After countless delays, Eddie Brock and his ravenous alien symbiote are finally back — and in peak form — in the long-awaited sequel Venom: Let There Be Carnage. Following the post-credits scene in the 2018 origin story Venom, this film formally introduces serial killer Cletus Kasady (sans the wild curls) and the alien symbiote Carnage. It’s a bloodthirsty, tentacle-filled romcom for the ages … essentially.
In the days since its premiere, Venom: Let There Be Carnage has proven to be a divisive topic amongst critics. A similar response poured in after the first film, though it was ultimately a hit — according to regular audiences — regardless. Keeping this in mind, Let There Be Carnage doesn’t waste time trying to craft a story to appease the naysayers. If you weren’t on board for Tom Hardy in a lobster tank, you don’t deserve Venom at the club covered in glowsticks.
If you expected anything different from a movie about a guy who spends most of his time bickering with the monster inside of him about exercising enough self control to not treat innocent bystanders like an all you can eat buffet, I’m not sure what to tell you. This film is here for delightful chaos and nothing less.
In a world where we’ve become so accustomed to the uptick in films and shows about larger-than-life tales of superheroes, villains, and their cosmically calamitous battles (which are certainly enjoyable in their own right), Let There Be Carnage carves its own path and simply asks audiences to sit back and have fun. Sure, there’s an underlying plot with a villain ready and waiting to strike, but this serves as a mere vehicle for the spicy sweet sauce that we’re all here for: the relationship between Eddie and Venom.
Taking its cues from the original, Let There Be Carnage hinges heavily on this relationship, recognizing how much it resonated with audiences in the first place. They’re the beating heart of the Venom franchise and truly the central aspect of this story. Armed with a snappy, witty, and downright hilarious script, Tom Hardy continues to put on an incredibly entertaining and captivating performance as he portrays the perpetually erratic Eddie while simultaneously voicing the monstrously insatiable Venom.
In recognition of his time now spent living on Earth and inside of Eddie’s head, the film develops Venom’s anti-hero personality, values, and morals in an intuitive way that works well in contrast to those of his human host. Unsatisfied with a diet of chocolate and chickens, certainly Eddie should let him take a jaunt around town to snack on some bad guys for the greater good, right?
There’s an unfiltered, unhinged edge to their interactions that plays directly into the absurdity of their symbiotic connection in the best way possible. And there is not a single doubt in my mind that Hardy could easily sell a slice of life piece exploring nothing more than Eddie and Venom’s exasperated, bickering married couple dynamic. Like, I need to see Christmas morning with these two.
As for villains, Woody Harrelson brings Cletus Kasady to life with a demented, twisted portrayal, which is further enhanced by the unforgiving darkness brought forth with Carnage. While Venom has always been intimidating in his own right, Carnage is a far more dangerous and brutal character, and this comes across fantastically in the visual effects used to create and animate the alien symbiote. Contrasting with the otherwise humorous tone sprinkled throughout the movie, Carnage’s scenes carry a frightening, horrifying edge.
Michelle Williams and Reid Scott are welcome returning players as Eddie’s ex Anne and her new beau Dr. Dan, respectively. Amidst the destructive, death-defying battle that builds up and unfolds between the symbiotes and their hosts, the film also continues to build upon the amusing dynamics established between Anne, Dan, Eddie, and Venom in the first film.
Finally, I’d be remiss not to vaguely gesture wildly at the air in response to the bombshell dropped during the film’s post-credit scene. While it remains to be seen exactly where and when the repercussions of what occurred will play out, it’s guaranteed to be a game changer.
Overall, Venom: Let There Be Carnage is a deliciously good time, here to reward fans generously for sticking around for the second installment in the odd couple story of Eddie Brock and Venom.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage is now playing in theaters.