Directed by Andy Serkis, Venom: Let There Be Carnage is a huge step up from 2018’s Venom. Tom Hardy is back as Eddie Brock (and the voice of Venom) and this time he has been more hands on in the creative process and it shows. What was a flawed attempt by Sony to cash in on the MCU has now grown into a solid franchise, and whilst it has its faults leaves the audience wanting more – especially after the mid-credits!
The movie begins back in 1996 where we meet a young Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson) and his girlfriend Frances Barrison aka Shriek (Naomie Harris). Barrison is being removed from St. Estes Home for Unwanted Children to the Ravencroft Institute but during the transfer unleashes her sonic scream powers to escape injuring young police officer Patrick (the man who will one day become Toxin) Mulligan’s (Sean Delaney) hearing in the process. Whilst defending himself Mulligan shoots Barrison in the eye and believes he has killed Barrison but she is secretly taken to a special research facility.
Switching back to the present day we are greeted by an older Detective Mulligan (now played by Stephen Graham) who contacts Eddie Brock because Cletus Kasady is refusing to talk to anyone apart from brock following there meeting in the previous movie. Following the meeting Venom figures out where Kasady has hidden the bodies of his victims, and this gives Brock a huge career boost.
We then get clues into the turmoil of Brock’s life including meeting up with his ex-fiancée Anne Weying (Michelle Williams), who tells him that she is now engaged to Dr. Dan Lewis (Reid Scott), as well as Brock’s conflicts with Venom, as the two fight for independence from each other. On top of that a confrontation with Cletus results in Cletus biting Brock with shocking consequences!
Venom: Let There Be Carnage is a huge step forward for Sony, and with impending links to the MCU I wonder if they were advised on how to tighten up their often-baggy scripts? Hardy has found himself as Eddie Brock and the balance between Brock and Venom is explored on several levels throughout the movie. There are fun moments and there are serious moments and this time they do not jar each other, instead they work together much like Brock and Venom.
Whilst the plot may not be the most original, it works well for the characters and gives Harrelson plenty of space to spread his wings as Cletus Kasady. The only other weak link in the chain was the occasional ropey CGI which turned the film into a video game every so often. That being said, it remains an enjoyable movie with a few Easter eggs for the future like Toxin. Obviously, the mid-credits change the entire game, but it is a game I am now excited to watch.
Verdict: 6.5/10. A massive step in the right direction that breathed new life into a franchise that was in danger of only being in existence to cash in on other franchises. Venom now has his own unique identity established and I look forward to what is next in store for our new dynamic duo.