Thursday, September 30, 2021

Venom: Let There Be Carnage Review: The Comic Book Movies Are Fun Again

Tom Hardy	...	Eddie Brock / Venom Woody Harrelson	Woody Harrelson	...	Cletus Kasady / Carnage Michelle Williams	Michelle Williams	...	Anne Weying Naomie Harris	Naomie Harris	...	Frances Barrison / Shriek Reid Scott	Reid Scott	...	Dr. Dan Lewis Stephen Graham	Stephen Graham	...	Detective Mulligan Peggy Lu	Peggy Lu	...	Mrs. Chen Sian Webber	Sian Webber	...	Dr. Pazzo Michelle Greenidge	Michelle Greenidge	...	Mugging Victim Rob Bowen	Rob Bowen	...	Beaten Mugger Laurence Spellman	Laurence Spellman	...	Psycho Patient Little Simz	Little Simz	...	Little Simz Jack Bandeira	Jack Bandeira	...	Young Cletus Olumide Olorunfemi	Olumide Olorunfemi	...	Young Shriek Scroobius Pip	Scroobius Pip	...	Siegfried Amrou Al-Kadhi	Amrou Al-Kadhi	...	Host Two Beau Sargent	Beau Sargent	...	Host Three Brian Copeland	Brian Copeland	...	Rodeo Beach Reporter

Release date: October 1, 2021
Running time: 90 minutes
Directed by: Andy Serkis
Written by: Kelly Marcel and Tom Hardy
Starring: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Naomie Harris, Reid Scott, Stephen Graham, and Woody Harrelson

Tom Hardy returns to the big screen as the lethal protector Venom, one of MARVEL’s greatest and most complex characters. 

Stewart Alexander	...	Warden Sean Delaney	Sean Delaney	...	Young Detective Mulligan Ed Kear	Ed Kear	...	Reveler Emma Lau	Emma Lau	...	Reveler Louis j Rhone	Louis j Rhone	...	Reveler Christopher Godwin	Christopher Godwin	...	Headmaster (1997) Tiffanie Thomas	Tiffanie Thomas	...	San Quentin Tier Guard Rocky Capella	Rocky Capella	...	Valet Car Park Sam Robinson	Sam Robinson	...	San Quentin Guard Greg Lockett	Greg Lockett	...	San Francisco Police Department Officer Sonny Ashbourne Serkis	Sonny Ashbourne Serkis	...	Plunger Man Otis Winston	Otis Winston	...	Street Man Vaughn Johseph	Vaughn Johseph	...	Tie Down Guard Kristen Simoes	Kristen Simoes	...	TV Reporter - San Quentin Miguel Arreguin	Miguel Arreguin	...	Gas Station Attendant Shaliz Afshar	Shaliz Afshar	...	San Francisco Reporter Reece Shearsmith	Reece Shearsmith	...	Priest Simon Connolly	Simon Connolly	...	Grieving Father Rachel Handshaw	Rachel Handshaw	...	Grieving Mother
Venom returns to take on his greatest enemy, Carnage and wow is it a good return.  The first film had Eddy Brock (Hardy) getting accustomed to having a living, breathing symbiote that could give him amazing powers but also costs some measure of his sanity.  Well, in the second Venom the two have fully bonded but their disagreements make up a lot of the humor in this film.  It is hilarious to hear Venom and Eddy argue about things, and Venom constantly pushing ideas and actions that would turn Eddy into a mass murderer.  Their playing off each other was much stronger this time around, with the transition from Venom statements to Eddy statements much more seamless.  I loved Tom Hardy as Venom in the first movie, and he does not disappoint in this one either.  He is such a strong actor and fully commits to the Venom role. 

And in this film, Venom is joined by his greatest foe, Carnage.  Woody Harrelson is a great foil for Venom, and his portrayal as Carnage provides the right amount of craziness.  Carnage is a living killing machine, and that comes through right from the start.  And just like how Venom and Eddy have disagreements, Carnage and Cletus Kassidy (Harrelson) fight as well.  The dual nature of the symbiotes is a lot of fun to see on screen and makes for a frantic but enjoyable scenario.  This film also has mostly great special effects, especially when Venom and Carnage start manifesting.  It's fun to see these tentacles reach out and manipulate objects around them, or lash out when they get angry, and credit to the special effects wizards in this film for making that possible.  And these superheros are heavy destruction machines, and the special effects make this all come to life.  I loved seeing Venom tear up walls as he climbed them or topple roof tiles as he moves about the city.  

However, despite the CG being really good, the scenes when Carnage and Venom fight do have a certain claymation feel to them.  I think it's just that the two CG characters move well, but are unnatural enough to be a little distracting.  It isn't bad and you're still drawn in by the spectacle of what is happening, but it is something to keep in mind.  It made this climactic fight less exciting.  However, one thing I really appreciated is just how tight and fun this movie is.  It is hilarious, despite dealing with some heavy subject matter in serial killer Cletus Kassidy.  And it is a tight 90 minute movie without unnecessary filler or tangents.  The story is compact and meaningful and it is great to watch a movie that respects your time.  At the end of the film I left thoroughly enjoyed and excited to see where this went next.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage is a worthy sequel to the first film, with another great performance by Tom Hardy, plenty of humor, and a psychotic foil to the lethal protector.

Watch it.

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Venom: Let There Be Carnage is in theaters and on demand on October 1, 2021.  For showtimes, click here.

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