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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

CineHawk Review: “Venom”


Directed by Andy Serkis and written by Kelly Marcel, “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” is the bombastic follow-up to the 2018 hit film “Venom,” which told the story of a disgraced investigative reporter who bonds to an alien symbiote. 

The film stars Tom Hardy, who also received a writing credit for the film as a story contributor, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Williams, Naomie Harris, Reid Scott, Peggy Lu and Stephen Graham. It is currently out in theaters.

The sequel picks up a year and a half after the events of the first film with Eddie Brock, played by Hardy, still adjusting to being the host of Venom and struggling to restart his journalism career. He finally gets his chance at a big break when serial killer Cletus Kasady, played by Harrelson, contacts Brock to give one final interview before his execution. 

When Venom helps Brock find a major clue that leads to the missing bodies of Kasady’s victims, the red-headed maniac is enraged and swears revenge against the reporter. 

By a twist of fate, Kasady comes into contact with his own symbiote, the spawn of Venom, Carnage, granting him the power to escape his execution and bring on a direct collision course with the titular hero. 

Is “Let There Be Carnage” a “good” movie? Like so much of cinema and art in general, personal taste is key. If you were a fan of the first film’s over-the-top camp and Hardy’s goofy performance as the title character, then the sequel will suit you well. 

Where the 2018 film suffered from a wildly inconsistent tone, “Let There Be Carnage” firmly embraces its identity as an absurdist buddy comedy. Though this is only his third directional project, Serkis masterfully takes all the most entertaining elements of the first installment and doubles down on them. 

The more comedic tone in this sequel is largely reflected in the returning cast’s execution in their roles. Williams seems to be having a lot more fun in the role of Anne Weying this time around, making Brock’s former love interest a more rounded character. Scott’s role as Dr. Dan Lewis, Weying’s new fiance, has him take a more active role in the story while maintaining the character’s likable, everyman demeanor. 

Positives like these will satisfy fans of the 2018 “Venom” and casual moviegoers looking for some mindless fun. 

However, if you are a fan of the source material, “Let There Be Carnage” will leave a lingering sense of disappointment in its missed potential.

As entertaining as Hardy is in the role, neither he nor the script captures the true depth and darkness of the “Venom” character. After two movies, the character of Eddie Brock remains frustratingly shallow and interchangeable. Like its predecessor, “Let There Be Carnage” settles for mediocre B-movie schlock when it had the potential to tell a heart wrenching psychological horror story on par with “Joker.” 

Overall, “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” is a Rorschach test of a cinematic endeavor. For moviegoers in search of an escapist thrill ride, the well-crafted action, comedic performances, and post-credits surprise will more than scratch that itch. 

Unfortunately, for long-time “Venom” fans who have avidly consumed the character’s comic book adventures, this sequel will fall embarrassingly short.

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