‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ is One of the Worst Modern-Era Comic Book Films

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CHICAGO – The best that can be said for “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” is that it is mercifully short. Otherwise this is an appalling incomprehensible mess of misbegotten ideas, uninspired action sequences, and truly woeful performances. Those expecting some comic book fun are treated instead to the bizarre odd couple act of Tom Hardy arguing with himself … since we can hear the thoughts of Venom when Hardy is in control, and vice versa. Let it be said that Tom Hanks had more interesting conversations with Wilson the volleyball in “Cast Away” than anything Hardy and Venom argue endlessly about here.

Tom Hardy once again dons an idiosyncratic accent for the role of Eddie Brock, a newspaper reporter who barely seems able to read much less write, and is infected with the alien organism Venom. When the film begins the two are odd couple roommates struggling to live together and maintain an uneasy peace. Brock tries to satisfy Venom’s hunger with a steady diet of chocolate and chickens which supply the necessary nutrients he needs to survive, while Venom yearns to get back out on the town and munch on some bad guys. They’re trailed by a pesky diminutive detective (Stephen Graham) who doesn’t seem to be very good at his job. While Michelle Williams does her best with the thankless role of Ann, Brock’s ex-fiancée.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Photo credit: Columbia Pictures

The plot kicks into gear when cold-blooded serial killer with the name of a character from “Deliverance,” Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson), summons Hardy to his jail cell to give him an exclusive interview. Kasady longs to be reunited with the love of his life named Francis (Naomie Harris) – possessing superpowers – who was at the same reform school as he was as a child, and take revenge on those who have wronged him. Francis’ gift is to set off high powered/high pitched shrieks, but has little character beyond that.

After Eddie Brock finds out where all of Kasady’s bodies are buried, Kasady invites him to his execution. But this mostly serves as an excuse for Kasady to get infected by the alien and become the bigger, badder, and meaner “Carnage.” He then breaks Harris out of her highly fortified cell and they take off like runaway lovers headed for a Vegas wedding.

Along the way Venom and Brock get sick of each other and Venom makes a mess of things at breakfast while singing “Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off,” leaving Brock’s body and going to one of those ridiculous rave parties that showed up out of nowhere in big Hollywood Blockbusters … about a decade and a half ago. This sets up a big climax involving a wedding, a big empty church, and plenty of digitally created mayhem.

To be honest I’ve never been the biggest fan of Venom, and his big/empty digitally-created mass of teeth, eyes and goo leaves me cold – the evil villain Carnage is pretty much the same, Moving behind the camera this time as director, motion capture wunderkind Andy Serkis can’t coax much personality out of his two digital creatures.

Pleased to Eat You: ‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’
Photo credit: Columbia Pictures

The movie is pretty much incomprehensible, choppy and seems to have entire sections cut out as it makes illogical leap after illogical leap … in an effort to get things wrapped up in just under 90 minutes. The high point is undoubtedly the obligatory mid-end-credits tease which is pretty much the only thing fans have to actually get excited for.

This is certainly the worst Marvel Comics Universe related property to hit the big screen, and it proves to be a strong contender for worst comic book movie since the dawn of the MCU. And when you remember that “Batman Vs Superman” and “Justice League” weren’t all that long ago, that’s really saying something.

“Venom: Let There Be Carnage” is in theaters beginning October 1st. Featuring tTom Hardy, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Williams, Naomie Harris and Paggy Lu. Screenplay by Kelly Marcel Directed by Andy Serkis. Rated “PG-13”

HollywoodChicago.com contributor Spike Walters


© 2021 Spike Walters, HollywoodChicago.com

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