In Venom: There Will Be Carnage, Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) isn’t the only one with two faces. And it’s not just that the symbiote must share the stage with Woody Harrelson’s Carnagede. In an attempt to create a story with multiple layers of duplicity, director Andy Serkis opts to turn the film into two visions of the same thing.
On one side, Brock’s life as a journalist and host to an alien entity with whom he shares body and mind. On the other side, the pure violence of a serial killer… Kasady (Harrelson) is ruthless and cruel, but he has a weakness. One that Serkis exploits to open up another plot line to a different place.
With such a combination, by the end of the first half hour of Venom: There Will Be Carnage one thing was clear: it’s a frantic, uninspired mash-up of various story fragments. One that doesn’t quite work because it doesn’t really tell anything new.
As the camera follows Venom’s impossible pirouettes and shows the birth of a doubly terrifying Carnage, the script sinks into incongruity. Scenes that lead nowhere, long dialogues without sense that end up intertwined with action scenes that border on the ridiculous. If the director of the first installment Ruben Fleischer tried by all means to show the terrifying power of Venom without succeeding, Serkis makes and exaggerates his mistakes.
With a clumsiness that astounds, Venom tries to give continuity and personality to a script that goes sideways without the slightest logic. The result ends up being a display of special effects. In the middle of a story that tries to demonstrate two extremes of the same thing. Venom is more than a parasitic alien, while Carnage is far less than a creature without control.
The highly anticipated battle between the two ends up turning into an extravagant toss-up between two theoretically opposing forces. But in reality, the two are one and the same. If Serkis’ intention was to play with duality, he succeeds in nothing more than amalgamating the two creatures.
And to do so, without the history of their hosts being anything more than dull context to justify the central action. Venom: there will be carnage ends up being a love story mixed with bland humor and digital action. Nothing dominates, nothing stands out and what’s worse, nothing is appealing on its own. Serkis fails and does so by forgetting that Venom is the sum of his impossibility for anything to define him.
In trying to do so he not only devours the core of everything mysterious about an alien of limitless powers who must inhabit a human body. He turns it into a kind of sad tale of brawlers amidst unnecessary and even sentimental drama that becomes disconcerting.
The humor that is not humor and the killer in search of love.
Kelly Marcel’s script attempts to cover all the gaps and white spots that were so heavily criticized from the first film. First, it establishes that the relationship between Brock and Venom is in a precarious balance.
The alien accepts not to devour living things “bigger than a chicken.” and the journalist must live with his everlasting presence. Now, what could be a sinister twist – Venom is not always good and Brock is not always patient – is a comedy of situations. And if in Fleischer’s film the relationship between Venom and Brock was laughable, in Venom: There Will Be Carnage it borders on the ridiculous.
That’s despite Hardy trying hard to create a new dynamic and Serkis trying hard to show the possibilities of an invisible monster. But in the end, neither the actor nor the director provide any real tone to the dynamic between symbiote and journalist. In fact, it all ends with a collection of Hardy’s tics and his own voiceover in meaningless, substance-free debates.
But the most considerable disappointment of Venom: There Will Be Carnage is how flimsy Carnage and Cletus Kasady are, the villain of occasion and one of Marvel’s most violent characters. In his live action version, the red symbiote arrives as a tragic creature, gloomy and full of pain. The expected conjunction between the serial killer and the alien turns out to be a love story gone wrong.
Indeed, there is an emotional ingredient that ebbs and flows in Kasady played loosely but with obvious limits by Harrelson. Of course, the actor is competent enough to create a sinister and fateful creature. But Serkis, in an attempt to sustain a seemingly deeper discourse, squanders the opportunity to show Carnage in all his ruthlessness.
‘Venom: There Will Be Carnage’: Marvel puts its pieces together.
Perhaps the most redeemable thing about Venom: There Will Be Carnage is the fact that the film is the stage Marvel and Sony chose to unify their pieces. After years of legal battles, agreements and disagreements both studios found a way to unite their universes. Venom: There Will Be Carnage is aware of its unifying quality and, in fact, the entire film focuses on that point.
By its final scene, and the now-infamous post-credits scene, it’s clear that the symbiote paved the way for whatever awaits the characters going forward. What is clear is that the film does its job: to open doors to other regions of Marvel.