Special effects wizardry, violence and a dollop of humour drive Venom: Let There Be Carnage. The storyline is almost incidental, but split personalities are at the heart of it.
Tom Hardy reprises his role as former journalist Eddie Brock, now host to bad alien symbiote Venom. When I say “host”, I mean that literally – Venom exists within Brock. Venom has a mean temper and is inclined to eat people. Brock is keen for Venom to keep a lid on his anger … but that just isn’t going to happen. The symbiote seems intent on trashing or destroying anything in sight.
A serial killer named Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson) is mad as hell that his fellow inmate and one true love Frances Barrison (Naomie Harris) has been moved to another facility. He invites Brock to a one-on-one tête-à-tête, which leads the former to discover a number of Kasady’s victims and resurrects Brock’s career prospects. But a second meeting between the pair involves an exchange of bodily fluid. That results in an unexpected reprieve for Kletus when he is being administered a supposedly lethal injection after being sentenced to death. Suddenly, Kletus too becomes a host to a bad alien symbiote.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage moves from one confrontation to another. Plenty of physical (and verbal) clashes happen. The effects are, indeed, impressive, but I found them repetitive … and there were just too many of those types of scenes, though the interplay between Brock and Venom generally worked well. One of the screenwriters from Venom (Kelly Marcel) is back and Andy Serkis is in the director’s chair (Ruben Fleisher was in charge of the first instalment).
I don’t think the story held enough substance or sufficient character development. In spite of the action, I became bored. The big-name cast includes Michelle Williams as Brock’s former fiancé Anne Weying. But as good as they are, they didn’t have enough to say or do.
Perhaps a 20-something year old audience will get more out of this than I did. For me it promised more than it delivered.
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Alex First is a Melbourne based journalist and communications specialist. He contributes to The Blurb on film and theatre.