It was tough to avoid all the rumors about the relationship between Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) and Venom (also Tom Hardy). From love interests to a master-slave dynamic, social media dredged up a few wild ideas while awaiting the release of this film. The truth of the relationship, however, is that the former journalist and the symbiote have developed a complex friendship. In Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Venom and Eddie show, in their dark and disturbing way, how intimate masculine platonic relationships can become, especially in high-stress situations.
This is an amazing feat in a comic book movie, especially one so wrought with violence. In fact, platonic relationships are explored in several ways between the characters. This only adds some depth to the film that was definitely missing from that first film.
Eddie and Venom = Besties
I can see how so many people may have believed that there was a romantic relationship between Eddie and Venom. They share a body, but their explosive reactions to one another do resemble romantic love spats.
The passion is definitely there. Our society has a desire to force platonic relationships into the “love” box whenever intimacy reaches levels that some of us are not accustomed to. Saying “I love you,” for example is a signifier of friendship and doesn’t always mean romantic love. Venom making the most ghoulish pancake dinner in history is indeed an intimate act. But it’s an intimate act performed to care for a friend.
Remember, this occurs after Eddie has dinner with his ex, Annie (Michelle Williams) and she announced her engagement to Dan (Reid Scott). The symbiote knows how much Eddie loves this woman. Venom loves Annie too and actively harangues Eddie for losing her. Again, Eddie and Venom share a body, so there is nothing that the man can hide from his alien friend. So, when Eddie tries to drive into traffic after that dinner, Venom knew what was up.
That’s friendship, not romance.
Cletus and Eddie…Friends?
Let There Be Carnage has its share of Eddie and Venom drama. The hilarity of their interactions will keep the audience going until they meet serial killer Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson). The man is deranged and in a secure prison, fighting a date with the electric chair. He has watched Eddie and knows that the man needs something big to get his journalism career back. Cletus is isolated. He calls Eddie to the prison with a scoop offer. It was a ruse to both get a message to the world and also to stoke a friendship.
Cletus saw Eddie as a kindred spirit. Someone who had great potential but got in his own way.
The serial killer also probably saw someone he could toy with because Eddie had endured so much and was still trying to salvage his career.
Of course, that does not happen and Venom helps Eddie to find a bigger scoop in Cletus’s cell. Later, the betrayal fuels the rage that births Carnage.
Carnage and Venom, Friends, Family, or Enemies?
When Carnage carved a path of bodies and fire through the city, he did so, fueled by a hatred shared by a murderer with a dysfunctional family. The whole picture is literally painted during the film in a dark and sinister, but whimsical fashion. Carnage and Venom are not friends, but they are kin.
There is a point in the film where the red symbiote calls Venom “father”. There never was and never will be love here. In fact, Venom is afraid of “the red ones”. The fight scenes were about fear and rage, nothing more.
Venom and Others
The symbiote gets a chance to inhabit a few different bodies, besides Eddie’s in Let There Be Carnage. He leaves Anne confused about her feelings on aliens and Dan changes his mind on being averse to them. Venom actually changes his tune on Dan as well. It seems that they have formed a neat little unit that I hope is here for the next iteration of Venom. The symbiote’s commentary on his human hosts makes some of the best dialogue of the film. Venom’s punchlines even beat some of Harrelson’s notoriously lyric maniacal musings.
In addition to the dialogue, the audience will enjoy a refreshing villain in Naomi Harris as Shriek. As known as Francis, Shriek has known Cletus since they were kids. They were in love as kids and that never subsided, even when Cletus thought she was dead, and she was led to believe no one would ever get her out of that glass cell. She and Cletus have the actual love story, and it’s downright disturbing, especially when Carnage gets in the mix.
The problem is those sounds damages symbiotes, but that’s the weapon Shriek has at her disposal. Carnage wants to stay inside Cletus, but neither of them can control Francis. They try…and fail. My advice to Carnage, never tell a Black woman what she can and can’t do. She will make it her mission to prove you wrong.
There is so much to enjoy in Venom: Let There Be Carnage. It is a great film to waste a few hours and some concession money on. It was great to see Eddie and Venom return with a story that has a little more depth and more complex villains. the love in this film is strictly fun and strictly platonic, in a way that hopefully normalizes masculine platonic relationships more films.
Rating 3.5 of 5
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