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Venom: Let There Be Carnage Review

Absolutely nothing to Marvel at here in messy, messy blockbuster sequel

Tom Hardy returns as journalist Eddie Brock, living symbiotically with the alien substance we know as Venom, who is living on a diet of chocolate and chickens despite still harbouring an insatiable appetite for human flesh. Eddie finds himself single following the breakdown of his relationship with Anne (Michelle Williams), but his professional career is in ascendancy due to being the journalist of choice to report the ramblings of imprisoned serial killer, Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson). With Kasady heading to the end as a result of a death row sentence, he requests a final meeting with Brock. After Cletus attacks Eddie, Cletus ends up with some alien DNA mixing with his own. Support comes from Naomie Harris as Kasady’s love interest, Frances Barrison and Stephen Graham as Detective Mulligan.

This is usually the part where I talk about the performances of the cast, but they really were baffling. Look at the above names; Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Woody Harrelson, Naomie Harris and Stephen Graham. All have given, and usually give, stellar performances, ranging from Tom Hardy’s maniacal turn in Bronson, Michelle Williams’ outrageously good performance in Manchester-By-The-Sea (and I could easily have picked Shutter Island, All The Money In The World, Brokeback Mountain and many more, as she is the greatest working actor in cinema today). Woody Harrelson is always entertaining, while Naomie Harris and Stephen Graham are also always fantastic and yet, they all look like this is the first time they’ve acted. 

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They are all hampered by a horrifically bad script and a narrative so thin, it’s in dire need of a good feed. It should start with a large bowl of COHESION! But we’ve seen these actors grab a poor movie on paper by the scruff of the neck and batter a good film out of it (Woody Harrelson IS Zombieland, Tom Hardy IS Legend, Michelle Williams IS – you get the idea) but even with the mind-staggering talents within this ensemble, they cannot help elevate the source material.

Unfortunately, Venom: Let there Be Carnage is just a complete mess. Nobody and nothing has any motive, any purpose or any direction. Why does Cletus pick Eddie Brock of all the journalists to talk to? (We do find this out and honestly, you’ll wish you didn’t.) How and why does Frances have this superpower? Why is Stephen Graham playing the world’s worst detective? Why didn’t anyone learn from the mistakes of the first movie and instead, double down on the mistakes for this? Also, who was it that watched Turner & Hooch and decided that the buddy cop feel was what was needed here?

I have never left a movie with so many questions and with such little desire to find out the answers. I know its not always a barometer for success, but Andy Serkis has worked under the directorship of Peter Jackson, Michael Winterbottom, John Landis, Christopher Nolan, JJ Abrams, amongst many others and yet hasn’t replicated the successful formulae for helming a major blockbuster from a major studio.

Verdict

Venom: Let There Be Carnage really is terrible, Sony Pictures should have had more of a handle on the story, the script and the direction of director.

(The half is a gift due to the fact that this is only a merciful 90 minutes!)