REVIEW: Venom: Let there Be Carnage
After Spider-Man’s black suit was revealed to be an alien symbiote, I lost all interest. I have never cared about Venom or Carnage or their symbiote children. The viciousness and exaggerated fangs and tongue are relics of the 1990s that I wish would just go away.
I was not at all surprised Sony went ahead with a Venom movie, but what surprised me was that it received not only good word of mouth but enough box office to receive a sequel. Venom: Let there Be Carnage has the benefit of being mercifully short. As a buddy movie, with the buddies sharing one body, it has some nice lightweight moments that Eddie Brock/Venom (Tom Hardy) plays well enough.
But, when Brock interviews Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson) on Death Row, things turn decidedly darker as the red-hued symbiote emerges. There’s mayhem and blood everywhere, but not much sympathy for the newer, deadlier villain. Any attempt at that, as he tracks down lover Shriek (Naomie Harris), fails to elicit any emotion. And poor Anne (Michelle Williams) can only watch with growing horror at the world that keeps knocking on her door.
Andy Serkis’s direction is perfectly adequate, using his CGI experience to get the most out of Venom and Carnage. But, the story, crafted by Hardy and Kelly Marcel, who went on to write the script, can’t sustain a tone to serve the story. The buddy stuff is entertaining enough but Carnage is under-developed and the romantic elements just feel tacked on. The heart and soul found in the Spider-Man movies, from which these technically spin from, is absent and lessons need to be learned before the Sony Spiderverse grows.
The tone doesn’t work and had they leaned into an out-and-out horror film, it would have been R-rated and perhaps more interesting. Instead, this mess ill-serves its cast and the characters. That the end credit sequence sends Venom to Peter Parker’s world, as seen currently in Spider-Man: No Way Home, is inevitable but disappointing.
The film is out now on disc: 4k, Blu-ray, and DVD combo packages with Digital HD codes. The Blu-ray was reviewed and the 1080p transfer is just fine. It captures the color palette and deep shadows just fine. This edition has a solid DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack while the 4K Ultra HD also has Dolby Atmos. Everything sounds just fine on basic home audio equipment.
There is the usual assortment of Special Features including Let There Be…Action (7:20), Outtakes & Bloopers (3:22); Deleted Scenes (9:33); Eddie & Venom: The Odd Couple (10:18); Tangled Web: Easter Eggs (4:31); Sick and Twisted Cletus Kasady (5:36); A Fine Romance: Cletus & Shriek (5:02); Concept to Carnage (1080p, 4:23); Select Scene Previs: Ravencroft Breakout (2:15), San Quentin Carnage (4:10), and Show & Tell (2:23).