Movie Review – Venom II
The first Venom movie dropped in 2018 and despite the skepticism, it turned out to be extremely successful. Now, three years later we got the sequel, containing one of the most blood seeking symbiotes, Carnage. His name says it all. “So buckle up, get out the popcorn, hide your kids and enjoy the bloodshed!”. Well, not really.
For some reason, Sony decided to tone this movie down to PG-13 rating. Why you ask? Because of what it is and what it leads to. I ain’t gonna lie, I was extremely disappointed of this decision, because the name “Let there be Carnage!” implies, well carnage and gore, which is exactly what this symbiote does. Here is a quick preview of that side of the Spider-verse. What are the symbiotes?
As there is a lot of lore, I will simplify things. Symbiotes are alien life forms, created in the deep cosmos with the sole purpose to form a massive army. They are almost indestructible parasites, that need a living host to manifest personalities. Once a new symbiote is “born”, its first host is most crucial. As symbiotes bond not only physically but also emotionally with the host, how he acts is what defines the symbiote later on. Once attached to a host, symbiotes grant them superhuman abilities, inducing high hormonal secretion on which they feed. On top of that, symbiotes also feed with flesh. Once bonded, symbiotes leaves an imprint on the host. Carnage takes that to another level, connecting to the hosts blood, thus making separation very hard. Once symbiotes deplete their host of bodily fluids, they leave in search of a new one. Known weaknesses are high pitched sound and heat.
The most famous symbiotes are Venom, Carnage and Anti-Venom. Symbiotes reproduce asexually in most cases and spawn from each other. For example, Carnage is offspring of Venom, while Anti-Venom is a mutated form of Venom. Common trait is that symbiotes enhance their hosts abilities. With that said, during the translation of the Spider-verse to the big screen, Venom and Carnage were the most well presented ones. Carnage is Venom’s offspring, which first host was the psychotic murderer Cletus Kasady. This formed Carnage’s personality as murderous. The first host on earth for Venom was Spider-Man. Their bond was extremely strong, which made their separation extremely hard.
Albeit, in Sony’s version of Venom, there is no Spider-Man. Venom directly connects with Eddie Brock. More on the first movie you can read here. All of the actors from the first Venom, return in the second instalment. Tom Hardy portrays Eddie Brock/Venom, Michelle Williams as Anne, Reid Scott as Dr. Dan and Stephen Graham as Detective Mulligan. Newcomer is Woody Harrelson as the infamous Cletus Kasady. Now let’s talk about the movie itself.
Without further delay I will say that it felt extremely rushed. Setting aside my issues with the PG-13 rating, the movie was short. Cletus Kasady is one of the most dangerous people in the Spider-verse and can be compared to the Joker himself. Carnage doesn’t care about humans, symbiotes or anything at all. All he wants is to wreak havoc and death, so giving him a good development is crucial. But in the movie, there is no such thing. In a matter of 90 minutes we had several plots started and completed:
- Eddie’s dying career
- Eddie’s separation from Venom (trouble in paradise)
- Cletus breaking prison and wreaking havoc as Carnage
- Backstory of Cletus and his childhood love
- Final showdown between Venom and Carnage
All of this shoved in 90 minutes runtime. Not to mention several subplots going on. The movie was rushing through its story like a horse on a track. I couldn’t process half of what happened, not to mention the complete lack of character motivation. Everybody just did what they did, because it was in the script. Woody Harrelson is an amazing actor, who showed no more than 10% of his skills and charisma here. I don’t even remember his crush, named Shriek. She is supposed to be a partner of Cletus, equally psychotic. Here she was reduced to a plot device to kill Carnage.
In the end, what this movie was all about was, of course the MCU. The end credit scene, was awesome and nobody can convince me otherwise. Venom doesn’t work as solo anti-hero, he need Spider-Man and that is exactly what we got. Due to the shenanigans in No Way Home, Eddie/Venom were transported to the MCU. We will finally get Spider-Man and his counterpart together.
In the end, “Venom: Let there be Carnage” is a very expensive trailer for “Spider-Man: No Way Home”. Is it a good movie? No. Is it an entertaining movie? Hell, yeah. Harrelson’s charisma can charm even a zombie. Venom II is a dumb pop-corn movie and nothing more. It doesn’t bring anything unique to the table. What I hope for is that in the MCU, there will be a new Kasady, which will be able to really develop Carnage as the monster he is. In the meantime, for those who passed on the movie, it is not bad, but not good either. It is entertaining 90 minutes show. You can watch only the end-credit scene and it will be enough.