6 Thoughts on Venom: Let There Be Carnage
We are now living in a world where the Venom sequel might just top most of the major Marvel Studios movie releases this year. Venom: Let There Be Carnage exploded at the opening weekend box office, earning more than $90 million, beating the three day opening weekend totals of both Black Widow and Shang-Chi. Granted, these are pandemic numbers, but still! Venom 2 is apparently a popular movie!
Movie Rating: 6/10 – Pretty Good
I saw Venom: Let There Be Carnage opening night, because that’s how I roll with most superhero movies. I was a lukewarm fan of the first film, finding it to be a rather dumb affair, held aloft solely by the insane fun of Tom Hardy’s dual lead performances. The sequel brings all of that back, while also finally bringing Carnage into a live action movie. Fans have been waiting for Carnage for a very long time. Did he live up to the hype?
Join me after the jump for my thoughts and review of Venom: Let There Be Carnage. Expect FULL SPOILERS for the movie. And feel free to share your own thoughts on the film in the comments!
6. Better than the first one
I don’t think either Venom movie is a good movie. I think they’re watchable, but they don’t hold a candle to any of the MCU movies. And the first one had some major problems. The sequel is…it’s fine. And it’s definitely better than the first one — even though I’ve apparently give them equal ratings. They’ll probably both even out as pretty much the same film in my mind once some time passes. Let There Be Carnage has some problems that hold it back, and we’ll get to those in a second. But honestly, I can’t really think of anything to say about the movie as a whole because everything revolves entirely around the next entry on this list. Like, this movie shouldn’t even exist if not for…
5. Eddie/Venom remains the only great part of these movies
So much for my attempts at a regular review. But seriously, I love the one-two punch of Tom Hardy playing both Eddie Brock and Venom. Their chemistry together is a lot of fun and I really enjoy this overall character Hardy has brought to life. They’re fun to watch. I love that they really are both losers. Eddie is neurotic and disheveled, a real dirt bag. And Venom is lonely and weird. They work wonderfully together, and they elevate not only the movie but every other character in the movie. Anne and Dan are not interesting on their own, but they’re fun supporting characters to Eddie and Venom. Mrs. Chen is a lot of fun, but only really in the context of interacting with Venom.
Tom Hardy has done a phenomenal job creating this very interesting character, and everyone else has made movies that are just good enough to support him and not drag him down. It’s a weird way to make a franchise, but so be it.
4. Where is the money coming from?!
How did this movie make over $90 million in its opening weekend? How did the first Venom make over $800 million total? Where is the money coming from? Do people really love the character of Venom that much? It can’t just be that people are confusing Venom 2 for a Marvel movie, because it beat out the actual Marvel movies. And neither Venom movie is as good as either Black Widow or Shang-Chi, so surely it’s not word-of-mouth? Or maybe people don’t care about the quality of movie? Is the fandom really that big for wanting to see Venom and Carnage on the big screen? I know they’re popular characters…but popular enough with general audiences? I just don’t understand.
3. Carnage was good, but he could have been great
I liked Carnage in this movie, but I feel like he could have been so much more. First the positive: he looked great. He looked like Carnage should look, with the red and black and all the sharp, pointy bits. I’m a little miffed that, towards the end, he started growing into a giant for some reason. In the comics, Carnage was the tiny one while Venom was the big one, so I was a little bugged that Carnage was often bigger than Venom in this movie. But that’s a nitpick. He still looked great, and Cletus Kasady was great. Woody Harrelson gave a fine performance. The character came together nicely.
But I also feel that Carnage could have been so much more. For one thing, the Carnage symbiote didn’t get much of a personality. When so much attention is put on the Venom symbiote having this fun and unique personality, I was disappointed that Carnage didn’t get the same. He seemed to just be a blandly evil guy. And heck, if you go by the comics, the Carnage symbiote didn’t even need its own voice. In the comics, Cletus and the symbiote bond so completely that there aren’t two of them.
I also would have liked more random carnage. There are a few moments from the comics that have always stuck with me about Carnage, and they all point towards the idea that he was this uncontrollable killing machine. Carnage is what happens when a serial killer gets super-powers: he goes on a murderous rampage. But other than that one car on the bridge, movie Carnage really just focuses in on a to-do list of damage. Yes, he kills a bunch of guards and doctors, but those were all about either escaping prison or rescuing Shriek. And then he very specifically goes after his old juvenile home and his desire to get married to Shriek. Does he also kill his father? I don’t remember.
I get why all of this was done. The movie wanted to give Carnage some reasonable and relatable motivations for his villainy. But that’s not Carnage. He should have gone on a city-wide killing spree, where only Eddie Brock and Venom stand a chance at stopping him.
2. Toxin sucks
Look, I’m a victim of loving new symbiotes as much as the next guy. When Marvel first introduced Toxin all those years ago, I was 100% on board to check him out. I thought he had all sorts of potential! But then Marvel realized he didn’t, and Patrick Mulligan was killed off panel so they could do something else with the symbiote, and now Toxin is lost in a sea of a bajillion symbiotes. He’s worthless now. And he’d be even more worthless in any future Venom movies. So that tease of Patrick Mulligan’s eyes glowing at the end of Let There Be Carnage was a waste of a tease. Let it go down in history alongside the Leader’s glowing eyes at the end of The Incredible Hulk.
1. Bring on the MCU!
Thankfully, I wasn’t spoiled about the mid-credits scene before heading to the theater. Obviously this sort of crossover was possible, but I did not think Marvel and Sony would play ball like this. I didn’t think it would happen. But here go! Venom has been transported through the multiverse and into the MCU! I’m very excited for this. As I said before, the Brock/Venom character is the only good part of these movies and is enough of a fleshed out character that I’m actually excited for him to appear in Spider-Man movies. I can picture this guy interacting with Tom Holland’s Peter Parker. It should work wonderfully. So I’m very excited to actually see it happen. Hopefully it’ll happen as early as Spider-Man: Far From Home, but I can wait longer if necessary.
Normally, I’m not a huge fan of introducing characters through interdimensional travel. I really hope that’s not how Marvel works the X-Men and Fantastic Four. But I’ll let this one slide. Let’s just see it happen and have fun!
Honorable Mention: I want Jenny Slate to come back as Scream
I had this idea following the first Venom and I stand by it: The villain should have been Jenny Slate, and she should have played Scream. All of the pieces were there! Jenny Slate had a role as a heroic figure, only to die tragically mid-film. The Scream symbiote was right there. And Riot sucked as a main villain. Fortunately, movies are weird, as are symbiotes, so the franchise can just say that the Scream symbiote bonded with Jenny Slate and kept her alive this whole time, and then she can do a surprise reveal in the third one! I’m going to hold out hope. It’s the least I can do.