There was carnage.
Spider-Man has always been a bit contentious in my opinion, like any superhero he’s had his ups and downs and while the Toby McGuire films are just short of quaint arthouse movie-going these days, I never watched the Andrew Garfield movies. The Tom Holland films are on par with the rest of the MCU, despite the constant struggle between Sony and Disney over who can be the biggest asshole when it comes to a business deal made thirty years ago.
Venom was a great film when it came out in 2018, in big part due to its lead Tom Hardy who looks like absolute shit throughout the entire film and never really cleans up. It was a fantastic movie that came out during a time when we could be assured that Sony’s portion of the Marvel universe would not connect with the MCU, at least outside of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man. I have a feeling with the upcoming release of Morbius and the MCU’s focus on the multiverse that this is going to change at some point in the future. Don’t quote me on that, I’m not a scholar. I’m just saying Marvel is strong-arming Sony into giving its toys back.
But we knew that Venom 2 would be on its way and that it would feature Carnage, a staple of the Venom universe. Carnage of course being another symbiote because if there’s one thing Marvel and DC love when making villains it is to take the protagonist and make the antagonist them but with another colored suit and evil. See Red Hulk, Dark Supergirl, Bizarro, Reverse Flash, Yellowjacket, Captain Nazi, The Frightful Four, Dr. Normal Guy, Iron Maiden, Iron Monger, and who can forget Manos, brother of Thanos with the power of being crippled by the infinity costume rigging.
But like I said, I really like the Venom movie and this one is no different. Structurally it feels very short and that’s because it’s a 97 minute film. An insane concept in a Marvel world where these films are generally always over two hours and much shorter than 2018’s Venom which was 112 minutes. It’s great because the film cuts out a lot of the bullcrap, but I had a moment in the movie where it dawned on me that the final battle had clearly started and we were about to wrap up. Where the hell did the time go?
Tom Hardy is back as Eddie Brock, aka Venom. Eddie is summoned by Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson), a serial killer on the tail end of being sentenced to death. Kasady takes a special interest in Brock for some unknown reason, and thanks to the magic of movie shenanigans ends up biting Brock and absorbing some of the Venom symbiote. This transforms him into the monster known as Carnage, and his name is Carnage because Kasady says Carnage a lot before he transforms. It’s a thing you can do, which is why I always mutter ‘big boob goth girl’ before I bite people on the street. Just in case I contract that Elvira symbiote.
One positive that Carnage has going for it is that the villains are a lot more interesting than the first movie. Carnage and Shriek are their own characters with motivations compared to the symbiotes from the first film who just wanted to invade earth, and you do get a feeling for their genuine love for one another. The fight at the end has more going for it with the main and supporting actors playing their parts well and everyone having something to do. There’s more of a focus on the relationship between Eddie Brock and Venom as the quirky duo who fight but ultimately are good friends.
Let There Be Carnage is goofy and juvenile, and generally faithful to the source material. Much like the 2018 movie, it’s a film that the critics will hate and the audience will love and one that will pull in a rectum-load of money despite theaters still suffering in the pandemic. There’s a lot of hack fraud movie critics who have no familiarity with the source material whining in their reviews about how Sony didn’t make Eddie Brock and Venom gay and left it at a bromance. I’m serious.
My biggest gripe with this movie, and this is one of the few times I will say this, is that it’s too short. Generally in a superhero movie you expect that scene in the middle where the hero and villain meet, the villain beats the hero, who then regroups for the big fight. This never happens. We get somewhere in the realm of 70 minutes of watching the Eddie/Venom bromance show interspersed with Carnage killing people uninhibited, and then they come face to face and the final fight happens. Instead of the less epic mid-film fight we have Eddie and Venom breaking up so Venom can go attend an underground rave.
I’m not making any of that up.
Your enjoyment of the first film will dictate whether or not you like this, since it’s kinda like a separate plot of the same lawn. There’s a third film coming and we can hope they do something this time around that doesn’t involve another symbiote villain.
There’s a post-credits scene and that’s all I will say.