Never thought I’d see the day where a film like “Venom” would be able to score a sequel. Despite being panned by critics and even comic fans, it gained a die-hard audience that wanted to see Tom Hardy go all out with this performance. Naturally, this resulted in the first film being a big hit at the box office, and this sequel is proof of that.

Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) is back and currently adjusting to hosting a symbiote named Venom, which allows him to act as a vigilante. But these events don’t prevent him from reaching out to his ex-fiancee Anne Weiying (Michelle Williams) who has since moved on from their relationship. While all this is going on, Brock goes to reignite his career as a journalist by interviewing serial killer Cletus Kassady (Woody Harrelson), who becomes the host of a “Carnage” symbiote and breaks out his love interest Shriek (Naomie Harris) to wreak havoc.

Before I go into my personal thoughts, I would like to go into a little background about my history with the character. The Venom in the comics is often a villain or an anti-hero but is still a great character. Personally, he’s one of my top five favorite Marvel villains of all time. His rivalry with Spider-Man, as well as the duality between Eddie Brock and the symbiote, make for some interesting stories. So when the first film came out, I was pretty underwhelmed by it as not only did it have no connection to Spider-Man, but it took a more action/comedy route as opposed to action/horror that the character was known for. With that said, it was entertaining to watch Tom Hardy in this performance interacting with this alien creature. But it didn’t take enough risks and mostly played out like a buddy movie with 90’s tropes.When I found out they were making the sequel with Carnage, another Marvel villain I love, I was excited to see what they were going to do with it. Knowing that I was about to see a film starring Tom Hardy and Woody Harrelson, topped off with “Gollum” actor Andy Serkis himself as director, I had a lot of expectations walking in.

Having seen the movie, if I were to describe this film in one word it would be ridiculous. But I mean that in a good way. While it relies on familiar clichés, such as the “odd couple” and the split up that separates them, it’s still being portrayed by these actors who keep them entertaining. The dynamic between Eddie and Venom is once again the highlight of the movie. The people behind this know that this dynamic is what people loved about the first film. Their interactions are essentially like watching Tom Hardy arguing with himself. 

Woody Harrelson and Naomie Harris are also a lot of fun. You can tell that they are having a ball acting insane while playing these characters. They are essentially the supervillain couple equivalent of “Bonnie and Clyde”. I can’t help but get invested with these two every time they are on screen.

While the performances and tone are very entertaining, there are a few issues with this film that will throw people, particularly fans of the first film off. The first one is the editing. This film feels like it was trimmed down a lot throughout production. There’s a lot of dissolves that come out of nowhere. You also have some scenes of ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement) where people are facing away from the screen, but they insert the actors’ lines in during editing. I understand that this film has a runtime of 97 minutes, which I felt could have been expanded to give us more character and even Venom/Carnage action.

When the movie started I thought it was going to center around the rivalry between Hardy and Harrelson. Basically, these big-name dynamic actors going against each other. The scenes they share together are so fun to watch as they have such big personalities. I wish they had more interactions throughout the film, which is something people want to see from a Venom/Carnage movie. However, you primarily get these scenes in the first and third acts, and I wish they had more opportunities to interact throughout the film.

Another element that I feel people are going to be split on is the comedic timing during certain scenes. Don’t get me wrong. These are all actors who know how to say funny lines and have good deliveries. But there are moments where they are making these lines sound funny, but on paper, they don’t feel funny. I was ready to laugh and roll in the aisles at these setups. One good example is the Venom symbiote going to a rave party where he “comes out” with his newfound freedom to the crowd. Now that’s a fun setup. It’s not the character from the comic, but it’s still something that I want to laugh at. However, while I found the setup bizarre and entertaining, the dialogue wasn’t exactly hilarious. Though honestly, I think the humor comes from the absurdity of these situations, rather than the writing itself. If you watch these scenes and laugh then you’re going to have a good time. It’s just how I personally feel.