Tiger at the Theater – Venom: Let There Be Carnage

BY RICARDO LUJAN JR

Venom: Let There Be Carnage is the sequel to Venom (2018) and is the latest film to come out of Sony’s cinematic universe based on Spiderman characters. Time to find out how Sony fares in this outing with their titular character, Venom.

Story and Characters

The story of Venom: Let There Be Carnage is fast-paced and scattered all over the place. There are many moments in the film where it feels as though a segment was cut out. The film goes through quite a bit of material rather quickly due to its short run time of only 97 minutes.

This does help keep the viewer engaged as there is never really a moment for the viewer to breathe and take everything in. This movie has two distinct tones within it. There is the rom-com tone and the horror serial killer tone. These tones relate to the protagonists and the antagonist in the films.

For the rom-com like portion of the movie, we have the protagonist. Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) and Venom (Tom Hardy) continue from where they left off in the first movie. Their relationship is the highlight of the film as they continue to grow and interact with each other. 

Venom in this movie is the comedic relief character as almost every single one of his lines is a joke. There are a couple of moments where they show a more emotional/humanlike side of Venom, but these moments never receive a true payoff. Eddie Brock lacks in any true character development except for at the end of the film.

Throughout the film, it seems that they are going nowhere with the character of Eddie Brock and then at the end, there is a sudden shift in his character that was somewhat predictable, but there is no buildup to it. Despite this misstep, turning the Eddie and Venom relationship into a rom-com was an ingenious move. It’s a dynamic that wasn’t expected and seems like it would not work at all. Yet, it does work and fits the characters as how they are interpreted in this universe perfectly.

For the antagonists, their tone is the horror serial killer tone with a little bit of the rom-com as well. Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson) and Carnage (Woody Harrelson) are polarizing in this film. The attempt at bringing the character of Carnage and Cletus Kasady to live-action is a harrowing task to do in a PG-13 setting. The characters in the comics are very maniacal and disturbing. Harrelson did a swell job at portraying this version of Cletus Kasady.

There were a few scenes where Harrelson just grabs your attention and comes off as the disturbed character we expect him to be. Carnage, despite being the main antagonist, is more of a B-plot or a plot device to get certain things done. The film could have benefitted from focusing on Carnage more. The loss of focus is due to the main plotline of Cletus being forced into the film.

One subtle thing in the story is how the protagonist and antagonist stories mirror each other. This will become more clear after watching the movie. They each have similar plot points that end up having different results. This essentially allows the viewers to see the stark difference between the character’s personalities in similar situations. 

Action

The action in this film is fun and there is plenty of it as well. From having characters with very similar abilities, they managed to distinguish the fighting styles of Venom and Carnage surprisingly well.

Throughout the movie, Carnage is shown as an unrelenting force in his action scenes. He is all over the place and is ruthless. Carnage is by far the highlight of the action in this film. The final battle was such a fun watch as it incorporates the setting and all the characters nicely.

Sound

Audio mixing was fine in most departments. A major issue with the audio is the voice of Venom himself. Venom’s voice is slightly different from the first movie. There seems to be more distortion implanted as well as making his voice lower-pitched.

This can make Venom very hard to understand at points. Carnage does not have the same issue. Besides the Venom voice change, the audio design was good. The sound design for the symbiotes sound effects themselves is spectacular. They truly give off an alien vibe.

 Conclusion

Venom: Let There Be Carnage is a fun watch. It does have issues in its writing, runtime, and some of the audio mixing but nothing that makes this unwatchable. The action is great to watch plus Tom Hardy and Woody Harrelson play their parts well. The post-credit scene is also important to stay and watch especially if you are a Marvel fan. Venom: Let There be Carnage is currently playing at the AMC Theater in Hays. 

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