Like Its Anti-Hero, ‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ is Chaotic, Violent and Better Than You’d Expect

By Chris Karenbauer

[Editor’s Note: This review contains mild spoilers]

“Eddie, you feel like home to me. Like family,” said Cletus Kasidy, the main antagonist in “Venom: Let There Be Carnage.” It embodies the relationship between Kasidy and Eddie Brock as well as between Brock and Venom.

Venom is one of Spider-Man’s most well-known adversaries. The creature Venom is an alien who finds a symbiotic host in Eddie Brock.

It’s been a while since the first movie’s release in 2018. To recap, a group of symbiote aliens crash on Earth and hunt down humans to either use as hosts and eat as food. Venom finds his host in Eddie Brock, a disgraced journalist, and together they work to stop the other symbiotes from destroying the world.

In “Venom: Let There Be Carnage,” we see Brock and Venom going through some relationship troubles. Venom needs human brains to survive, but Eddie does his very best to prevent Venom from eating humans.

The sequel focuses in on Eddie and Venoms troubled bromance, which for many fans was the highlight of the first film.

As is typical in a serious relationship, Brock and Venom disagree over house rules such as “no eating people” and argue about who gives more and who takes more. Normal couple issues. After a heated argument, Venom leaves Eddie’s body and jumps from host to host. Anne Weying, Brock’s former fiancé, finds Venom and convinces the two to come back together again.

Meanwhile, serial killer Cletus Kasady escapes his execution with the help of Carnage, a new symbiote born from Eddie’s blood. Kasady and his fiancée Frances Barrison break into a cathedral to get married. Brock, with Venom back, stops the wedding, and Venom and Carnage face off in a climactic fight.

Overall, I enjoyed this movie. It had a darker visual style and tone than the mainstream MCU movies. Most of the scenes are set at nighttime, which in and of itself gives the film a broody mood.

Venom is a lot more graphic than I am used to seeing with Marvel movies: Eyes get gouged out, aliens shamelessly eat people’s heads off and weird alien appendages go up people’s noses to suck out their brains. To me, it was a bit much for Marvel and definitely not something I would take my kids to go see.

Aside from the visuals of the movie, I think the director Andy Serkis and screenwriter Kelly Marcel do a solid job of establishing the plot. They choose to use the first 20 minutes or so to establish the relationships between Brock, Venom and Kasady before the plot kicks off.

Actor Tom Hardy, standing, reviews a scene with director Andy Serkis, sitting; Serkis’ direction helps keep the plotting tight and the story character-focused.

One character I have an issue with is Shriek, Kasady’s love interest. She didn’t get as much character development as the other characters and was bland as a result. Honestly, the movie would have been fine without her. She really only had her lust for revenge going for her.

However, I did enjoy Mitchell Williams’ character Anne much more in this film than the first. She did serve mostly as Brock’s and Venom’s therapist, but she wasn’t the driving force to all of Brock’s decisions this time around. In fact, I think Brock was more heartbroken over his breakup with Venom than with Anne.

Perhaps the best part of the movie was the parallels between Eddie Brock and Cletus Kasady. Both characters grew up in abusive homes. They were outcasts in their community. They both find their purpose in the bonds they form with their respective symbiotes.

Despite their similarities, Kasady is a psychopath and a serial killer. He doesn’t care about anyone but himself and his equally twisted fiancé Barrison. Brock, though his life hasn’t been easy, still cares a great deal about Venom and his ex-fiancé, even working to protect her and her current boyfriend. Kasady doesn’t care who Carnage kills, while Brock doesn’t even let Venom eat convicted inmates.

Would I recommend this movie? Yes. Even if you don’t care much about Venom, the mid-credits scene suggests you might be more interested in it when the next Spider-Man movie comes out (hint, hint).

“Venom: Let There Be Carnage” is now in theaters.

Chris Karenbauer is a junior Journalism major and the Campus News Editor for Cedars. She enjoys reading and writing, hanging out with friends and jamming out.

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