecting humans and acting weird, so it isn't as cringe-inducing. The tone is much more campy. Even when it gets dark, there's still a silly aspect to the darkness. The villain is a huge improvement. Cletus Kasady and Carnage are much better than Carlton Drake and Riot. And, finally, the third act is light years better than Venom. The action is bigger and better, you can tell the difference between Venom and Carnage, and there's a lot of great payoff. Venom 2 fixes the worst of the first Venom, and I really liked that.
And the movie is quite efficient. At a runtime of one hour and thirty-seven minutes, it gets straight to the point. We establish Carnage and his backstory while also showing relationship troubles between Eddie and Venom. These two plot lines are developed relatively quickly and we know that Eddie and Venom have to fix their relationship to stop Kasady and Carnage at all costs. Once we get those points across, the movie just flies by like a breeze.
My biggest reservation with Let There Be Carnage is that Venom himself is not very likable in this movie. He annoys Eddie, and, in doing so, annoys the audience. He spends a lot of the movie whining about being hungry and wanting to get away from Eddie. Part of what made Venom barely watchable was Venom's charming, sarcastic nature. Now, he's just full-blown cartoon animal.
Another thing I really did not like about this film was the inclusion of Shriek. She's a key piece in the story, but the way she's handled in this film is one of the weirdest things ever. She is as insane as Cletus, because she is in love with him, but the way that they portray that romance is so awkward and creepy in the worst way possible. Naomie Harris, who is great in the James Bond movies, plays this character so oddly. She has all these mannerisms that do not work at all. Instead of coming off as chilling and getting under your skin, it comes off as cringy and over-the-top.
I thought Carnage himself was underdeveloped as well. While Carnage and Cletus are the two main antagonists of the film, Cletus gets the spotlight much more than Carnage. It's never explained why Carnage is so violent and so evil. Yes, he bonds with Kasady, but that doesn't really have to do with Carnage's personality. Carnage's end goal is never given any motivation or reason. He just wants to do this certain thing...because.
And as I mentioned before, this film is just a little bit too over-the-top. Of course, it's a movie about a serial killer that bonds with an alien symbiote to wreak havoc on the city while another alien symbiote that has a troubled relationship with his host has to stop him. That's going to be over-the-top. But it goes so cartoonish at times that it doesn't fit into the film. The movie doesn't try to have a super dark tone, but a story about Carnage is going to have some inherent darkness, and the cartoony moments don't work with the dark moments.
Finally, since the film tries to be so fast-paced, it does seem like it loses some elements of the story. I think that the main plot, which involves Carnage and Shriek, is just a strange direction to take things. Cletus Kasady is a deranged serial killer that bonds with one of the most violent comic book characters ever, and you decide to take that and make it kind of a love story? Really? Besides that, there are missing subplots. As I previously said, the Carnage symbiote himself is not really developed. The detective isn't developed. Anne doesn't serve much of a purpose until the last twenty-ish minutes. I think this film could've benefitted from twenty more minutes of content. Just to flesh things out a little bit more.
Analogy and Final Score
The Venom franchise is like a football season. The first half of the season, Venom caused the team to go 0-8. Let There Be Carnage is the first win. Still not ideal that you are now 1-8. You would've liked Let There Be Carnage to get you a few more wins. But it's one win, and, hopefully, the next Venom installments will improve that record.
I will go barely Savory here. Age range is 11+,
SWEET N' SOUR SCALE
Sweet (Great) Savory (Good)
Sour (Bad) Moldy (Terrible)
"Venom: Let There Be Carnage"
Fun Factor: 7.5/10
Directed by Andy Serkis
Rated PG-13 for moderate superhero violence and action, language, scary images, thematic elements
Released on October 1, 2021
1 hour and 37 minutes
Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock/Venom
Woody Harrelson as Cletus Kasady/Carnage
Michelle Williams as Anne Weying
Naomie Harris as Frances Barrison/Shriek
Reid Scott as Dan Lewis
Stephen Graham as Detective Mulligan/Toxin
Peggy Lu as Mrs. Chen