Gretchen Lee—Copy Editor
Considering the fact that the last time I saw Venom I was suffering from food poisoning in an airplane over the Atlantic Ocean, I didn’t have high expectations coming into the second installment of the series: Venom: Let There Be Carnage. Because I didn’t have much memory of the last movie, and relied pretty much entirely on trailers to inform my understanding of the film before the actual screening, I was completely unprepared for how funny and heartfelt this movie actually was.
Disgraced reporter Eddie Brock, and the parasitic, brain-eating alien cohabiting his body, Venom, become entangled with insane serial killer Cletus Kasady when they accidentally find his mass grave. After Kasady is infected with a new parasitic alien, created from the combination of Eddie and Venom’s blood, Kasady begins wreaking havoc on the city and it is up to Venom and Eddie to stop him. Of course, this will require the unlikely duo to work out their personal conflicts and employ the help of Eddie’s ex-girlfriend, Anne.
There’s a lot to like about this movie. Besides the entertaining level of insanity in the plot, Eddie and Venom make a fantastic set of main characters. Their co-habitation situation allows for some of the most consistently entertaining dialogue I’ve heard in a superhero movie. Aside from the fact Eddie shares his body with an alien, he’s a very relatable protagonist: he’s messy, nervous, and exhausted in a way most everyone can understand. Venom, too, makes an excellent main character. Even though he’s a mostly-viscous mass of black goo, his pent-up aggression and desire to act are palpable throughout the whole movie. In the end, he continues to be a character audiences wish to cheer on. Side characters like Anne and her fiancé Dan are also fun to watch. Both are capable people in a strange situation, and they add an element of class to the movie that makes for a well-rounded cast.
It is a good thing, however, that the cast of characters is strong, because the plot was otherwise lacking in strength. The exposition at the beginning had some off-kilter pacing that made it difficult to invest in Cletus Kasady’s storyline. Kasady was a somewhat interesting villain, but I felt just about any other generic villain could have replaced him and, as long as that villain was infected by Carnage, it wouldn’t have changed the movie in any decipherable way. Carnage himself was rather bland. His motivations were unclear and the audience didn’t spend enough time with him to truly connect in any way, positive or negative. However, the sheer intensity of his power did allow for some entertaining fight scenes. The conclusion of the movie did a satisfactory job of wrapping up the main plot, while leaving the end open for another film. Without spoiling anything, the after-credits scene was also a tasty little morsel of movies to come that had the whole theatre gasping in shock and excitement.
Overall, this movie is one you watch for the characters. I’ve always thought that, as long as your main characters are relatable and well-written, audiences would rather follow them into a poorly-written plot than a poorly-written main character running into a fantastically-written plot. This movie follows that principal: even though I thought the storyline itself was lacking, I still enjoyed watching Venom and Eddie’s hilarious and heartfelt dynamic. I look forward to seeing where these two characters go in the future and how they will connect into the MCU.