Let’s talk about Venom: Let There Be Carnage.

The first Venom was a pleasant surprise. It felt like it was going to be overflow from when Sony were desperate to make a Sony Spider-Man universe before The Amazing Spider-Man 2 tanked that idea and they went to Marvel for help. But while it was nothing stunning, Venom ended up being good fun. It was a bit old fashioned and would have probably been better received in the mid 2000s before many of the clichés it used became tired, but it was worthy of your time and far better than we all expected. Because of it’s success though, we have a sequel.

Venom and Eddie Brock are still sharing their body. However they face their biggest enemy yet when serial killer Cletus Kasady bites him and absorbs of the symbiote which turns him into the vicious Carnage. Now combined, Cletus and Carnage want to destroy Eddie and Venom.

For those not into comic books, Carnage is a big deal. He is a more vicious and brutal version of Venom because of the fact both Carnage and his host Cletus really enjoy killing people. In the comics, this usually means Venom and Spider-Man end up teaming up to take him down. That obviously can’t happen here, so this villain is even more imposing. It’s helped by a fantastic performance by Woody Harrelson. He is truly one of our great actors at the moment and he makes Cletus terrifying even before we get to see him become Carnage. There is something just so unnerving about the character and it does make you very alarmed when you realise he is going to get powers even stronger than Venom’s. What makes this villain even better is that they do add some sympathy. He has a romantic relationship with Shriek and their bond is actually far more touching than you’d expect considering both are complete psychopaths.

The core of the movie though is that while it is technically a super anti-hero film, what it really is is a buddy cop movie with Venom and Eddie butting heads while they try to save everyone from Carnage. And when just living together as well. Their attempts at a friendship is what makes the movie because it’s the thing that sets it apart. The film goes through a fairly standard plot but it’s the internal arguments that just befuddle everyone else that make this incredibly fun to watch at times. There is a part that they are separate and yes, you do want them back together as soon as possible. But even that has some fun, mostly when Venom goes into a club and makes an accidentally ‘woke’ speech which delights the crowd even though he’s really talking about his relationship between him and Eddie. They remain a very fun pair that make the movie what it is.

There are some problems though that do keep this from being a great movie. Firstly, the script at times is very clunky. Exposition can be stilted and occasionally we get terrible script writing 101, i.e. When people say exactly what they are feeling rather than showing what they are feeling. That’s not the main problem though. The pacing is the big issue. This may be because I’m used to incredibly long Marvel movies, but this film felt like it skipped its third act. We get to a big fight at the cathedral and it seems like a classic mid film fight where the villains get one over on the heroes, meaning they rebuild and come back better for the finale. But there comes a point when you start to realise this is it and is the final fight. It feels very rushed and like the film was very keen to not go over 100 minutes, which I can’t blame it for. I’d rather have things rushed then lengthened. But it does make feels a bit less satisfying.

Despite this, Venom: Let There Be Carnage is still good fun. It’s not anything tremendous and ground breaking which might be a dealbreaker considering there are a lot of superhero films which are exactly that right now. But it is an enjoyable experience. You’ll get a laugh from the pairing of Venom and Eddie Brock plus there’s some good action scenes with a decent amount of weight. The script is not the best and it feels rushed so it can be packed into a short running time but despite that, there’s still plenty to enjoy.

Former Head of Movies for Screen Critics. Film Reviews now hosted on Medium.