REVIEW: Venom: Let There Be Carnage


I must tell you, I went into this movie not knowing what was in store for me and tried to keep my expectations low. After watching it, I can safely say that this movie was better than I thought it would be. The sad thing about that statement is it’s really not saying all that much.

“Inconsistency: the Movie” (better known as “Venom: Let There Be Carnage”) released in theatres on Oct. 1, and sees Tom Hardy return as Eddie Brock/Venom as they go toe-to-toe with the fabled serial killer and latest diabolical adversary, Cletus Kassidy/Carnage, played by Woody Harrelson. 

Let’s begin with the positives, which mostly come from Tom Hardy. Similar to the first Venom film, the bright spot of this movie is Tom Hardy’s portrayal of Eddie Brock and Venom. He did a fine job with the physical comedy he was tasked with, and his dynamic with Venom was very well displayed. Out of all the acting in this movie, the obvious standout is Hardy’s performance, which isn’t really hard considering most of the other characters fell astoundingly flat. 

Another silver lining was that the action was handled better this time around. Whereas the first film’s action was very questionable due to the dark lighting used to hide the downright repulsive CGI, they have somewhat fixed that problem here. The first time Carnage comes onto the scene actually gave me goosebumps. Insomuch as I thought the character of Carnage would be handled poorly in the action department, I was pleasantly surprised, as the scene features a crazy prison breakout that felt exactly like what Carnage would do.

That’s about all I have, however, for praises. This movie is a bit of a hot mess.

First off, the writing, while it may not be as all over the place as the first movie, still fails to capture my attention. The film asks you to care about all of its characters and what happens to them, but nothing within the dialogue or the performances of the other actors is convincing enough. For instance, the character Shriek, rather than being an interesting character who brings something engaging to the table, was very shoehorned in and felt extremely out of place.

Furthermore, the script contains a ridiculous amount of plot holes. For example, why does Cleetus Kassidy care so much about Eddie Brock? How does Cleetus know so much about him? Why does he specifically want Eddie to interview him? Overall, the writing is not completely atrocious, but poor character development, plot holes, and certain moments of cringe-worthy dialogue make the screenplay so mediocre it hurts. 

Now let’s move on to the biggest problems I have with this movie – the violence and the portrayal of Kassidy. If you were to go into a film class or congregate amongst a crowd of film buffs and ask them what they thought about the first “Venom”, chances are they’ll probably tell you they don’t understand how it wasn’t rated R. In the case of this film, the same would probably be said.

I can tell director Andy Serkis (yes, THAT Andy Serkis) really wants this to be rated R. With all the insane violence and even a lone F-bomb thrown in, I could just feel him clawing and scratching to push past that PG-13 boundary, but every time the film moved in that direction, it started to dial back and felt very limited. Why you would put limitations on a movie about Carnage, one of the most violent symbiotes in Marvel history, is a mystery I won’t ever solve. 

Finally, the portrayal of Carnage … Sony, what happened? As I stated earlier, both films nail Venom and Eddie Brock, down to how they always use the pronoun “we” when referring to each other. The reason they say “we” instead of “I” is because Eddie Brock will not allow himself to fully embrace Venom and his erratic, violent behaviors.

Likewise, Venom understands that Brock isn’t willing to completely lose himself and hand over complete control of his own mind and body to become one being. Kassidy, on the other hand, is a monster who wants nothing more than to see the world burn, and Carnage is a representation of his burning rage. Together they are one. This is why Carnage and Kassidy use the pronoun “I” when they merge in past, more faithful interpretations of their characters. Kassidy and his symbiote were always depicted as one and the same. But for some reason, this movie strays from those original interpretations.

Like Brock and Venom, they use “we” instead of “I” and show Kassidy constantly at odds with Carnage. That to me is a betrayal of Kassidy’s original character and does a disservice to the source material. Harrelson isn’t the problem here – he’s quite good. It’s the writers and studio who seem to not understand the character. Once again, Sony does what they do best with their Spider-Man characters; they go against correct portrayals of source material. 

To conclude, this movie is a disappointment. The action and the dynamic between Venom and Brock are all pretty good, but it isn’t enough for me to recommend this movie to you. The inconsistency, plot holes, bland characters, and the misrepresentation of its main character bog the film down way too much.

If there is one reason you should see this movie, it would be to help the box office and keep the cinematic experience afloat during these difficult COVID times. OR…stay for the end credit scene. It’s worth the price of admission if you can get past all of the other ridiculousness (which basically means most of the movie).

Hey Sony and Marvel, I think it might be time to change producers, eh? 


Jury declares: D+