Ever since the first Spider-Man movie hit the big screen in 2002 fans of Spider-man have always hoped for characters like Venom and Carnage to hit the big screen as well. Although the previous attempt at Venom (Spider-Man 3 (2007)) didn’t quite impress, Tom Hardy’s adaptation has been a perfect fit as Eddie Brock. Many of us likely wondered… Well, when will Carnage show up?
It didn’t take long after the successful Venom (2018) for us to get a sequel in the ‘Venomverse’… and with a go at Carnage to boot. Here we are, “Venom: Let there be Carnage”. For comic book fans, ‘Maximum Carnage’ was one of the most interesting story lines in Spider-man history… but in our case here, we know Carnage is coming in with only a Venom focused story. Unfortunately, this isn’t a ‘Maximum Carnage’ take, this is more of a Venom versus Carnage type film… and there is nothing wrong with that!
Venom: Let there be Carnage does an excellent job at introducing Cletus Kasady, aka Carnage (Woody Harrelson), to newcomers. Starting with a somewhat modified origin story from the one comic book fans have come to know, the movie does a good job at explaining what makes Cletus Kasady tick and how he gains his symbiote. Harrelson feels like the perfect casting to play the over the top serial killer. From his looks to his mannerisms it felt like an easy transition from comics to big screen.
Throughout the film, Eddie Brock struggles living with Venom, an insatiably hungry symbiote, who just wants to fight bad guys and eat things. The dialogues between Eddie and alien symbiote Venom provide excellent comic relief and show constant character growth. The film draws out the downsides of living with the organism as much as shows off it’s benefits. It’s not all sunshine and lollipops. It’s presented in a very real way that can allow the audience to relate to Eddie Brock’s problems. Heck, even the alien Venom’s problems.
Kasady’s story arc also involves the introduction of a love interest in Frances Barrison, aka Shriek (Naomie Harris). Harris does a phenomenal job of portraying Shriek as an equally over the top sociopath to match Kasady’s personality.
For big fans of the symbiote characters in Spider-Man comics you may note a familiar character in Detective Mulligan (Stephen Graham), who makes an appearance in the movie. Fans may remember in the comics Mulligan inherits a spawn of Carnage known as ‘Toxin’… begging the question if Toxin may be in the series’ future?
As far as the story in general, the movie has a good pace and moves the story along in an easy to follow way for existing and new fans alike. My spouse, who isn’t a superhero movie fan, found the movie very enjoyable. The characters all worked into the story well and nothing felt thrown in or forced. The action and special effects were done incredibly well and Carnage’s character animation looked phenomenal. I particularly found close-ups of Carnage’s face to be rendered so well. It’s everything you hope that he would look this good on a high def big screen.
At the end of it all, I felt the movie gave me an enjoyable experience and left me craving for more Venom vs Carnage. The Carnage character could easily be a source of endless material for writers of the Venom movie. It makes you wonder what the future may hold. As far as this movie goes, I was quite pleased, but left with a few questions and curiosities for the future. I was a huge Venom and Carnage fan growing up and this movie exceeded my expectations.
That said, there was a single after credit clip… err… rather mid credit clip… and well, you need to see it. The hype is real. #NoSpoilers It gets you genuinely hyped for what may be coming sooner than later…