Venom: Let There Be Carnage

Venom: Let There Be Carnage ★★½

Venom 2 is a somewhat enjoyable, super campy outing that almost feels like an extended cut of the first film. The first act doesn't have anything substantial happening, and when we get to the second, there's way too much going on. The pacing is all over the place, only broken by a few interesting scenes, such as the one where Venom attends a rave party. The humor hasn't improved drastically as yet, and the main baddie - Carnage (and his human counterpart Cletus, a serial killer) played by Woody Harrelson) - is almost caricature-like. If you expect Harrelson's Cletus to be one of those fascinating psychopaths, then you're probably in for the wrong movie. Nope, this ain't Natural Born Killers. The writing by Kelly Marcel (who wrote the first film) sticks to familiar narrative beats, tucking in not one but two fun jailbreak scenes.

I found Carnage's design to be a bit weak. The differentiations lie in the colors and the tentacles; that's sufficient to make the climactic showdown (set in a church, with the church bell having a pivotal role to play) very vibrant. It also sucks that for a film that has too many lines mentioning chewing people's heads off, we don't get to see either Venom or Carnage pull that off in a satisfyingly gory way (yes, I'm looking at that damn PG-13 rating). There's a mid-credits scene that should send almost everyone into a frenzy, and that portion gets a double thumbs-up. The odd dynamic between Eddie and Venom is surprisingly given more weight in the film, and it's safe to say that the sequel has managed to avoid a reiteration of some of the original's poor one-liners. The bottom line here is that the film doesn't take itself seriously, and neither should you!

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