After several delays and reschedules, the sequel to 2018’s “Venom” has finally released into theaters. “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” stars Tom Hardy, as symbiote equipped journalist Eddie Brock, alongside Michelle Williams, Naomie Harris, Reid Scott, Stephen Graham and Woody Harrelson.
The first film is an interesting case study. It wasn’t particularly well-received by critics but audiences enjoyed it greatly, as it went on to gross over $850 million worldwide.
I am one of the supporters of the first film. Hardy’s fun, light-hearted performance in “Venom” overcomes the film’s plot issues, to create an enjoyable, campy and comedic superhero movie. Both Hardy and the movie don’t take themselves too seriously, creating an enjoyable popcorn-flick.
Unfortunately, much of this is lost with the second film.
My main issue with “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” is its forced nature. Now of course, blockbuster movies like “Venom” are corporate products that are plotted for the purpose of franchise-creation, but you never want that motive to trickle its way into the film. Movies have to maintain a strong sense of artistic vision. The franchise-creation aspects of the film should also be important, but they should be background to the plot and character.
Now, it isn’t that “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” is devoid of all artistic vision; it most definitely is not, but the film seems like it was forced to exist. The movie is a full 15 minutes shorter than its predecessor, only being 97 minutes in length. The plot and pacing suffer from this rushed nature, being essentially a 45-minute first act and a 45-minute third act in structure. Now, fast pace isn’t necessarily a problem, but the plot progression is hurried, making character development an afterthought. Combine this with the fact that the film is only focused on setting up its sequel after its short runtime, you can’t help but think that the studio made this movie simply out of necessity.
The story rehashes several of the main plot lines in the 2018 film, making it a fairly ineffective sequel in terms of character and story development. The comedy also takes a turn, as the movie loses its campy, naturally funny nature with jokes that aren’t the most effective. There are a few comedic scenes, but “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” doesn’t have the light-hearted nature that its predecessor had, making it a significantly less fun watch.
Visually this film is also disappointing. Now, 2018’s “Venom” wasn’t the most beautiful film ever made, but with the sequel bringing on three-time winner of the Oscar for Best Cinematography Robert Richardson as its cinematographer, you would expect the movie to have some well-orchestrated visual sequences. Unfortunately, like many other comic-book films these days, the film’s finale is full of visual chaos, making it very difficult to comprehend what is occurring on screen.
In the end, “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” is a film that I wanted to be great. The first film, with its campy tone, was truly fun to watch, and I was excited to see another light-hearted, comedic “Venom” movie. Unfortunately, it just made me ponder the state of the film industry, through its forced, franchise-focused nature. For these reasons, this film doesn’t earn a recommendation.