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Venom: Let There Be Carnage Is a Super Fun Mixed Bag

Venom in Columbia Pictures' VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE.

I love superhero movies. Whether it’s Marvel, DC, or any other company, I’m always up for seeing two (or more) super-powered beings duke it out, so reviewing Venom: Let There Be Carnage is somewhat of a dream come true for me. It seamlessly combines my two favorite genres, and while the result isn’t always perfect, it’s always an absolute blast to watch.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage was directed by Andy Serkis, and it stars Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Naomie Harris, Reid Scott, Stephen Graham, and Woody Harrelson. It’s the sequel to the 2018 box-office smash Venom, and it puts its titular hero on a collision course with his arch-nemesis from the comic books, Carnage. Beyond that, the plot isn’t really all that important, so I’m not going to waste your time with the pesky details.

Instead, I’ll cut right to the chase. Venom: Let There Be Carnage basically takes everything that worked about the first film and amps it all up to eleven. For starters, the relationship between Venom and his host Eddie Brock is absolutely hilarious. Everything from their banter to the random comments Venom makes in Eddie’s head to their physical interactions is just spot on, so if you thought this duo was funny the first time around, you’re in for a real treat with chapter two.

On top of that, the horror is really cool as well. While the first Venom definitely had some horror elements sprinkled in here and there, this follow-up lands itself firmly in the genre. For example, Cletus Kasady, Carnage’s host, is a serial killer, but he’s not just your run-of-the-mill murderer. He’s so deranged that he would make the most twisted slasher villain proud, and his backstory could make for a really disturbing horror movie in its own right.

Eddie and Venom talking
Tom Hardy stars as Eddie Brock/Venom in Columbia Pictures’ VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE.

But as insane as he may be, the main source of horror in Venom: Let There Be Carnage is hands down the titular evil symbiote. Carnage is absolutely terrifying, and when people get in his way, the results are not pretty (or maybe they are, depending on your point of view). He’s so monstrous that he makes Venom look like a teddy bear in comparison, and there’s even one scene where he’s legitimately scary.

So if you’re looking for cool monster horror, this movie has it in spades. Since it’s PG-13, the gorehounds among us may not be satisfied, but if you just want violent murders, you will not be disappointed.

Last but not least, the superhero action in Venom Let There Be Carnage is really fun too. In particular, the final battle between Venom and Carnage is everything fans want it to be. Granted, it doesn’t break any new ground in the superhero genre like Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings did last month, but if you’re a fan of these films, you’re definitely going to get your money’s worth.

All that being said, I have to admit that Venom: Let There Be Carnage is far from perfect. As much as I enjoyed it, I still noticed two big flaws that kept it out of my top ten list for the year. To begin, the movie is a bit too short. At only 97 minutes, it flies by at a really brisk pace, and while that means you’ll never be bored with it, it also means that the story feels rushed at times.

Cletus Kasady looking creepy
Cletus (Woody Harrelson) safely caged for his interview with Eddie in Columbia Pictures’ VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE.

It’s almost like taking a one-day guided tour of a famous city like Rome. You’ll be able to hit all the major spots like the Colosseum and the Sistine Chapel, but you won’t get to spend enough time in any one place to really let it sink in. Similarly, Venom: Let There Be Carnage moves a bit too quickly. It doesn’t let the narrative breathe, so while it hits all the plot beats it needs to, you don’t spend enough time with them to really enjoy them as much as you should.

Secondly, even though I had a blast with the final battle, it was a bit too similar to the third act of the first movie. In the original Venom, the titular hero fights another alien symbiote, and that’s exactly what happens in this one as well. While there are a bunch of key differences between these two slugfests, there are also some very noticeable similarities that give this one a slight “been there done that” vibe. It by no means ruins the movie, but it keeps the fight from being as memorable as it otherwise could’ve been.

But all things considered, the good in Venom: Let There Be Carnage outweighs the bad by a pretty wide margin. Sure, it’s far from perfect, but it’s just so much fun that the flaws didn’t bother me all that much. I was too busy enjoying the laughs, the horror, and the action to care too much about the negatives, and if this sounds like the kind of movie you’d enjoy, I think you’ll feel the same way.

And before you go, I have to say something about what comes after the credits. As with any self-respecting superhero film these days, you don’t want to leave when the main story comes to a close. There’s only a mid-credits scene, so you don’t have to stay till the very end, but if you’re a fan of superhero movies, you absolutely have to stay and watch the one scene we do get. It’s very important for the future of Venom and Sony’s superhero universe, and I can just about guarantee that you’ll be buzzing about it for days after you see it.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage is out in theaters now.

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Written by JP Nunez

JP Nunez is a lifelong horror fan. From a very early age, he learned to love monsters, ghosts, and all things spooky, and it's still his favorite genre today. He blogs at Embrace Your Fears.

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