Marvel fans love Venom and Spider-Man, but there was some hesitancy when Sony announced a solo movie for Venom way back in 2017. When the film debuted a year later with $80 million, it broke the October opening weekend box office record, and went on to gross over $850 million worldwide thanks in no small part to a huge release in China.
Fast-forward three years and Sony is looking to repeat that success with a sequel. Find out if the new release holds up with our Venom: Let There Be Carnage review.
Review | Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Most comic book purists turned their nose up to the first Venom movie. It strayed from the comic book origins of the characters, there was no Spider-Man, and the humor wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. If you shared those views of the first film, Let There Be Carnage won’t play out any differently for you.
However, if you enjoyed the first film for what it was, you should find a lot to love about the sequel.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage opens with Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) down on his luck. Work isn’t going well, his ex-girlfriend Anne Weying (Michelle Williams) isn’t talking to him, and police detective Mulligan (Stephen Graham) is on his back about the events of the first film.
On the bright side, Brock’s relationship with Venom has somewhat improved as the two set off for an exclusive interview with serial killer Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson). Everything about the original Venom is amplified in Let There Be Carnage.
The Venom symbiote has a lot more one-liners in the same vein as, “…like a turd in the wind.” There’s also a lot of CG mayhem that usually looks okay, but falls short on occasion throughout the film.
The origins of Carnage and how they handle Shriek (Naomie Harris) take a fair amount of liberties compared to the source material, but it’s on par with how Venom was changed for the first film.
Harrelson delivers an interesting performance as Cletus Kasady. There are times when he pushes the insanity a little too far, but he adds nuance to the role that almost brings the character down to Earth.
Kasady’s partner in crime, Shriek (Naomie Harris), isn’t as tempered and lets everything fly when the action kicks off. For the most part, these are both largely forgettable villains, but they still work well within the context of the film.
Peggy Lu steals multiple scenes as convenience store owner, Mrs. Chen. She was fun in the first film, but this time around she gets a few more scenes and really pushes the character to create one of the few bright spots in the movie.
The same enthusiasm is shared by Anne Weying’s love interest, Dr. Dan Lewis (Reid Scott). He wasn’t much fun in the first film, but with roughly equal amounts of screen time, he gets to let loose a bit with his one-liners in Let There Be Carnage.
The first film felt like a dated comic book movie that had potential, but needed a much better script. Instead of hiring better writers, Sony opted to keep the same writers and get a better director.
Unfortunately, direction wasn’t the issue most people had with the first Venom film, which results in a sloppy sequel that simply doubles down on the problems. Still, if the first movie didn’t bother you, chances are you’ll thoroughly enjoy the sequel.
There’s one mid-credits scene that will almost certainly be spoiled if you don’t see the film this weekend. Either make the time to go see it if you enjoyed the first film, or be prepared to get spoiled by those who do.
- The mid-credits scene is arguably the best scene in the movie.
- Fans of the first film should enjoy what the sequel has to offer.
- Scene stealing performance from Peggy Lu.
- Woody Harrelson’s nuanced performance as Cletus Kasady.
- CG effects quality is spotty throughout.
- Uninspired plot.
- Very little motivation for the antagonists.
- Strays too far from the source material.