The Things We Do For Love should be the theme song for Venom 2. The plot can be summarized in “you think you’re gonna break up, then (he) says he wants to make up.” As a Johnny-come-lately to the Venom franchise, I nevertheless eagerly awaited last night’s opening of Venom 2 aka Venom: Let There Be Carnage. Defined as killing a large number of people, Carnage doesn’t disappoint. Of course, when his host is a psychotic serial killer, what else would one expect? Notably, the critics seem to be catching on to the “Don Quixote/Pancho” relationship between Eddie Brock and Venom. The Rotten Tomatoes rating almost doubled from 30% to 58%. And, if a love interest worked between Brock and Anne Weying, why not add one for Cletus Kasady/Carnage? That begets the long history between Kasady and Frances Barrison/Shriek.
When all is said and done, my rating for Venom 2 sits at 3.5 Gavels while its IMDb score is 7.6/10, similar to the original. Why the lower rating from TMJ? This one just isn’t as much fun. Early on, Venom 2 takes on a much darker and sinister tone, and almost becomes a slasher film. With less Weying and Mrs. Chen, the opportunities for comedy aren’t present. Having said that, don’t miss Ms. Weying “seducing” Venom. Eventually, Venom 2 finds a more comfortable symbiosis between Brock and Venom, but, by then, the film is half over. The CGI is still great, the acting solid, just too much Carnage and Shriek for my taste.
Serial killer Casady will only speak to Brock. To get his life’s story, Brock must post a message destined for Shriek. Venom recognizes Casady’s scratches on prison walls which locates the madman’s burial ground. Outraged, the Governor of California sets Casady’s execution date. One last contact between Brock and Casady gives cause for a bite and a more powerful red symbiote to flourish in Casady. An escape means he’s coming for Shreik and Brock, for entirely different reasons. Let there be Carnage.
Tom Hardy and Michelle Williams reprise their roles of Brock and Weying. Sadly, they don’t get enough screen-time together to spark much love interest. As reported in Venom, Lebanon, Ohio’s own Woody Harrelson (Kate) gets the part of Casady/Carnage because of his work in Natural Born Killers. He can snarl with the best of them. Seen next week in No Time To Die, Naomie Harris stars as Shreik. Spoiler alert: Carnage and Shreik don’t much like each other.
Many of the good lines, including the need for “couples therapy,” are in the trailer. It seems odd that a film that made $850 million in its first go-around, could find only enough dialogue for 90 minutes. At least the director had enough sense not to belabor the the story.
“The viewing experience is like going to a nightclub and having someone scream the plot in your ear over a thumping bass line — ironic, given that Venom’s biggest weakness is sound waves.” The Atlantic
“The fine actors onscreen are mere accessories to the computerized puppets thrashing and slashing and stabbing and biting and roaring and breaking stuff all over the place before only one of them is left standing. Sigh.” Chicago Sun-Times
Sequels generally are not as good. Tom Hardy is obligated for another. Here’s betting that Marvel goes back to the original director.