Who doesn’t love carnage?
At the end of 2018’s Venom, we see Eddie Brock, portrayed by Tom Hardy, meet with a serial killer known as Cletus Kasady, portrayed by Woody Harrelson. Right at the end of that sequence, Kasady claims that ‘there will be carnage’. That single line left me hanging with so many questions; “What is carnage? What carnage will happen? How much carnage will there be?” Cut to three years later and the Sony Marvel Universe has answered these questions with the sequel to Venom known as; Venom: Let There Be Carnage. With direction by Marvel alumni, Andy Serkis, I can safely say, there most definitely was carnage!
After a short prelude where we get some insight into the upbringing and life of Cletus Kasady, we kick back into the story right where the 2018 film left off, and we see Eddie Brock interviewing Cletus Kasady. This comes at the request of lead investigator and FBI Agent, Patrick Mulligan, played by Stephen Graham. However, it seems that Kasady is the one pulling all the strings, as he requested Brock personally. With Eddie’s impeccable track record as an investigative journalist, Mulligan hopes that Kasady will spill the beans of his serial killer past. The interview takes a turn when Kasady takes a bite of Brock, yes, he literally bites his hand. Little does Kasady know, Brock has an alien parasite that has taken residence in his body and the bite transfers some of Venom over to Kasady, and thus, Carnage is born. What happens for the rest of the film can only be described as, yes, you guessed it, and here is that word again – carnage!
The first film was fantastic, and this second instalment is a wonderful companion piece. We get to see more into the relationship that Brock has formed with his parasitical housemate, Venom. They bicker and fight like an old married couple. Venom constantly wants to rip the heads off criminals, or anyone for that matter, and Brock is forever trying to convince Venom that doing so is very, very bad. Whilst Brock is playing host to Venom, you could feel that Brock was more of the passenger in this arrangement, and it really tests their relationship. There are some brilliant ‘lovers tiffs’ throughout the film that had me in stiches. This relationship is only enhanced by the fact that Tom Hardy himself co-wrote the story with Kelly Marcel. And with one of the main characters living inside Eddie Brock’s head, it only makes sense to have Tom Hardy do the writing. Oh, and he is also the voice of Venom. Oh, and he also co-produced the film! Is there anything Tom Hardy can’t do?
I was already impressed with Woody Harrelson’s character in that short clip at the end of the previous film and I was excited to see what he would bring to the character in the sequel. Thankfully, his portrayal of a serial killer is everything I expected and more. He’s so sure of himself that it is scary. Harrelson’s facial expressions, tone, and overall body language perfectly match the psychotic nature of his character. The wardrobe department also needs to be commended for dressing the character. The flamboyant outfits and style are just as crazy as Harrelson’s wonderful performance. There is also the return of some characters from the first film; Michelle Williams as ex-fiancé Anne Weying and her new partner Dr. Dan Lewis portrayed by Reid Scott. And of course, everyone’s favourite shop owner, Peggy Lu as Mrs. Chen. Each of these performances were faultless.
Where this film stands out (sorry, I have to say it again) is the carnage that unfolds on screen. There is little reprieve to the action in this film. However, when it does slow down, the scenes are perfectly scripted and performed that they don’t get lost amongst the explosions and fighting. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, in steps Marco Beltrami, who is no stranger to Marvel-based films and has worked with producer Hutch Parker in the past. Beltrami’s score is the perfect companion piece to the crazy nature of the film, working well with both the action and with following mind of a serial killer. He certainly pulls no punches in the action sequences but expertly brings the pace back down when important plot points unfold on the screen.
There is so much to love about Venom: Let There Be Carnage. The odd-couple relationship between Brock and Venom is a fun must-see experience. Whether you’re a hard-core Marvel fan, just a fan of the Venom from the comics, love your superheroes flicks, or if you’re a casual moviegoer, I can most definitely say that you will receive the product you paid for as described. That’s right, carnage (sorry, not sorry). Oh, and of course, it goes without saying, but I will say it anyway; please stay for the credits. You will not be disappointed, and like the post credit scene of the first Venom film, you’ll be left wanting more!
Venom: Let There Be Carnage is out in cinemas everywhere around Australia from Thursday, 25th November 2021. Check your local guides and cinemas for session times.