Lethal protectors unite! The typical notion that sequels don’t often live up to their successors didn’t affect Sony’s Venom: Let There be Carnage, as the blockbuster managed to rise to the top in a number of ways, from the income to character development.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage had a momentous outing in the weekend box office. It grossed $90.1 million, setting the record for the highest grossing opening weekend in the Pandemic era. Marvel’s Black Widow previously held the top spot, having grossed $80 million during July.
Let There Be Carnage, directed by Andy Serkis, is the sequel to 2018’s Venom. Eddie Brock/Venom (Tom Hardy) must stop serial killer Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson) after Kasady obtains his own symbiote, which turns him into the raging, sadistic Carnage.
Along the way, Brock must learn to cohabitate with his alien parasite, all while going through the continued heartbreak of losing his former fiancee Anne Weying (Michelle Williams). Naomie Harris and Reid Scott also star as Frances Barrison/Shriek and Dan Lewis, respectively.
Let There Be Carnage has a runtime of just 90 minutes, which is 50 minutes shorter than Venom. That’s an absolutely absurd number when considering how today’s superhero flicks operate.
That short of a length lead to initial fears about a lack of crucial character development and world-building, along with a rushed story. While the movie wasn’t able to quite achieve some of those factors, they did excel when it came down to the vocal point: Brock and his hen-raising, chocolate-eating black slime.
The incredibly cheesy but heartfelt development between Brock and Venom was the show-stealer of Let There Be Carnage. It was a big risk taking a typically gruesome and horrifying antagonist (or antihero in this case) and turning him into the “hurt girlfriend” of a relationship.
However, the move paid off in a huge way, thanks in part to the “silly” identity this franchise has taken (some of the best jokes come from Venom and Brock’s quips). It captured the real-life aspects and lessons of any couple, having to learn what the other’s needs are in order to make the relationship last, and resulted in a solid payoff towards the end of the film.
Some fans might be disappointed with how Sony adapted Carnage/Kasady, whose character made his cinematic debut. In the comics, Carnage has committed numerous gory atrocities that would leave even the most heinous impressed.
Despite its major characters’ reputations, Sony again went with PG-13 as opposed to an R rating. Serkis did express the movie’s goal of “pushing the limits” of the PG-13 rating.
To Serkis’ credit, the movie did take creative ways of showing just how brutal Kasady and his parasite counterpart could be. However, Let There Be Carnage‘s awkward placing between PG-13 and R reflects the movie’s overall tone to a T: a mix of dark, grim violence and funny light-heartedness that was still trying to find its footing at times.
While the heart and soul of Let There Be Carnage prevails, the film does have noticeable downfalls that hold it back. The action, while enjoyable, did turn too predictable and mindless at times, and the film lost a good amount of its steam towards the final act- complete with Carnage literally yelling “let there be Carnage!” which resulted in a million eyeballs rolling to the back of heads.
Regardless of the bumps, the film managed to achieve the fast-paced, action-packed ride they desired while continuing to build up the characters of Brock and Venom. It’s a fun watch, and you’ll be rewarded greatly for your time at the end of the movie (if you’re curious and don’t care about spoilers, read on).
Major Spoilers Ahead!
The mid-credits scene of Venom: Let There Be Carnage leaves us wondering: where do Sony and Venom go from here?
Enjoying their fugitive status in a tropical paradise, Venom and Brock are relaxing on a bed watching television, when Venom starts telling Brock of the symbiotes’ awareness of other universes.
Then, a blinding light suddenly occurs, and the pair find themselves watching J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons) as he reveals Spider-Man’s (Tom Holland) identity, which is right where Spider-Man: Far From Home left off.
It all but assures Venom and Spider-Man will be meeting on the big screen for the first time since Spider-Man 3. But when will it happen? Spider-Man: No Way Home, set to release in December, will be dealing heavily with the multiverse. It seems very likely that Venom could now make an appearance, if only just a minor cameo.
However, this mid-credits scene could be also be seen as Sony setting the groundwork to bring Holland’s Spider-Man back into their own cinematic universe. Sony and Marvel Studio’s licensing agreement has been unpredictable in the past, with the two major companies almost ending the deal in 2019.
For now, fans can look forward to the endless possibilities that could arise thanks to the web-slinger and his fearsome foe finally sharing the same timeline.
Andrew Rhoades is a Contributing Reporter at The National Digest based in New York. A Saint Joseph’s University graduate, Rhoades’ reporting includes sports, U.S., and entertainment. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.