Eddie Brock attempts to reignite his career by interviewing serial killer Cletus Kasady, who becomes the host of the symbiote Carnage and escapes prison after a failed execution.
THE GOOD STUFF:
-SELF AWARENESS- Let me get on my soapbox here, and preach about the importance of acknowledging movies that are built for having fun, and that doesn’t take themselves too seriously. Movies from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the DC Extended Universe present themselves as top tier, epic level, SUPER self-aggrandizing, tent pole films. You can see millions of dollars spent on each and every shot. No matter how tongue and cheek the presentation of an MCU or DCEU flick may be, NONE of them are trying to be b-level at all. Everything about them is serious AF.
And I greatly respect that these Venom movies COULDN’T GIVE A S*** ABOUT ANY OF THAT.
Tom Hardy and Andy Serkis have each been a part of multiple mega tent pole franchises. I would be willing to bet that THOSE dudes very much know that this franchise isn’t on the level of certain stuff they have already been in. They’ve been around long enough to know of what they want this Venom franchise to be. (And for the most part, so does Columbia Pictures) They shamelessly and unabashedly lean into all of the b-level schlock that this is. And for THAT I respect this film more than I actually like it.
-TOM HARDY- For a man who’s built his reputation off playing characters that are deadly serious, Tom Hardy really dives into the physical comedy route here. His performance in the previous film was indeed comedic in nature, but his performance in this film is dare I say… full-blown slapstick comedy. So much so, that I would consider this film as much of a comedy as it is any other genre.
-WOODY HARRELSON- Woody Harrelson is like the parmesan cheese/bacon bits of cinema. He is the thing that you can sprinkle on to literally any film, and make it taste just a little bit better because he’s there. Cletus Kasady is a schlocky psychotic villain, but Harrelson pulls that kind of stuff off well. He’s done it before. (Seven psychopaths, War for the Planet of the Apes) This kind of thing in his wheelhouse. And for the most part, it’s fun.
-THE POST CREDIT SCENE- I not going to talk in-depth about it of course, but I will say this with no hyperbole…it’s the greatest post-credits scene in a movie that I’ve seen since Sam Jackson popped up in the first Iron Man movie all those years ago.
To be in a practically sold-out auditorium and to feel the audience’s reaction to what happens in this post-credit scene is energy that I haven’t felt in a movie theater in quite some time.
THE BAD STUFF:
-CARNAGE- The major flaw of this film is Carnage. Not Cletus Kasady mind you, but Carnage. As an actual character, there’s nothing here. It would be a lot better if Carnage never spoke because they keep trying to portray him as an actual character with a storyline. (he refers to venom as “Father” numerous times, and the film does nothing to explore that whatsoever) And it’s almost cringe-worthy when this film tries to do anything else other than have him destroying stuff.
-THE SECOND ACT- I don’t feel like it’s spoiling anything to tell you that in the second act of this film Eddie Brock and the villain are separated. Venom gets to be his own character for a while that’s is not responding to Eddie Brock in any way, and the film IMMEDIATELY suffers as a result.
When the film went down this route, I kind of came to realize that these Venom movies are kind of buddy cop movies technically. And in every buddy cop movie, the story tends to suffer when the protagonists are not on screen together. That is the case here.
THE UGLY STUFF:
-WASTED TALENT- I came to understand long ago, that sometimes our favorite character actors need a MASSIVE paycheck from time to time. I also understand that those massive paychecks are most easily acquired by doing films such as this.
Perhaps this is s*** that only bothers me, but when I see actors like Naomie Harris and Michelle Williams involved with projects like this, (When it really could have gone to any lesser-known if not absolutely obscure actors and had the exact same effect on screen) I tend to get really annoyed. Like Hardy and Harrelson, Harris and Williams are oscar nominees. But unlike their male counterparts, they are delegated to somewhat stereotypical love interests this time around. *SIGH*
-TRASH ASS DIALOGUE- The dialogue in this film is the main reason why I can’t say that I like or would even suggest anyone see this film. While I respect fully embracing your b-level movie ideologies, atrocious dialogue destroys all good intentions for me.
And dialogue that is THIS MOTHER F****** ATROCIOUS? Well, it’s bad enough to take you completely out of the movie very often. Every inch of dialogue in this film that isn’t involving Eddie Brock and Venom talking to each other is borderline amateur hour.
Go in with VERY low expectations. Maybe you will be happy. But that’s a BIG maybe.
VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE is available in theaters