Dog’s Movie House: “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” a delightfully crazy romantic comedy disguised as a superhero film!
“Venom: Let There Be Carnage” starts with Eddie Brock and Venom existing in an uneasy alliance. Eddie has forced his symbiote colleague to live by a certain set of rules that prohibits Venom from eating the brains of bad guys. Since they’re still under investigation from the events of the first film, it’s important to Eddie that they stay off the radar. Things change for both Eddie and Venom when Eddie gets a chance to interview the famous serial killer Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson, having a ball) who promises to give him the exclusive story of his life in exchange for placing an odd message in his article. The message, unbeknownst to Eddie, is for Cletus’ childhood love, a woman named Frances Barrison (Naomie Harris), a troubled young woman who has the power to generate devestating sound waves. Eddies story leads to the discovery of Cletus’ victims which ensures Kasady gets sentenced to death. In a final interview, Kasady goads Eddie (and Venom) into an attack during which Cletus bites Eddie and ingests a piece of Venom. The resulting metamorphesis turns Kasady into Carnage, a more powerful, more violent symbiote who wants revenge on his “father.” The result is a hunt that leads to an all-out battle for survival.
Sounds like a boiler-plate plot for a superhero film, but what sells it is the relationship between Eddie and Venom. It’s like watching a rom-com with tentacles. The script by Kelly Marcel is filled with laughs as the two bicker and eventually separate for a time. This leads to Venom (having hijacked another body) letting his freak flag fly, covered in glow sticks and proclaiming his independence to a group of partygoers who simply think he’s a cool cat in a costume. The interactions between Eddie and Venom are the highlight of the film.
As for the action, director Andy Serkis (who knows a thing or two about acting around special effects having mo-capped Ceasar in the excellent “Planet Of The Apes” films and Gollum in “The Lord Of The Rings”) stages the frenetic action sequences with style and flair. The effects are uniformly excellent, with Carnage in particular presenting a terrifying visage. The film is brisk, just under ninety minutes, but packs a lot into a short run time, but the film never feels rushed. The pace is perfect and provides just the right amount of drama and action. Serkis is proving to be just as deft behind the camera as he is in front of it and I eagerly look foward to what he does next.
As for the acting, Harrelson and Hardy have a great time playing off one another. Michelle Williams does good (albeit abbreviated) work as Anne, Eddie’s former fiance from the first film, and Harris hits the right amount of crazy as Frances Barrison, also known as Shriek. Special mention must be made of Peggy Lu returning as Mrs. Chen, the shopkeeper from the first film. She has a scene late in the film involving Venom that’s among the funniest in the film.
Overall, “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” is a fun comic book film filled with original ideas and offbeat performances that set this film apart from other comic films. And don’t forget to stay for a corker of a mid-credits scene that had the audience with which I was viewing the film losing their collective minds. It’s a hell of a ride! 4 Out Of 5 On Kendog’s Barkometer! So Sayeth The Kendog!