Venom: Let There Be Carnage, 3.5***
Sony Pictures Releasing
Running Time: 97 Minutes
Review: Matthew Alicoon, Thursday October 28th 2021
Venom: Let There Be Carnage follows Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) as he struggles to adjust to his life as the host of the symbiotic Venom, whilst serial killer Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson) escapes from prison after becoming the host of Carnage.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage has a lot going for it. It is a very fast-paced to the point film where nothing ever feels like it drags. Woody Harrelson was the best performer in the film, as he brought a very terrifying and psychopathic portrayal of Cletus in the film. He captured a truthful and horrifying essence of the character by having a bigger on-screen presence than Riot (Riz Ahmed) from the last film. It was also enjoyable to see Stephen Graham in the film who ends up having quite a pivotal role. We get a broader expansion of the dynamic between Eddie and Venom on screen in which they shared some good comedic moments together.
The prison escape and the final showdown were incredibly directed sequences by Andy Serkis with a lot of tension and stakes added to them. It was a very enjoyable film to watch. However, the biggest issue is the film felt safe and it really could have gone to another level if certain plot elements were amended. The main problem with the film is that there are too many attempts at comedy here, which makes you become detached slightly from the seriousness of the story, as after all the villain is a serial killer. In some ways, the endless amount of comedy weakens the film and makes it seem childish. If the film had embodied a more serious approach to the story, it could have such an engrossing rivalry between Eddie and Cletus.
Also, with how the end of the final showdown played out there was a line said which could have added an extra deeper layer to the piece but the film took the easy way out. At the core of the film, there is all the makings of a great film from its cast, crew and narrative. However, it just needed more. It is a brilliantly entertaining quick 90-minute film but having elements expanded or changed could have taken the film to another level and up a grade.
Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock/Venom
Woody Harrelson as Cletus Kasady/Carnage
Michelle Williams as Anne Weying
Naomie Harris as Frances Barrison/Shriek
Stephen Graham as Patrick Mulligan