Marvel’s continuation of Venom falls short of initial film

Sylvan Gordon-Wagen

Not quite living up to its predecessor, “Venom: Let There Be Carnage,” was released on Friday, Oct. 1 and was directed by Andy Serkis. In an unsatisfactory presentation of a talented cast, Marvel seems to be doing the bare minimum to keep Venom alive until the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) progresses further. During its quick run time of 90 minutes, the movie dashes through a one-off plot that hardly makes a splash within the MCU.

Directing his first Marvel film, Andy Serkis works with Tom Hardy on set.

The first film, “Venom,” focuses on Tom Hardy’s portrayal of Eddie Brock, a San Franciscan journalist who loses his career, TV show and fiance, Anne Weying, after investigating the “Life Foundation”. The foundation was a science facility that brought alien life from space back to Earth. Brock encounters and assimilates with one of these life forms called a “symbiote” named Venom who gives Brock special abilities.

In the second film, he returns to print journalism and writes a story on Cletus Kasady, played by Woody Harrelson, a serial killer serving his sentence in San Quentin. Kasady bites Brock’s hand during an encounter with him in the prison. Afterward, Kasady gets some of Brock’s blood and some of Venom’s cells in his mouth, creating a symbiote of his own: “Carnage”. He uses his symbiote to break out of prison during his intended execution. Carnage has a vendetta against Venom for being his creator and strikes a deal with Kasady to help each other get their vengeance. Afterward, Kasady plans to reunite himself with his childhood friend and former mutant lover, Shriek. Venom and Brock struggle to maintain a relationship throughout the film. Venom has a funny, but repetitive longing for eating people and getting Weying back, while Brock is chasing stories and trying to keep Venom from wreaking too much havoc. Regardless of their rough patches, Brock and Venom come together following their conflict with Carnage in a decision to become real heroes. They decide to remain “Lethal Protectors,” paying homage to the original title of the Venom comics.

Holding on to Sonny, Eddie and Venom bicker over who or what to eat.

The story was somewhat meaningless in the grand scheme of Marvel movies, which usually consist of higher stakes scenarios, like Thanos ending half of all life in the universe in Marvel’s Infinity War. Generally, the story follows the textbook for an anti-hero action movie, but Venom and Brock’s coexistence feels like a failure to put a spin on Ryan Reynolds’ “Deadpool,” and the relationship he has with his immortality/villains. Deadpool is one of the most successful action-comedies of the last decade and utilizes quick-witted humor and an intended comical plot. Venom, however, has less direction than the Deadpool films and its writing can’t keep up with its X-Men counterpart. It’s as though the producers could not decide on what type of action movie they wanted to release. The mixture did not flow nearly as well in the second movie as it did in the first.

Harrelson served his role well as a creepy jailbird with a few missing screws, but the script and direction didn’t make the most of his talents. Kasady’s backstory is spoon-fed to the audience in flashbacks and a strange animation of how he was abused and killed his family in return with hollow motives. This was disappointing after Hardy built a much more worthwhile, two-sided character in the first film. Nonetheless, Hardy was caught throwing deadpan lines at Venom in the second movie, making for under par dialogue, even for Marvel standards. All the important characters just seemed to fill a predictable role and fade out after meeting their requirements.

Longing for Anne Weying, Venom contemplates his relationship with Eddie.

Marvel lets the Venom story fall flat in “Venom: Let There Be Carnage,” but gives audiences some more symbiotic content for those who want a fast-paced action movie. So far, the film does nothing to propel the MCU or even change the Venom story all that much besides the decay of Anne and Brock’s relationship. Perhaps the highly anticipated third Venom movie or possible Spiderman crossover could rescue the series after getting away with high potential casts and huge budgets twice while yielding mediocre results.