The First Reviews Are In For Venom: Let There Be Carnage
In just a few short hours, Venom: Let There Be Carnage will roar into theaters, bringing with it the big screen symbiote match-up that Marvel fans have waited decades to see. It’s been almost three years since the original Venom managed to weather a storm of critical backlash to become one of the top earners in October box office history. But this was in pre-coronavirus times. And as the world continues to navigate the ongoing pandemic, a repeat of the first film’s success isn’t exactly guaranteed.
Regardless, the sequel is finally upon us, and critics have begun sharing their full reactions online. Overall, the verdict on Let There Be Carnage seems to be more mixed than that of its predecessor. Some reviewers delighted in watching the two symbiote characters duke it out. However, others couldn’t get past the goofiness of it all. Check out some highlights below.
One of the more positive reviews comes from Josh Wilding of ComicBookMovie.com. Although he didn’t enjoy the first Venom, Wilding hailed the sequel as “the best non-MCU Marvel Comics adaptation to come our way in a very, very long time.” He also singled out the work of screenwriter Kelly Marcel and star Tom Hardy (who gets a “story by” credit) for infusing the new film with more heart this time around. As for Woody Harrelson’s Cletus Kasady/Carnage? Viewers can expect “one of the most formidable comic book movie villains of all time.”
Conversely, Vulture’s Alison Willmore wasn’t impressed with Harrelson’s performance, calling it “exhausting” because he’s given too much to do. But that’s still more than can be said of Naomie Harris’ Shriek, who “glowers and gives good deranged villainess face but has shockingly little to do.” In the end, Willmore dismissed the movie as “more of a bummer than [she] could have imagined” and also claimed that “nothing in the movie matters aside from the mid-credits scene that brought down the house at the fan screening [she] attended.”
BleedingCool’s Kaitlyn Booth was a little nicer with her review. She confessed that Let There Be Carnage is “not a great movie” in the long run, and the sequel’s 90-minute runtime rarely makes time for anyone other than Eddie or Venom. However, the film is “much more tonally consistent than the first one and leans into the things that worked.”
Christy Lemire echoed this idea in her own review for RogerEbert.com. Awarding the movie 3 stars out of 5, Lemire argued that “silliness was the first film’s strength, which everyone involved seems to have realized and leaned into hard for the follow-up.” But be forewarned: fans will realize early on that “the action in this sequel isn’t going to be nearly as compelling as the comedy.” Despite this, the action will be easier to follow this time thanks to Oscar-winning cinematographer Robert Richardson, who replaces Matthew Libatique from the original Venom.
Another less-than-stellar review comes from Variety’s Peter Debruge, who took issue with Marcel and Hardy’s “borderline incomprehensible” script. But most of his ire was aimed at Andy Serkis’ direction on the sequel. Debruge noted that Serkis “understands the technology required to get the necessary virtual performances better than almost anyone.” Unfortunately, he “demonstrates almost no vision as a director” on Let There Be Carnage, which is “garish and ugly to look at.”
Germain Lussier from io9 praised the sequel for trying to give its characters “strong, relatable motivations” to move the story forward. But it sounds like most of these wind up falling flat. Much of the action and humor is “largely hit or miss,” and while the audience may never lose interest, the movie chafes against its shorter runtime: “It’s a stuffed 90 minutes during which you’ll sit in dumbfounded awe at the manic, fast-paced film you’re watching.”
Finally, Rolling Stone‘s K. Austin Collins’ found himself enjoying the film as well. It turns out that he was one of the original Venom‘s defenders. But in his view, this latest chapter doesn’t meet the same standard of quality. Still, it’s “another dirtbag delight. It’s a lesser movie than Venom, but one that scratches many of the same itches and then some. ”
Venom: Let There Be Carnage opens in wide release tomorrow, October 1.
What do you make of these early reviews for the film? Let us know in the comment section below!
Recommended Reading: Spider-Man: Maximum Carnage
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