By Hannah Smith, Oct. 12, 2021

“Venom: Let There Be Carnage” premiered in movie theatres on Oct. 1, two weeks earlier than fans originally anticipated thanks to the box office success of “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.” The success of “Shang-Chi” with a theatrical-only opening led Sony and Marvel to release “Venom: Let There be Carnage” early, knowing there would still be an audience if there was no streaming option available, and what a delight it was to experience this film earlier than anticipated.

The sequel picks up where the first movie left off with Venom and Eddie Brock back to a symbiotic relationship, and it expands on Cletus Kasady’s introduction in the 2018 film’s post credits scene.

This film gave Kasady a much-needed makeover, after audiences criticized the character’s look. In the last film, Kasady, played by Woody Harrelson, appeared with an obvious, curly red wig that distracted from his character. In this film, Kasady still has red hair, but it is styled in a way which looks more natural. The red look of Kasady reflects his bloodthirstiness and the eventual creation of his symbiote Carnage. Harrelson’s performance as a serial killer was chilling, capturing the right amount of creepy and crazy. The introduction of his symbiotic counterpart Carnage was terrifying and lived up to its name.

This action-comedy captured frightening moments with its detailed special effects and character design. Both Venom and Carnage appear to be ebbing and flowing when they take form, with some important contrast that sets them apart. Venom looked like an oil spill, flowing smoothly in his actions, and Carnage moved like rough waters, and was harsh and quick in his movements.

The character design of the two symbiotes made for visually stunning fight scenes. Even the way the two symbiotes interacted with their hosts was visually different. When Brock lets Venom take charge it was like he was wearing Venom as a suit, but when Carnage took over Kasady it looked like he was forcing his way out of him. This visual representation of the way the two symbiotes fuse with their host bodies reflected the relationships between the two.

What really sets this film apart from the first movie is the focus on relationships. Not only is Brock and Venom’s relationship explored further, but the relationship between Kasady and Carnage, Kasady and his past and even the relationship between Brock and his ex-girlfriend, Anne, are further investigated. As Venom and Brock learn to live together, they figure out what it means to be partners and how to function as symbiotes. Even Kasady and his own symbiote must navigate this new relationship and how to make the best out of this situation. The various relationships in this film, and how they all affect each other, is part of what gives this movie a wide appeal.

The relationship between Brock and Venom in particular was important because after the first film, it was clear that Venom and Brock cared for each other. Seeing them live together and make breakfast for each other really solidified the fact that the two have a deep connection.

Even those who aren’t the biggest fans of action or superheroes will certainly find something to enjoy with this film.

For those who were fans of the first “Venom” film, the sequel contains much of the same humor and heart as the first film. Brock and Venom still fight with each other over whose heads Venom can eat, and we still get to see Brock pretending not to be jealous of his ex’s new boyfriend, just this time with a lot more of Venom’s commentary.

Both “Venom” and “Venom: Let There be Carnage” had low critic ratings but high audience approval. This franchise is a fan favorite because of the ridiculousness of the movie and the way Brock and Venom seem to care for each other. Brock and Venom are not your typical crime fighting duo, which makes for an entertaining film that will appeal to those who need a break from the stereotypical hero tropes. It’s hard not to enjoy a film that Tom Hardy is in thanks to his incredible charisma on screen and his hilarious facial expressions.

“Venom: Let There be Carnage” is a must-see in my book, and for those who are followers of all things Marvel, there is an end credits scene you won’t want to miss.

Graphic courtesy of Justin Oo.

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