Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021)

Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Director: Andy Serkis
Writer: Kelly Marcel
Based on: David Michelinie and Todd McFarlane‘s comics character
Sequel to: Venom
Cast: Tom Hardy, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Williams, Naomie Harris, Reid Scott, Stephen Graham, Peggy Lu
Part of: (as of now) Marvel movies
Seen on: 21.10.2021

Plot:
Eddie (Tom Hardy) and Venom have found a way to live together. Kind of. Eddie’s life is still a mess after everything that happened and he slowly tries to get back into working as a journalist but that’s easier said than done with Venom in tow who keeps crying for brains, and for Anne (Michelle Williams) although Eddie does his best to let Anne live her new life. When serial killer on death row Cletus (Woody Harrelson) asks for Eddie, personally, to share his life secrets with him, Eddie gets the chance he has been waiting for. But the encounter with Cletus doesn’t exactly go smoothly and when Venom gets involved, something stays behind with Cletus that really shouldn’t.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage leans into the strengths of the first film and gives us (almost) all the romance you could wish for. The not-so-romantic parts still don’t work perfectly, but I did enjoy myself again.

The film poster showing Eddie (Tom Hardy), the right half of his face covered by half of Venom's face.

The first Venom surprised by using RomCom conventions for the relationship between Venom and Eddie. This time round, they really lean into this. It’s not about meeting somebody, but about figuring out how to be with them. Again, the film draws on RomCom conventions, but this time it seems less like a subconscious “it just happened” kind of thing, but a very conscious choice that the film really leans into.

At its heart, it’s a very romantic film in general. We not only have Eddie and Venom who can’t be without each other anymore and who spur each other on to be the best versions of themselves. There is also the triangle they form with Anne that is very romantic in its own way, albeit in a more unrequited way. And finally, there is Cletus and his love Frances (Naomie Harris) that is very romantic, although in a toxic way, giving us ample contrast to the way Eddie and Venom take care of each other. It’s not that Eddie and Venom are entirely “untoxic” but compared to this, they are pretty good – even if it doesn’t appear so at first.

Eddie (Tom Hardy) in a bathrobe, clutching a chicken, looking at Venom who is extended from Eddie's shoulder.

In any case, Tom Hardy appears to have the time of his life in this double role. Generally it feels like the cast and the filmmakers behind the camera had a blast – and that is always a good starting point for a comedy. It certainly gives us some delicious ham to enjoy from all sides. (Michelle Williams is probably physically incapable of hamming it up, but even she obviously has fun with the role and with Venom.)

Next to the character building and the comedy, the action takes a backseat. It just isn’t as compelling, and it feels a little heavy next to the comedic lightness. But that’s quite okay – there is enough to be entertained by in the film. Oh, and you’ll wanna stay through the credits.

Carnage showing his toothy "smile".

Summarizing: fun times.

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