Too much of anything isn’t good for anyone; and Venom 2: Let There Be Carnage sinks because it has too much of everything. A lot of action takes place in a computer-generated environment, which the director Andy Serkis could have avoided but doesn’t. And the net result is a film that looks bad even in 3D. The story might also be an adaptation from a comic book arc but it resembles the superhero flicks that came out two decades ago where two characters having the same powers fight each other for domination.
Starring Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock/Venom, Michelle Williams as his ex-fiancée Anne and Woody Harrelson as the main antagonist, the sequel of Venom revolves around the tension within Eddie and Venom. There comes a time in the movie when Eddie and Venom decide to go their separate ways but like most comic characters, none can survive without the other and that’s exactly what happens here.
Enters Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson) a serial killer on death row who gains superpowers (that’s the suspense!) to become ‘Carnage’, and escapes from prison (obviously!). He sets out to rescue his super-powered girlfriend Frances (Naomie Harris) from confinement, and have a happy ending, but Venom has other ideas. Do Eddie and Venom manage to save the world (and themselves) after Carnage and his girlfriend who could manipulate sound join forces, or do they finally get to meet their match, watch Venom 2: Let There Be Carnage to find out.
While the audience waited for the clash of the two alien symbiotes – Venom and Carnage – they forgot the third character with a superpower once the third act began. Also, it remains unclear why Woody Harrelson’s alter ego was named Carnage and neither is the fact that how Peggy Lu’s Mrs. Chen could host Venom without any repercussions. The body-swapping reminded of one of the Iron Man sequels where ‘one suit fits all’, and while ‘that’ seemed ridiculous, ‘this’ seemed insane.
There was a reason why the first installment of this Spider-Man spin-off was a success; it had a character that was both ‘super’ and ‘normal’ at the same time, both were shown as losers and their humorous interaction brought a smile to the audience’s faces. However, the sequel revolves more around a successful Eddie who takes a break from being Venom only to realize that being with his alien symbiote alter-ego is what makes him successful. The same goes for Venom who makes Earth his home by the time this film comes out, and tries different bodies to go scot-free but is unable to fit anywhere else.
That wasn’t even the biggest turn-off of the film; the award for that goes to Woody Harrelson’s wig which doesn’t suit him or his character. If one looks closely at the first Venom flick, the wig his character donned looked much better in the mid-credit scene and makes one wonder why the makers decided to change it. In some of the scenes, the veteran actor looks miscast and misfit to play a Marvel super-villain, and it would have been better had another actor been cast for the character. A lot of time is actually given to the Hannibal Lecter kind of a villain which also puts the audience off after some time.
Also, Academy Award nominated actress Naomie Harris was wasted in a useless role where she was limited to screaming and reading newspapers while being incarcerated. For someone who helps James Bond in his adventures has impressed audience around the world with her performances and is regarded as one of the most promising young actresses from the United Kingdom, she should have excused herself from playing second fiddle to a villain. Similarly, a lot could have been done with Stephen Graham’s Detective Patrick Mulligan who had a history with her character, yet was not used in an intelligent way. He might be there in the next installment but one hopes that it is done in a better way, or maybe, not done at all.
Also, the beautiful Michelle Williams remains a supporting character for the second time for no reason. No one still knows how she could host Venom but that doesn’t matter as she transports him just like she did in the original. Her character deserved better treatment from the writers and the director, and could have done with more than being a damsel in distress at the climax. She was bound and gagged in the fight sequence that nearly destroyed everyone and everything in it, and could have been used in an effective manner.
On the whole, the sequel is a lot different from the first film where Tom Hardy was at his best as the Dr. Jekyll – Mr. Hyde comic reincarnation of sorts. While he was able to carry the dual characters perfectly, he isn’t able to repeat the same performance for some odd reason, and that shows on screen. As both Brock and Venom (it is his voice in a different tone!) he looks totally cool unlike the person who would win the ‘biggest loser award’ with no actual competition.
And then there was the abundance of Special Effects that gave the movie the look of a high-quality animated movie instead of a superhero flick. Now there are two kinds of CGI action sequences, one that helped director Sam Raimi launch Spider-Man two decades back and the one that director Andy Serkis uses in this second installment of a character from the Spider-Man universe. You remember the good ones and forget the bad ones and it will take a miracle for the audience to remember Venom 2: Let There Be Carnage once Spider-Man: No Way Home and Morbius hit the screens in coming months.