CARNAGE

Looking for a psycho thriller with an antihero/superhero bent that can be ghoulishly scary during the month of Halloween? Then stop in to see Venom’s latest caper as the re-invention of the classic Spider-Man villain tries to hunt down the monster he helped create in Venom: Let There Be Carnage.

Tom Hardy (Eames in Inception/Bane in The Dark Knight Rises/Nolan Batman #3) returns as down on his luck, loser reporter Eddie Brock and that plucky, semi-murderous CGI alien symbiote Venom, a black tar-colored intelligent space parasite, in the best buddy pseudo-cop movie this side of the Sony soon-to-be-melding-more-with-Marvel-Cinematic Universe.

Having learned to work together since killing off another allegedly strong-than-them symbiote in the first Venom (2018) movie, Brock and Venom are still trying to understand each other and live in the same body without tearing up Brock’s San Francisco apartment, yet selectively eating chickens and chocolate as an alternate to Venom’s preferred human-brains diet — seriously.

As bizarre as it sounds, for my fellow Spider-Man fans, this is not that out of the ordinary for Venom and Carnage storylines.

Brock is invited by imprisoned serial killer Cletus Kasady for an interview, where Kasady uses Brock to get messages printed so his lost childhood love, Frances Barrison also known as the banshee-esque mutant “Shriek,” to let her know that he’s still thinking about her.

Venom detects the location of the various murdered bodies Kasady buried along the coast — which were never found by the police, much to SFPD Detective Patrick Mulligan’s shagrin — by some of the drawings on Kasady’s prison cell wall.

Brock alerts the authorities, shirking Mulligan and angering Kasady, as the Governor of California reinstates the death penalty specifically for Kasady’s demise. Brock goes to visit Kasady one last time, a tussle ensues, and a psycho-bite of Brock’s finger allows Kasady to ingest some of his symbiote-infused blood.

When the warden and company attempt to lethally inject Kasady for dead, crazy things happen, and the dreaded super-killer known as “Carnage” comes to life for the first time on the big screen.

Venom and Eddie must re-unite to stop Carnage/Kasady and Shriek, who plot to hold a hybrid wedding and triple murder.

I’ll save you the mid-credits scene reveal spoilers since it’s the best part of the movie, but after two views, I have mixed feelings about this film.

I thought Andy Serkis (Gollum of The Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit) did a fine job directing what appears to be his second big blockbuster movie (also directed Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle, and debuted Breathe).

Tom Hardy was again very believable as a moody, split-minded, symbiote host. Woody Harrelson as Cletus Kasady was a pretty good nutcase. Michelle Williams: Talented and gorgeous as always.

I think the buddy-cop, partially “in love” with each other vibe between Venom and Brock — though entertaining and funny at times — is not as dark or lethal as the character needed to be/more akin to comics’ cannon. In Venom, he was more lethal, and stakes were much higher, whereas in Venom 2 he takes a backseat to Carnage, who was also very tame for what Carnage is in the comics.

Being a Spider-Man fan who was pleasantly surprised they pulled off the first Venom movie without Spider-Man ties, Venom 2 needed to “let there be” higher stakes and an R-rating. It was very, very tame for what Carnage’s debut should have been. The “one-and-done” feel also didn’t sit well with me for how important Carnage is to the Spidey and Venom universe(s).

Seems like the next time we see Venom it’ll be out of this world … literally. I guess we’ll see where he goes from here.

Reporter

Roman has worked for multiple local news and non-profit orgs including IV Press and VW Mag, IVROP, St. JP2 Radio and is also with The Southern Cross. An El Centro native, he graduated from Marywood U in Scranton, Pennsylvania. rflores@thedesertreview.com

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