“Venom: Let There Be Carnage” disappoints as a sequel – Shield

Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures
“Venom: Let There Be Carnage” is the Columbia Pictures sequel to “Venom.” “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” is playing in theaters.
Sydney Lawson, Staff Writer

Have you ever loved a movie and were excited to watch its sequel, and then the sequel fails to live up to expectations? “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” falls victim to mediocre sequel curse. 
I was ecstatic to see the sequel after loving the first Venom film. Unfortunately, I walked away from the theater confused, bored and majorly disappointed. 
In the original “Venom” film, Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) accidentally becomes attached to Venom, a symbiote or alien who needs a host. Venom, voiced by Tom Hardy, and Brock learn to work together to stop the antagonist, Carlton Drake, from releasing more dangerous symbiotes in the world.
“Venom: Let There Be Carnage” begins in a vastly different place from where the original left off. Brock is still hosting Venom while inexplicably working with a police force to investigate infamous serial killer Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson). Kasady is imprisoned for his crimes with the location of his dead victims unknown.
After an interview with Kasady, Brock, with the help of Venom, successfully determines the locations of the bodies, landing Kasady with a death sentence. Kasady invites Brock to see him off before he is executed where he insults Brock. Outraged by this, Venom attacks Kasady, who in turn bites a chunk out of Brock’s hand. 
Venom and Brock fight because Brock is angry that Venom risked them being caught, and Venom is frustrated he can’t eat bad guys or show himself in public. Venom separates himself from Brock and leaves to find a new host. 
While Brock is torn between appreciating his freedom and wanting Venom back, Kasady stages his own uprising. As a result of ingesting Brock’s blood and Venom’s matter, Kasady finds himself host to Carnage, offspring of the Venom parasite. 
 Kasady is determined to escape prison, reunite with his lover Frances Barrison (Naomie Harris) and take revenge upon Brock. 
“Venom: Let There Be Carnage” falls short when it comes to characterization and plot, leaving viewers bored and confused. 
Three new characters were introduced in this film; Kasady, Carnage and Barrison. Despite their potential, the characters felt stereotypical and lacked depth.
Kasady is a cheesy villain who seems to be evil for the sake of being evil. He speaks in riddles and has no significant dimension or development. The audience is finally told the motivation for Kasady’s massacre, and it is never addressed again.. 
Barrison, on the other hand, had the potential to add a whole new aspect to the Venom universe. As far as the viewers know, the Venom symbiote is the first and only form of superhuman life on earth. There are no superpowers, mutants or alien beings, yet Barrison is a superhuman with the ability to manipulate and release amplified sounds. 
Her abilities and origin are unexplained, creating confusion for viewers and wasting potential to properly introduce the concept of other superhumans to the Venom universe. Despite her unique abilities and intriguing potential as a character, she is resigned to being nothing more than a love interest. 
Carnage has absolutely no development. Carnage is a parasite of Venom, but unlike Venom and Brock’s relationship, Carnage seems to be an extension of Kasady instead of two separate beings. For a film with his name in the title, Carnage feels to be an extremely minor character with brief appearances. 
In addition, due to Venom’s Voice being so gruff, I found myself struggling to understand him when he spoke. This was slightly disappointing because Venom is beloved for his comedic lines.
I found the plot to be extremely predictable. It was the classic result of stereotypical, underdeveloped villains. The characterization and dynamic between Barrison and Kasady reminded me a bit too much of the iconic Harley Quinn and the Joker.
The plot lacked creativity and followed the path that would be easiest for viewers to predict. “Let There Be Carnage” lacks thrill simply because it is a story everyone has heard before. 
The plot also seems to come out of nowhere to begin with. Brock is a journalist by merit, but for some reason, he is working closely with the FBI on a criminal case. 
 “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” ignores the unresolved conflicts of the previous film. There is no significant consequence or investigation into Brock still having a symbiote, and it is unknown what the fate of the Life Foundation is. 
The one thing preventing the film from being outright unwatchable is the characterization of Brock and Venom. As with their previous film, their dynamic is hilarious and endearing. 
The best parts of the film were depictions of Brock and Venom’s relationship, such as those in which Venom nearly destroys the house trying to cook Brock breakfast or Venom mourning their pseudo-breakup. 
I also praise the computer-generated imagery, visual and auditory design of the new character, Carnage. His design didn’t look awkward against a real world setting, and his screeching and roaring shook the theater and left me feeling genuinely unsettled. 
The most exciting part of the sequel may have been the post-credits scene. Fans of the MCU may want to incorporate the Venom films into their next MCU Marathon. 
I would personally give this film 2.5/5 stars as it is perfectly mediocre.
Conclusively, I can’t recommend the film to those who aren’t fans of Marvel or marvel affiliated films. However, if you do fit that bill, the film is only worth watching for the potential return of beloved characters Brock and Venom in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
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