Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021) ☆☆(2/4): A couple of losers still stuck together

“Venom: Let There Be Carnage” is a jumbled mess which is alternatively silly and disappointing. While there still is what made “Venom” (2018) work to some degree, the movie frequently falters as hurriedly pushing its story and characters to the end during most of its 97-minute running time, and, again, we come to observe its many action scenes without much care or attention, as occasionally amused by the usual comic dynamics between its two main characters who often feel unhappy and miserable about being stuck together.

After the prologue scene, the movie promptly moves forward to the point not so long after the ending of “Venom”. Managing to bounce back from the bottom of his life and career thanks to his uneasy symbiosis with an alien parasite called Venom, Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) is suddenly requested for an interview, and he is not so comfortable about his latest interviewee from the beginning for a good reason. That interviewee in question is a notorious serious killer named Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson), and this horrible guy, who is now incarcerated in a prison near San Francisco, is quite eager to leave some last words via Brock before eventually getting executed someday.

While his encounter with Kasady in the prison is unpleasant to say the least, but, thanks to Venom, Brock come to get a substantial clue leading to what Kasady has been hiding behind his back, and that certainly brings Brock back in spotlight, but then there comes a depressing news for him. His ex-friend Anne Weying (Michelle Williams) announces to him that she will soon marry her current boyfriend Dr. Dan Lewis (Reid Scott), and Brock as well as Venom feel hurt about that. After all, as many of you remember, Anne once let Venom take over her for saving Brock, and I must confess that I could help but think of ménage à trois as observing how eager Venom is about being around Anne along with Brock, though I am also well aware that their carnal threesome is out of question from the start because the movie is rated PG-13.

Understandably quite depressed, Brock lets himself become more miserable. Venom tries to cheer up Brock as much as possible, but they only end up bickering and fighting with each other just like a married couple with lots of issues, and that is where the movie gives us several amusing moments including the one unfolded in some fancy local club for sexual minority people (Well, this is San Francisco, isn’t it?),

Meanwhile, Kasady turns out to have a big nasty surprise when he is eventually executed. Not long before the time for his execution, he got infected with a bit of Venom during what was supposed to be the last meeting between him and Brock, and he and a new resulting alien parasite, called Carnage, give a night to remember for everyone around them as violently escaping from the prison.

While enjoying freedom at last, Kasady soon embarks on finding a woman he has always loved since they fell in love with each other in some horrible orphanage. Although she has been officially dead, Frances Barrison (Naomie Harris) has been actually incarcerated in a hidden high-security prison, and, thanks to his alien parasite, it does not take much for Kasady to locate where his old girlfriend has been during all those years.

It is not much of a spoiler to tell you that Brock and Venom will confront Casady and Carnage in the end, but the story is so hurriedly rolled toward that point that the eventual climatic sequence has no dramatic impact at all, and, again, we are simply served with lots of CGI accompanied with dizzy and frantic editing. Although director Andy Serkis, who previously made directorial debut with “Breath” (2017), and his crew members including cinematographer Robert Richardson and composer Marco Beltrami try as much as they can, all I can remember from the finale is no more than heaps of sound and fury without no style or substance to be savored, and the overall result is merely a teaser for whatever we will see later from a certain upcoming major superhero flick to be released around the end of this year.

Anyway, Tom Hardy, who also wrote the story with Kelly Marcel in addition to serving as one of the producers of the film, has a fun with playing his two characters in the film, and he always brings some sense of humor whenever his two characters, both of whom are your average losers in my trivial opinion, clash with each other on the screen. On the opposite, Woody Harrelson, who also provides the voice performance for Carnage, gleefully chews his every scene in the film whenever his face is not mired in CGI, and his several wildly romantic moments with Naomie Harris will surely bring your mind back to when he went on a murderous rampage along with Juliette Lewis in “Natural Born Killers” (1994). In case of several returning cast members, Michelle Williams and Reid Scott have a bit more things to do besides looking concerned for Brock as before, and Peggy Lu, who plays the Chinese owner of Brock’s frequent convenient store, has her own moment later in the story.

On the whole, “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” is a little better than its predecessor, but it does not leave much impression on me beyond its silly moments for laughs, and my mind is already ready to move onto better films out there without much regret. I did not expect much, but the movie is as bland and middling as expected, and that is all, folks.

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