I have to confess that I am not a big super hero movie or Marvel fan. Most of the time, I look upon these movies as a big waste of resources based on the huge budget spent on the stars and special effects for a paper thin plot that invariably involves the superhero fighting some powerful villain who would also have some sort of super power. Venom, like the Spiderman series, fall under the SONY Pictures umbrella rather than the main stream Marvel movies which are under Disney. So far, it has managed to steer clear of any direct connection with the rest of the Marvel characters which made it unique to some extent especially in the first movie that focus on its origin and introduced us to the unique Abbott and Costello comedy act for the contrasting personalities of the monster Venom and its human host played effectively by a usually serious Tom Hardy.
In this sophomore effect however, the novelty begins to wear thin. The on-going struggle Venom has with its human body form, Eddie Brock, feels like basically a one joke act which gets less and less amusing. The villain of the piece also feels familiar, a standard serial killer Cletus Kasady played by Woody Harrelson who does his villainous best at menacing laughs with eyes wide open. Cletus acquires a venom like capability no thanks to a chance interaction with Eddie Brock and unlike the good hearted Eddie, Cletus, makes full use of his symbiotic link to the monstrous venom whom he affectionately names Carnage, to create havoc. Cletus even has a girlfriend played by the usually excellent Naomie Harris. Here all she gets to do is to scream a lot to demonstrate her unexplained super power of being able to project deafening sounds from her vocal cords.
If you like to watch so called action scenes which feature noisy exaggerated bash ups accompanied by lots of explosions and property (and human) destructions, then Venom Let There Be Carnage is your kind of movie. The movie is basically a string of excuses to lead us from one scene of mayhem and destruction to another until its eventual noisy finale where the villain naturally gets defeated by Venom. At least the film makers have the sense to keep the running time short at just over one and a half hours.
I found the whole thing familiar, mildly amusing but ultimately forgettable. Ironically the most exciting thing about the movie for me came at the end. What made me sit up and watch in attention finally was its end credit teaser which introduced a new element in Venom’s super human power besides throwing tantrums and destroying everything around him. It also provided a link to the Spiderman universe and specifically to the plot for the forthcoming Spiderman movie, No Way Home. This was then followed by an upbeat and catchy new song “One Last Standing” by Eminem together with Skylar Grey (they collaborated previously with the lovely number “Love The Way You Lie”). Eminem had originally also wrote the song for the original Venom so this is a nice follow-up act. If only the rest of the movie felt as involving as its end credits and teaser.