Director: Andy Serkis
Cast: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Woody Harrelson
Release Date: December 14, 2021
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 7/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
Tom Hardy returns as the lethal protector Venom, one of MARVEL’s greatest and most complex characters. In search of his next big story, journalist Eddie Brock lands an exclusive interview with convicted murderer and death row inmate Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson), who discovers Eddie’s secret and becomes the host for Carnage, a menacing and terrifying symbiote. Now, Eddie and Venom must get past their contentious relationship to defeat him. Directed by Andy Serkis (Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle) with a story by Tom Hardy & Kelly Marcel and screenplay by Kelly Marcel, Venom: Let There Be Carnage also stars Michelle Williams and Naomie Harris as Shriek.
Please Note: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ rejoins journalist Eddie Brock (Hardy) and his symbiotic other half Venom as the pair becomes more intertwined and sets out to protect the city from evildoers as the Lethal Protector while also using their wits to find a way to get Eddie’s career moving again. Therefore when Eddie is granted the unique chance to interview death row inmate Cletus Kasady (Harrelson) he can’t resist and leaps at the opportunity. Unfortunately, a confrontation between the two provides Kasady with his own host Carnage and the truth about Eddie’s secret. On the eve of his death sentence, Cletus/Carnage use their newfound talents to escape execution and head into the city with two purposes: to find Shriek (Harris), the woman he loves and to kill everyone they can, wreaking true Carnage. Now, Eddie and Venom will have to figure out their differences and truly unite if they stand any chance of taking down this new and powerful threat.
Directed this time around by Andy Serkis (Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle) from a screenplay by Kelly Marcel (Saving Mr. Banks) and a story by Tom Hardy and Marcel, Serkis does a nice job at the helm of ‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ guiding along the fast-paced fun and excitement with a colorful and almost tongue-in-cheek style at times. The cast of the sequel features numerous new and returning individuals to the series including Tom Hardy (Inception), Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea), Naomie Harris (No Time To Die), Reid Scott (TV’s Veep), Stephen Graham (Rocketman) and Woody Harrelson (Zombieland) along with more, the majority at least each offering fitting performances for the most part in their respective roles.
‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ serves up plenty of wild action, excitement and chaos, along with quite a few laughs (although perhaps a few too many) and a rather short ninety minute runtime which allows for a fast-paced and consistently entertaining follow-up that definitely has its charms. The sequel brings back Hardy as Brock and offers a whole new mass of fun and insanity courtesy of Harrelson’s splendidly over the top performance as Casady/Carnage who after a brief tease in the mid-credits scene of the first film now has plenty of screen time to do his thing. When it comes to the murderous insanity that is Carnage/Cletus Kasady, it’s handled pretty capably and while the absence of any real blood or gore doesn’t give the dark character his full due, it does at least find ways to let him go wild and pile up a bigger body count than expected by not always concentrating directly on the violent acts while still usually making it quite clear what happened. Perhaps most surprising is just how much humor is present this time around, taking some inspiration from ‘The Odd Couple’ when it comes to the internal interactions between Eddie and Venom which actually works better than you might expect and results in many of the film’s bigger and more rewarding laughs, albeit becoming a bit sillier than necessary more than once. I would definitely still encourage fans of the first ‘Venom’ film to try and make a point of checking out ‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ whenever possible. It’s a somewhat goofy and over the top, yet still incredibly fun follow-up that’s worth giving a chance.
Overall, ‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ is a fun and fast-paced sequel that serves up plenty of crazy action and excitement, although does tend to take things in a goofier and more tongue-in-cheek direction than some fans might have preferred. ‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ is recommended for anyone that enjoyed the first film and is a fan of the bigger Marvel Universe (and these Spider-Man Universe related Sony entries in particular) who should all at least have quite a bit of fun with this sequel. For those who missed it in theaters and might be understandably hesitant to spend the money on a blind purchase, it should at least be worth ninety minutes of your time and the price of a rental one evening when you just want to relax with a fun, funny and exciting comic-book action film without too many complex plot points to keep track of.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation with the film’s original 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks magnificent as a whole and delivers a sharp, smooth and wonderfully detailed presentation from start to finish with no unexpected problems to be uncovered along the way. It holds up impressively even during the various darkly lit, fast moving and/or heavily populated sequences throughout, never causing anything that’s occurring onscreen to become negatively affected or problematic at any point. Overall, this is a great high definition video presentation that should more than satisfy fans as well as first time viewers.
The Blu-ray release features a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack provides a clean, crisp and hard hitting audio presentation throughout that repeatedly contributes a lot of extra fun to the viewing experience. It constantly utilizes all five available channels in order to send gunshots, characters and vehicles swinging past, along with bits of crowd chatter and plenty more making its way throughout the various speakers, all while never allowing any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible in the process. Overall, this is a solid and immersive 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack that sounds great every step of the way and shouldn’t disappoint.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ includes a pretty solid collection of bonus content that fans should appreciate. Included on the release are some ‘Deleted/Extended Scenes’ (running approximately 9 minutes in length altogether) and ‘Outtakes/Bloopers’ (running approximately 3 minutes) from the film. We are also treated to various Behind the Scenes Featurettes that explore bringing the sequel to life, including interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more. The included Featurettes are ‘Let There Be Action’ (running approximately 7 minutes), ‘Eddie and Venom: The Odd Couple’ (approximately 10 minutes), ‘Tangled Web: Easter Eggs’ (4 minutes), ‘Sick and Twisted: Cletus Kasady’ (5 minutes), ‘A Fine Romance: Cletus and Shriek’ (5 minutes) and ‘Concept to Carnage’ (4 minutes). ‘Select Scene Previs’ comparisons for three key scenes (approximately 8 minutes combined) are also included.
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Film Rating: 7/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ is Now Available to Own on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD & Digital from Marvel, Columbia Pictures & Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
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