Venom. Let There Be Carnage. Quick Review.

The first Tom Hardy Venom is a huge guilty pleasure for this writer. A delightfully atrocious throwback to an age where comic book movies were the punch lines of Hollywood. Critically the final product came across as being made by a creative team unaware of the product they were unleashing on the world. Scenes like the lobster restaurant set piece, Tom Hardy eating literal garbage to feed the symbiotes hunger and the appearance of female venom shouldn’t exist in a post MCU and Dark Knight trilogy comic-book movie world. Yet they do. This viewer was doubled over with laughter behind his 3D glasses as this inexplicable yet hugely entertaining atrocity played out before him. It then ended with some obvious sequel bait. Given that the first film was successful enough the new sequel picks up directly from the first film mid-credit scene. The worry from an ironic fan of the first entry was that the filmmakers behind the follow up had developed a greater sense of self-awareness. Thus they were more likely to rain in the off the wall quality that gave the first film a bizarre magnetism. Was this the case?
Unfortunately yes. There are occasional moments when leaning into the bizarre bromance between Eddie and Venom where the film captures some of that wildly entertaining OTT insanity that made the first film so entertaining for all the wrong reasons. To director Andy Serkis and the creative teams, credit watching then try to mould the central relationship into an effective LGBTQ metaphor is something distinctly worth remembering. That said there are far more perfunctory feeling exposition scenes. Woody Harrelson phones it in as this universes incarnation of Cletus Cassidy/ Carnage. any hope of the sequel recapturing what made the original memorable slowly ebbs away.
Venom let there be carnage is a mostly very bland affair. It’s got some off the mid-2000s throwback feel that made the original so atrociously entertaining. Unfortunately, the sequel is a lot more controlled with its insanity. Tom Hardy is still relatively committed to the central role. Unfortunately, the perfunctory plot mechanics that scream of making a sequel that exists purely because the profit margins on the first film say it has to really that the creative team down here. Fans of Hardy or those that got something out of the original might enjoy the follow-up. Everyone else is advised to stay away.

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