When Venom: Let There Be Carnage was first announced, I was excited. Not because I enjoyed the first Venom film, but because Carnage was finally making his big screen debut.
Carnage has always been a special class of villain, one that was designed to terrify and cause chaos. So I was really intrigued to see how he’d be portrayed on screen. This was especially so with Woody Harrelson being cast to play Cletus Kassady, another incredibly terrifying and psychopathic villain, who played host for the symbiote, Carnage.
So did I enjoy the film? Put it simply, no. Why you ask? Well read on.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage had all the ingredients for a solid superhero / anti hero film. With top grade actors like Tom Hardy, Woody Harrelson, Naomi Harris and Michelle Williams, one would have expected the film to be of a certain calibre. Yet the film felt like it was on steroids, with multiple things happening way too quickly to truly enjoy the journey of Eddie Brock (Hardy) and his symbiote, Venom, finding himself taking on the juggernaut of monsters, Carnage.
The story and plot of the film built up a great deal of momentum. Setting the stage for what I hoped to be a spectacular showdown that was more than just fist fights. Unfortunately, just when the film reached it’s most crucial moment, it fell flat. This was mostly due in part to there needing to be some kind of ‘explanation’ for Kassady’s troubling behaviour, while Brock and Venom ‘broke up’.
While there were humourous moments between Brock and Venom, this grew rather tiresome when carried out throughout the entire film. The dynamic between the two resembled an old married couple. Instead of the anti-hero he was meant to be, Venom was portrayed to be more like a bitter housewife. Meanwhile Brock consistently felt like an agitated character, in desperate need for his next ‘fix’. Considering the way in which superhero characters are developed in other films, this one really didn’t do much for me.
Speaking of characters, Kassady was an immense let down, considering he was given a fantastic start. A psychopathic serial killer, the film did it’s best to water him down, so much so that he was humanised as a victim of abuse and a man deeply in love by the end of the film. This ‘explanation’ for why Kassady was the way he was felt like a cop-out. This was the same for Shriek (Naomi Harris), whose character in the comics had far more depth to her than just being in love with Kassady.
Of course, this all went out the door once Carnage came into play. Chaos was certainly apparent in the film but all for a brief moment. Considering the symbiote is one of the most terrifying villains in the Spiderverse, this version of Carnage felt like any other monster. Without giving too much away, I expected far more from the character.
Visually, the film didn’t really inspire either, apart from the CGI allowing Carnage and Venom to be their symbiotic selves.
Overall, Venom: Let There Be Carnage really didn’t feel like a 2021 film. Looking back, the film seems more suited for the early 2000s, being almost similar to Spider-Man 3 if I’m being honest. Yes, the Tobey Maguire version. Heck even that Venom felt a lot more ‘Venom’ than this one.
The lack of story, decent pacing, and character development, coupled with overdone jokes all but made the film lacklustre in my books. If you’re a fan of Venom and enjoyed the first film, you may enjoy this sequel. If not, I’d recommend just watching the end credits.