“It’s not a we thing, it’s a me thing.”
VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE (2021)
I love Spider-Man. Like really really love Spider-Man. The comics and the Raimi trilogy are my favorite comic book related things. I enjoyed the first The Amazing Spider-Man and since then it has been a steady decline. I’m one of the few who don’t like the Tom Holland movies and I hated the first Venom. So, this does not come from a place of hate. It comes from a place of great love. I hated Venom: Let There Be Carnage.
Nothing about this movie works. I’ll get this out of the way now. Plot, direction, score, VFX and acting are all “spilled”. Not a single damn thing works and that’s why I can’t review this in the traditional CRPWrites style because it is futile. I honestly don’t think the filmmakers and actors truly cared about any of that stuff. They may have had fun making it and worked hard and that’s nice, but this does not come across as a movie that cares. So why should I?
Since the release of Venom in 2018, this anger in me has been building and it culminated in one scene in Venom: Let There Be Carnage. Sadly, it’s a spoiler so I can’t go in depth. But it encompasses everything wrong with the movie. The movie does not care about Venom nor Carnage. Not really. They are a means to a lucrative end. The characters I loved and grew up on are not present in these movies. Which would be fine, if what they replaced it with was something of substance or enjoyment. But it’s not. What is presented to me is so inferior that it becomes a bitter ass pill to swallow.
On paper, Tom Hardy as Venom and Eddie Brock is a slam dunk. Sadly, both these movies remove any nuance or depth to the characters and instead make him a bumbling jackass who is more annoying than he is funny. The amount of times I just wanted Venom to shut the hell up in this movie was unhealthy. I’d like to think Hardy is a fan of the character if he produced this movie and came up with the story as the credits state. But then why is this what he came up with? Why play the character like this? It doesn’t make sense to me. But I somewhat made peace with the fact that I hate this “interpretation” of Venom in the first movie. Even though he is far more annoying in this one. Carnage on the other hand is an entirely new wave of frustration.
I’ll say, Woody Harrelson and Naomie Harris are the only two performances I’d come close to saying are good, but they can only be so good when the movie doesn’t care about them. They botched Carnage on so many levels that I can’t possibly even begin to get into it. But even within the confines of the movie, they did Carnage and Cletus Kassidy a disservice. The movie is always rushing to get to their mid-credits scene because that’s where it’s interests really lay. Even though the movie touts that there will be Carnage, they sure can’t wait to be rid of him and not focus on him. Which adds another layer of frustration because conceptually, the story they had for Carnage and Shriek was not bad. They had a good base to work off of, but the movie's priorities are all in the wrong place. They’d rather waste a good chunk of their short 90-minute runtime doing a stupid and needless rave scene with Venom so they can’t get clicks on Twitter than spend time developing interesting characters and dynamics. So, we are left with Carnage and Shriek feeling so shallow. I can’t even enjoy the campiness of the two wonderful actors' performances because the movie doesn’t go all in. It’s all half measures and no movie should be a half measure. They also once again waste a great talent in Michelle Williams. Hope she gets paid well for this nonsense.
I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I hate the design of Venom in these movies. I think something just looks off about him. Maybe it’s a little too much goo? I don’t know, he just looks off. Carnage also looked terrible in this. If you look at the design of Carnage in the comics, he is awesome looking. A truly unique design. In this, he is just a color swap of Riott from the first movie. If I’m a VFX person or the director, I would have had a blast playing with the fact that Carnage is the living embodiment of blood. Here is just a glob of red goo and it’s not even all that red. No real difference from Venom. Which is boring. Carnage does not pop out. Plays into my stance that they just did not care. This was a placeholder movie. A movie about Carnage is a placeholder movie. That shatters my heart in two.
This movie sucks. Really really sucks. It’s slightly better than the first one, but so what? I feel like the crew they had for this should’ve made something a lot better than this. Andy Serkis is a damn fine creative mind. Tom Hardy should be a great Venom. Woody Harrelson is one of the best actors working today, he could’ve been an excellent Carnage. But there are too many ifs and buts for my liking. It tries to be campy but tries so hard it lands in cringe territory. Therefore it’s never funny. I love campy cape flicks. The Raimi trilogy is my favorite film trilogy. I loved Wonder Woman 1984. I am not someone who needs all comic book movies to be serious. I need them to be good. This fails as an adaptation and it fails as a movie. So what am I left with? Not Carnage, but nothing.