Though advertised as the origin story of the legendary Spider-Man villain, 2018’s Venom was more of a buddy comedy rather than a superhero or supervillain origin story. The film focused on Eddie Brock, played by Tom Hardy, a reporter who becomes bonded with an alien symbiote that has crash landed on Earth named Venom. In typical superhero origin stories, the movie would have been about Eddie learning how to use the symbiote as a superpower and use it for his own good and the good of the people around him. However, Venom was a movie that focused on the relationship between Eddie and the symbiote. Rather than Eddie just learning what his new powers could do, Eddie had to learn to work with his new powers and work with Venom and realize that as a team they can help the people of San Francisco. Venom played like a classic buddy action-comedy where two people who couldn’t be more different learn that together, they can be great.
A classic trope in sequels to comic book movies is our titular hero losing their powers or contemplating why they are a superhero only to realize the importance of them as a superhero. The best example of this is Sam Rami’s Spider-Man 2, one of the finest comic book movies ever made. Is Venom: Let There Be Carnage yet another comic book sequel that follows this sequel trope? Kind of. We kick off the film to find Eddie and Venom still working together, only with some hostility between each other. Venom wants more out of life. He wants to get out, fight bad guys, and eat their heads (human heads, along with chickens and chocolate, are the only things Venom can eat for proper nutrients, and he’s sick of eating chocolate and chickens). Eddie won’t let Venom eat people and does everything he can to keep Venom inside and have as normal of a life as he can.
Meanwhile, Eddie’s reporting career has taken a turn for the better with his interviews of psychotic death row inmate Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson). But whenever Venom helps Eddie with a lead or a clue, Eddie doesn’t give Venom the credit he deserves. The two are always at odds with each other, so much so that they actually get into a physical altercation, which is one of the movie’s funniest and most entertaining moments, but is also the moment where we see Eddie and Venom break away from each other, forcing Venom to roam the streets of San Francisco, where he inhabits random street patrons and attends raves, and pits Eddie on the run from Kasady, after he breaks free from prison, though he doesn’t have Venom to help protect him.
Where the first Venom film was a buddy-comedy, Venom: Let There Be Carnage is a romantic comedy. Director Andy Serkis, who took over the reins from Ruben Fleischer, understood the story the film wanted to tell and that was the relationship between Eddie and Venom. He knew the movie wasn’t concerned with Kasady, who ends up turning into a red symbiote named Carnage after biting Eddie and ingesting his symbiotic blood, even though Carnage is one of Venom’s biggest foes in the comics. Serkis knew that this was a movie about how Eddie and Venom try to make their relationship work, which leads to a huge fight and break up, and them going on independent journeys to realize how good they are for each other and how much they need each other.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage might be the most action-packed and exciting romantic comedy I have seen. The set pieces are big, loud, and fun, but the movie does a great job of not focusing solely on the action and focusing on the story of Eddie and Venom. Hardy gives another sensational performance as Eddie and Venom and Harrelson seems to be having a blast as Kasady, even if he does have an abomination of a haircut. Venom: Let There Be Carnage is silly fun, but earnestly sweet in its look at Eddie and Venom realizing how much they are perfect for each other.
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