Venom: Let There Be Carnage is a movie that could have benefitted from pumping the brakes a little

Eddie Brock and Venom are back just in time for a serial killer to get infected by another symbiote who happens to also be Venom’s child or something and who wants to kill Venom for reasons. The serial killer just wants to reunite with his old girlfriend, a supervillain named Shriek and make the entire world suffer because… I don’t know… Woody Harrelson?

I’ve noticed that, as I’ve gotten older, time seems to move faster and faster every year. Approaching my late 40s, sometimes it feels like I’m on a rollercoaster going down a drop and there’s no way to stop or slow down and all I can think is, “just give me five minutes!”

That’s this movie.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage is a lean and mean 97 minutes meaning that it doesn’t have a lot of time for characters or relationships or explainers. It jolts back and forth from scene to scene never giving the characters or the audience a chance to soak it in.

That’s the major issue, really… I wanted more time because I like these characters and I like these situations. I like Eddie and I like Venom. I wanted to see more of their partnership. I wanted more of an explainer for Carnage other than, “Blah! I’m evil! Blah!” Where did he come from? Why does he want Venom dead? I’m sure there’s reasons in the comics, but I don’t read the comics and I need answers!

But no, for some reason (more showings in theaters, I’m sure) Venom 2 had to be less than 100 minutes and the movie does suffer because of it.

Still, the film is a lot of fun. Tom Hardy seems to have a better handle on his character than he did in the first movie has he is a delight to watch. His interplay with Venom, who seems more of a scamp this time around, is so glorious that it outshines the minuses of a movie that moves at breakneck speeds.

Strangely, and although I’m a fan of his work, Woody Harrelson didn’t work for me as Cletus Kasady. I know next to nothing about the character, but Harrelson struck me as a round peg trying to fit into a square hole. Try as he might, he never quite captured the idea of an unrepentant serial killer, but I’d blame that on the writing more than the character. Kasady just wasn’t that interesting. Carnage wasn’t that interesting either. No real motivation, no personality, and no reason to justify his existence in this movie other than name recognition.

Hey, though… I enjoyed Tom Hardy’s turn as Eddie enough to enjoy the entire film, as broken and flawed as it seemed to be. Venom 2 is more determined to have fun with its premise and I think that was a huge check in the win column to say nothing of that mid-credits scene that made the entire affair worth the price of admission.

I excite!

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