Review: ‘Venom’: Carnage in the editing room


Tom Hardy stars in “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Mack Gowan, Correspondent

In a world of superhero movie oversaturation, 2018’s “Venom” started anew. Disconnected from Marvel Studio’s wildly popular Cinematic Universe, it managed to be entertaining in a so-bad-it’s-good way. Unfortunately, the team behind “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” seems to have realized this. They attempt to recreate the charm of the first movie but this time around it just doesn’t stick. 

“Let There Be Carnage” follows Eddie Brock, along with his black-goo alien symbiote Venom, as they meet with convicted serial killer Cletus Kasady. Because of clues hidden in Kasady’s jail cell, Brock and Venom solve Kasady’s years-unsolved crimes, putting Kasady on death row. Kasady gets his own symbiote and escapes execution to hunt down Brock and reunite with his long-lost superpowered girlfriend, Francis Barrison, or Shriek.

Sony Pictures Entertainment

Though “Let There Be Carnage” features an interesting enough setup, much of the movie isn’t dedicated to it. It’s also hard for the movie to get too in-depth with any of its plotlines with its short, 97-minute runtime. The editing is disjointed and makes the movie feel less like a cohesive story and instead like a bunch of scenes cobbled together to create a mess of a final product. It feels more like a two-plus-hour movie that was cut over and over to be as short as possible.

Plenty of time is spent watching Brock and Venom argue and eventually briefly separate. The movie leans very heavily into the comedic banter between Brock and Venom, which almost entirely fell flat. Any and all side characters from the first “Venom” are almost completely ignored. Brock’s ex-fiancée and her current fiancée show up for a few scenes for comedic relief, but otherwise, just disappear into the background.

Kasady’s scenes are also largely uninteresting. He brings some of the only action until the very end of the movie, which is welcomed. These scenes are all dragged down by Naomie Harris’s performance as Barrison, which pulled me out of the movie because of how bad and distracting it was.

“Let There Be Carnage” culminates in a big final fight between Venom and Carnage, which like the first movie’s big fight is just two CGI blobs hitting each other. The scene drags on and is just boring at the end. The fight is just too little too late. It doesn’t help that there is hardly any buildup as to why Carnage even wants to attack Venom. There are hints of why they have to fight but nothing very clear is given.

The movie does have some strengths. Tom Hardy and Woody Harrellson give good performances as the leads and the CGI for the two symbiotes looks just as good as the first. The post-credits scene was also a big (and welcome) surprise. Unfortunately, a few good performances and scenes aren’t enough to save this mess of a movie. 

Sony Pictures Entertainment