Victoria judges the second Venom film as a pleasant, but deeply mediocre affair, where even a studded cast and prolific director couldn’t fully elevate the badly written story.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage, directed by Andy Serkis is, without doubt, a movie that never posed as a cinematic masterpiece; it is shamelessly a source of pure fun, entertainment for a bad movie night. As an audience, we are put through 90 minutes of disorienting narrative, wasted potential, and just incredible plot conveniences. Don’t get me wrong, it is a higher quality film than its predecessor Venom (2018), and is a better time-pass, with its improved humour and leaning into its own dumbness, it just isn’t anything to write home about.
The plot of the second film unfolds immediately after the events of the first; Eddie Brock has dealt with the insane billionaire who wanted to “save” the planet by merging symbiotes and humans. However, despite saving the world, our main protagonist’s life is still going rapidly downhill; his fiancé has officially left him, his career is in ruins, and all he does now is to stay at home and argue with his symbiote. That is the state of affairs up until Eddie is offered a job, to interview a life-sentenced psycho maniac Cletus Kasady, who, spoiler, becomes the Carnegie.
The disoriented narrative is a deeper-rooted problem within the film, as Venom himself is technically not a standalone character, and is, at best, serving the role of a narrative push. In the comics, TV shows, and prior film adaptations he is more often a punching bag for Spider Man than a fleshed-out character, leaving Sony Production creators almost nothing to work with in order to build the cinematic universe they so desperately want to have. Again, nipping at the first film, the writers clearly didn’t know whether they wanted the main character to be a hero or antihero. This conflict is apparent again in the sequel, as for the majority of the film Venom and Eddie aren’t doing much but converse with one another, leaving the audience viewing them like secondary characters in a sitcom, while Carnegie has his main character moment.
Fortunately, this film doesn’t take itself as seriously as the first one; the creators understand that the audience is not expecting it to be Sony’s magnum opus. You will definitely laugh more at the story plot than the actual jokes – at one point, Carnegie literally uses his tongue to hack into a US military secret database. This leads to my last point, the absolute fiesta of plot conveniences: at this point symbiotes can do absolutely anything. This is a disadvantage for the story itself because it does not truthfully reflect the original Venom from the comics or the later adaptations we fell in love with as 2000s kids. This is no longer the Venom who managed to corrupt the sweet Peter Parker and aid him in his channeling of an inner dark side, this is the Venom that mostly serves as comic relief. I acknowledge a reboot can sometimes provide a necessary clean slate for a character previously injusticed (see Marvel re-campaigning the character of Hulk in 2012’s Avengers Assemble after the fruitless 2003 flick) but this time it doesn’t seem to have worked out. As stressed, this movie is no cinematic masterpiece, but a great time spent with friends? Potentially. But definitely not something to rewatch unless under influence. Its most notable use is its establishing of Venom’s significance within MCU’s phase four…