In order to understand how low my expectations were for Venom: Let There Be Carnage, think about some of the movies that have come out this year that should have been entertaining, but absolutely crapped the bed. Without Remorse, Mortal Combat, F9, and Snake Eyes were terrible and that is coming right on the heels of the abomination that was Wonder Woman 1984. And I only expected one of those movies to be non-stupid. Then, think about the first Venom film. It was so unremarkable that I remember almost nothing about it, including that I said to only ask for half your money back. To be fair, that film came out in 2018, which was roughly three hundred years ago, so it’s mostly a vague memory at this point.
(Not a lot to SPOILER, but there is one thing in the movie worth keeping a secret.)
A friend of mine asked if they needed to watch Venom before watching Let There Be Carnage. Answer? No. Really no. It’s not like Sony had some grand plan for Venom. This is the same company that killed the Spider-Man franchise…twice. This is the same company that got into a pissing match with Marvel over how to split the money that Marvel made them after Marvel fixed Spider-Man. Venom was nothing more than Tom Hardy arguing with himself in two different, equally obnoxious voices, except when it was nothing more than two CGI blobs swirling around a clearly bored Michelle Williams.
The only thing we need to know is that Venom is an alien symbiote attached to reporter Eddie Brock (Hardy) that sometimes appears as a black tentacle with a face attached to Eddie’s back, sometimes engulfs Eddie’s body as a black, muscular, nightmare, acid-trip Spider-Man, and sometimes is nothing more than Hardy yelling lines at himself in his worst Batman voice. This kind of worked in Venom, at least enough to feel fresh, but it gets annoying fast in Let There Be Carnage. You’ll be glad to be distracted by chickens a few minutes into the film. That’s right, chickens.
What little plot exists in Let There Be Carnage is thin enough as to be invisible. Venom wants to eat the brains of criminals, but Eddie has him on a diet of chickens and chocolate. They bicker like an old married couple and a lot of things in Eddie’s apartment get broken. Then, they have a breakup of sorts. Worst romantic comedy ever.
Meanwhile, serial killer Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson) is about to be executed and wants Eddie to tell Cletus’ story to the world. You know, for reasons. When Eddie gets too close to Cletus’ cage, Cletus bites Eddie and gets some Eddie-Venom blood in his mouth. We see the blood jiggling on its own and this is how Carnage comes to be. No, seriously. It is a known fact that if you bite a symbiote-infected human, it will birth a brand new symbiote and be red because…human blood is red. It’s better known in medical circles as the Reverse Zombie.
Obviously, Cletus escapes his execution now that he has Carnage to provide super powers. Now-free Cletus wants to rescue his past love interest, Shriek (Naomie Harris), from a secret lab/prison. He and Carnage agree that after they bust her out, they will exact revenge on Venom, Eddie, and the cop that captured Shriek so many years ago. Again, for reasons. In movie circles, this plot is better known as the Sony shit-take.
That’s it. That’s the whole movie. Like its predecessor, Let There Be Carnage is thin on plot, heavy on Tom Hardy trying to prove we’ve all overestimated his acting chops, more of Michelle Williams looking really confused as to how she ended up in a non-tear-jerking, non-Oscar-bait, non-drama, Woody Harrelson being directed to just go nuts man, and of course, more swirling CGI blobs fighting each other. And, it doesn’t even have the decency to be rated-R. To be fair, I knew going in that this would be what it was. I was mildly curious as to how Andy Serkis would do as director and the answer was what if Gollum had won? But, my curiosity ended there. The only saving graces of the movie were its short running time (97 minutes) and jaw-dropping mid-credits scene. Turns out, Sony might have just learned something in their fight with Marvel.
Rating: Ask for all your money back because it met my expectations.