By Emma Weidmann | Intern
Sony and Marvel Studios have come together after a tense battle over the rights to the Spiderman franchise to deliver a sequel that defeats the original. “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” is a good deal gorier than its predecessor, and its storyline, dialogue and driving struggles top the first with ease.
This movie is unique in its place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in that it is a collaboration between Sony and Marvel, offering an unexpected twist in the upcoming series of movies and shows dealing with the uncharted territory that is the “multiverse.” It seems to hold an important position within the franchises, not just as the culmination of a legal battle, but also as one more addition to the cast of Spiderman villains that have yet to make their debut in the MCU.
For a relatively short movie with a run time of 90 minutes, “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” accomplishes an astounding amount of character development and tension. At the center of each subplot is the idea of mutual understanding and boundaries. Eddie Brock is forced to reckon with his failed engagement to his ex-fiancee, Anne, and is learning to accept and celebrate her new engagement. Venom and Eddie (both played by Tom Hardy) split apart over a moral objection to eating human brains—which Venom can’t survive without—and Eddie restricts the extent of his abilities. Setting boundaries and recognizing that each party in a relationship has unique needs is pivotal to the plot. It’s the only way that Eddie and Venom are able to truly achieve the unity and symbiosis necessary to defeat Carnage.
Even Cletus Kasady, the villain played by Woody Harrelson, must juggle his parasite’s weakness with his wife Shriek’s superpower: ear-splitting noise. Kasady is a man with a troubled past, mistreated as a child and allowed to stew in rage and alienation. He is even estranged from the parasitic Carnage, and because of this cannot compare to the combined strength of Eddie and Venom.
“I’m not a crazy man,” Kasady said. “But I am a vengeful one.” All of his anger and spite pent up from his formative years are insufficient to thwart Venom and Eddie’s trust in each other.
Making peace, building understanding and having respect – all takeaways that one wouldn’t expect to find in a movie that dedicates much of its $100 million budget to the prolific use of macabre graphics.
That’s one of the highlights of the movie: it improves upon the simplistic look of the first film, adding a realistic and visceral element to the viewing experience. Carnage, is a feat of special effects resembling bare muscle, sinew and butchery. He makes the sleek, inky Venom look puny. It’s easy to see why “Venom” has taken the crown for the highest grossing opening weekend of the pandemic, proving once again that the box office is thriving despite fears that the industry would be crippled by COVID-19.