The Venom sequel is so backwards from the all-comer Marvel – for better and for worse – that you can’t help but find it likable.
We could read everywhere at the end of the first Venom that it was one of the worst superhero movies ever. It is obviously very exaggerated as a summary: caught up at home, Venom was a not so unpleasant origin story, of modest dimensions, which was especially valid for the funny perf, a bit masochistic, of Tom hardy. That was four years ago, a century ago, an eternity ago. The sequel immediately looks a little more intriguing: it features Carnage, one of Spider-Man’s greatest villains, and it’s signed Andy Serkis.
With such a name at the helm of Venom 2, we were already starting to theorize something about the double, about the dialogue between the actor and his role seen as a devouring monster, in short about the fight between Gollum and Sméagol. We will put things right right away: Venom: Let There Be Carnage (we can prefer the Quebec title: “ça va être un carnage”) has absolutely no claim in that sense. The schizophrenic dialogue between Tom Hardy and himself does not look further than what we see on the screen: an actor who has fun jostling himself gently, saying a few bad words, destroying his apartment, giving nicknames to domestic hens and to slather on ketchup.
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Its incredibly short duration (1h37!) Gives it, compared to other disproportionate and often lengthy blockbusters of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the dimensions of a sitcom episode. Maybe that’s the best way to think about it? Hardy, also a producer and co-writer, makes this micro-film his exclusive property, leaving just a little room for Woody Harrelson to have a little fun in Carnage.
Rest, Venom 2 makes no effort to be appreciated: its inconsistent writing and unstable editing (the same wide shots of the San Francisco skyline serve as transitions throughout the film) are obvious and give the impression of ‘a film devoid of any structure and vision. Without ambition. Nonsensical. And that’s a shame, because it spoils the really fun sequences of Venom 2 like the escape from Prison Carnage, or that nightclub scene where Venom makes a motivational speech completely absurd. Compared to other MCU films, publicly virtuous, to the prudence and neatness that wants to be blameless, to the writing and the stakes more and more harmless, it is sure that it is not the same herbal tea.
That’s why we can only find Venom: Let There Be Carnage a little nice, basically – and we advise you to watch Breathe, the first feature of Serkis as a director, a nice drama fifties “from a true story” with Claire Foy and Andrew Garfield, on VOD on Amazon, for example. You have of course the right to consider all this as a snobbish critical posture, but compared to what one already reads a little everywhere on Venom 2 (a horror of the same dimensions as the first, roughly), is it that overkill?
Venom: Let the be Carnage, by Andy Serkis. With Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Naomie Harris, Woody Harrelson. In theaters on October 20, 2021.