Sunday, October 3, 2021

Venom: Let There Be Carnage

Movie Name:
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Year of Release: 2021
Director: Andy Serkis
Starring: Tom Hardy, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Williams, Naomie Harris, Reid Scott, Stephen Graham, Peggy Lu, Jack Bandeira, Little Simz
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 3
View Trailer

Synopsis and Review:
Actor/director Andy Serkis, is the latest creative to tackle another Marvel property, this time around the sequel to the unexpected success that was "Venom", originally directed by Ruben Fleischer. The sequel focuses its attention on Eddie Brock and his co-existence with the symbiotic Venom, and how they try to navigate their relationship, in an Odd Couple kind of way. Eddie is faced with an interesting assignment which comes in the shape of Cletus Kasady, a serial killer recently apprehended, who wants to tell his side of the story to a reporter, namely Brock himself. Brock and Venom manage to discover where Kasady has hidden all the bodies of his victims, and soon Kasady finds himself on death row. Upon visiting Kasady for a last time, before his scheduled execution, there's a physical altercation between them both, which results in Kasady biting Brock, and getting a taste of the alien creature living within. This actually results in the  creation of something new, a new entity, which takes over Kasady and names itself Carnage. They soon escape prison, and go rescue Kasady's imprisoned lover, Frances, also known as Shriek, due to her special mutant powers. It's up to Eddie and Venom to not only save themselves, but also prevent the city of San Francisco of being obliterated.
What has now become somewhat apparent about the "Venom" films, besides the obvious quality of its cast, and production values, is how lightweight and borderline paper thin its storylines actually are. For all her reputation and projects she has tackled, writer Kelly Marcel has failed to bring some actual dimension to the scripts of these films, choosing instead to infuse both of them with a series of clichés and rather rudimentary storylines. This film,  much like the previous chapter, is filled with digital effects that provide the sound and fury, but everything in this narrative is light as a feather, the same going for its characters, relationships and motivations. The film places some interesting characters in place, but avoids providing much information or background on them, making this narrative instead something very basic, almost child like in its context, motivations and momentum, but with enough violence to keep it interesting for adults. For all its noise it's a surprisingly shallow film, where a talented cast is completely wasted. Michelle Williams, Woody Harrelson, Naomie Harris and Tom Hardy are all somewhat playing it along, with only Stephen Graham actually bringing some actual gravitas and dimension to what is happening on screen. The cinematography from the wonderful Robert Richardson is fantastic, as is the score from the always solid Marco Beltrami. It's barely better than the previous chapter, and that is solely due to some of the humor that is tossed around. Hopefully the third chapter will have a different creative team, able to bring this character to life with some actual dimension.