Venom: Let There Be Carnage
By: Justin Hopkins
When we did our review on the first Venom movie, I had some serious reservations about going in. All my doubts were proven wrong and ended up being a really good movie. Going into this one… all of those doubts had come back. Wasn’t to thrilled by what I had seen in trailers. Wasn’t keen on Woody playing Cletus. Thought he could do it, just thought younger would have been better. Then I saw the rating and wasn’t keen on that. My love of the Venom character was always going to get me in the door though. So, lets dive in and discuss shall we.
The movie opens at a reform house, where Young Cletus is talking to Young Shriek, Florence. Who is upset that they are going to be taking her away. Her powers were growing to strong to safely keep her locked away here. When they do come for her, Cletus is enraged. Banging on a window. They get her loaded into the van and start to drive her away. When she tries to escape with a supersonic screech. Only for the cop to shot her. Believing her to be dead. Except, she survived and is locked away in Ravencroft. We jump to today and we see Eddie talking to Officer Mulligan. Telling him that Cletus wants to meet with him. Venom is agitated and Eddie has to stop him from taking a bite out of Mulligan and actually pull him into the bathroom. After a brief argument. They are on their way to meet with Cletus. Who makes him a deal to give his life story if he publishes his words first. Which is a hidden message to Florence. On their way out, they spot sketches etched into the wall. Which Venom is able to draw later and uses that to find a slew of buried bodies. Which puts Cletus on Death Row. Back at home, Eddie and Venom are bickering. Venom is hungry and is fueled on something called Phenethylamine, which is found in brains and chocolate. Since they are out of chocolate. Eddie wants him to eat the chickens, but Venom refuses to eat Sonny and Cher. Caving in and they go to the store but don’t have any chocolate so it’s off to a chicken factory. Which Venom reluctantly raids. Taking control after. Running around. Arguing that they should be heroes and eating bad guys. Even breaking up a mugging that he didn’t need to get involved in. Only stopping his trek when Ann calls. Wanting to meet where they learn that she is engages. Which is devastating to them both. The next morning Venom is trying to take care and cheer him up. They receive a letter from Cletus. Wanting them to be present for the execution. Venom doesn’t want them to but Eddie insists. When they get their. Cletus starts in on him which sets off Venom. Who grabs Cletus, pulling Eddie against the bars and then Cletus against said bars. Allowing him to bite Eddie’s Hand. Getting a bit of his blood on his face. That we see begin to sprout into a Symbiote. That he eats. Eddie and Venom argue all the way home. Which turns into name calling and then a fight. Stuff starts getting thrown out of the window, chickens threatened and finally, Eddie sets off the fire alarm. Ensuing sound sends Venom Fleeing out of the window. Where he attaches himself to a passerby and leaves, but not before destroying Eddie’s bike and flipping him off. On death row, Cletus is hooked up and procedure for Lethal Injection begins when the Symbiote is awoken and Carnage is born. Killing everyone is his path as they escape and that is where I will leave it for now.
One of best part of the movie is the relationship between Eddie and Venom. Outside of the fact that it gives some hilarious moments. The fact that it is a rocky relationship. They each have their own wants and desires. Eddie trying his best to help Venom, but with keeping them hidden and off the radar. While Venom wants to be out. Enjoying the Earth, being able to be a hero and feast on bad guys and it all adds so much to the movie and some of the best parts come from their dynamic.
I do like what they did with them. Him embracing Earth and genuine love fore life. His love of Anne was a nice touch. Thought I would hate the rave scene, but was quite wholesome. Just him liking being around people and then missing the fact that Eddie wasn’t around to enjoy it with him. The look was a lot nicer. CGI looked a lot better. Especially, when it came to the fight scenes.
Then there is the little things. Two of which jump to mind right away. One, they doubled down on the chocolate tease from the first and went into detail on why it was so important to Venom. Having the same chemicals as Brains and compatible of sustaining him. Then showing that Carnage is capable of accessing the internet. As much as I am okay with them changing the characters up, I love it when they get those little details.
The cast was pretty spot on. Tom Hardy does a great job as Eddie Brock and the voice of Venom. Same with Michelle Williams as Anne. Woody has always done Crazy well, and his work with Cletus is no different. Chemistry between him and Tom made for some great scenes. Naoime Harris was a nice addition as Shriek. Adding a menacing presence to her performance and the way she bullied the other characters and handled herself. And got love seeing Peggy Lu return as Mrs. Chen. Was a small role, but was fun when she was on the screen.
Okay, so I do have a few negatives. Two minor and one major one. So, lets start with the minor in Shriek. Now, yes, Naoime really was good, but the way they used her at the end was confusing and dumb. She knew screaming would upset Carnage and upset them both so they start the fight with her screaming. Then what felt like a random, arbitrary moment decided Carnage went to far and wanted him to stop. I get that they needed her around to round out the end, but could have been handled a lot better.
Second, and sure there are people who will disagree with this one, but it really needed that R rating. The first Venom worked with the PG-13 and Venom himself can work like that, but we are talking about Carnage. A character so heinous that Spider-Man questioned his no kill policy and really7 thought it over in the moment. That killing him may have been the way to go. Carnage killed a diner full of people when a reporter got his name wrong. Sure he has a body count, but it does not hit the same as it would have to see him get bloody and he needed that.
” That’s a red one.” That is what Venom said when he encountered Carnage. The reason that he did not want to fight him was because he is a red one. It is silly and Carnage does call him Father, in what felt like a throw away line. Venom talks so much in this movie and all they had to do was put a few more lines of him actually calling him his son and each generation is stronger then the last, but nope. That’s a red one was all we got. This is a short movie. Could have added a couple more minutes and this negative doesn’t exist.
So, after a day thinking it over. Breaking down the things I didn’t like about it and at the end of it all. They are not very damaging ones. I had a lot of fun with this movie. Especially the interactions between Venom and Eddie. The back and forward with Eddie/Venom and Cletus/Carnage. Movie had some great laughs and solid action and I would suggest going to check it out in theaters. Final Grade – B+
As always, I hope you enjoyed and…
Thank You For Reading!