Warning: Contains spoilers for “Venom 2.”
October 2021 commenced with the long-awaited release of the Sony film “Venom 2.” Originally planned to hit theaters on Oct. 2 of last year, “Venom 2” got pushed back multiple times due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the newly released Disney’s Marvel movie “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.” The superhero film finally debuted on Sept. 30 in the United States. Even though we are still in a pandemic, do not waste your time looking for the movie on a streaming network. Unlike Disney’s Marvel movie “Black Widow,” Sony made sure to make this a theater-only experience.
“Venom 2” raked in $90.1 million at the box office during its weekend release, beating the previous film from 2018 by $9.8 million on its opening weekend. CNN called it the “biggest US opening of the pandemic.” Sony only expected to make about $40 million when it came out. So far, it’s the only sequel to outgross its forerunner since the pandemic, and it continues to bring in more money and outdo its precursor. Not only did “Venom 2” make more money than its predecessor, but it also received almost double the rating on Rotten Tomatoes with a critic review score of 59%.
Tom Hardy and Michelle Williams return as Eddie Brock/Venom and Anne Weying. In the previous film, Hardy came up with some brilliant and spontaneous ideas that greatly enhanced the movie, such as the notable scene when Eddie dives into the lobster tank and bites off the head of an unsuspecting lobster. His gifts for adlib and humor return as he brings these talents into the sequel. Other skills include Hardy’s remarkable ability to transition between the Brock and Venom roles smoothly. These skills led Hardy to become a co-writer this go-round.
Andy Serkis, well-known for playing Gollum in Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” films, replaced Ruben Fleisher as director. “Venom 2” marks the fifth project that Serkis directed. Hardy approached Serkis about directing the film, and one of the significant reasons involved his expertise in computer-generated imagery (CGI). A complaint from the first “Venom” movie was how difficult it was to see the fight between Venom and Riot at the end — a problem Serkis fixed in the battle between Venom and Carnage. Serkis did his best to ensure each scene requiring CGI met its full potential so audiences could see the improvement from the first movie.
Woody Harrelson and Naomie Harris, who both starred in “After the Sunset,” teamed up again to play the film’s antagonists, Cletus Cassidy/Carnage and Francis Barrison/Shriek. The characters are a psychotic couple hellbent on revenge. Harris also worked with Serkis previously in “Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle,” another movie directed by Serkis where she played the voice of Nisha.
Kelly Marcel returned as the screenwriter from the previous film. Marcel and Hardy collaborated very well during the first movie. Before finishing their work on “Venom,” they began working on ideas for “Venom 2.” Together, they pitched the idea of a sequel to Sony. Once Sony gave them the go-ahead, the duo went straight to work.
“Venom 2” contains a lot for a brief 1-hour, 37-minute long film. It moves at quite a fast pace, which both Serkis and Hardy intended. The movie mainly focuses on the love-hate relationship between Eddie Brock and Venom, and this dynamic gives Venom a more significant role in the film with way more lines than the predecessor.
Both characters have their own goals and perspectives but are stuck sharing the same body, with Venom left hiding behind the scenes. Venom longs to be San Francisco’s Lethal Protector and win back Anne, and Eddie only wants to get his life back together and move on. The situation creates a growing conflict between the two, which leads to a full-on brawl in their apartment. The scenario provides a lot of comical dialogue for the duo.
“Venom 2” is also a barrage of love stories and complicated relationships between different characters: Eddie and Anne, Venom and Anne, Cletus and Shriek, Cletus and Eddie, and Cletus and Carnage. The movie gained the tag rom-com mainly due to Eddie and Venom’s relationship, which led to a lot of romantic fan fiction between the two characters.
Due to the title of the film, “Venom: Let There Be Carnage,” and the inclusion of Venom’s leading comic book arch-nemesis, viewers expected Kassidy and Carnage to play much more prominent roles in the movie. YouTuber Angry Joe and his costars felt Carnage did not receive the screen time and story depth he deserved, especially considering the number of comics featuring the character. “I was hoping that the Carnage film would have more impact,” said Angry Joe during his Angry Movie Review.
Another complaint regarding the Venom movies is the limitations imposed by the PG-13 rating, which are more apparent with the portrayal of Carnage and how sadistic the character is in the comic series. Many fans want to see the blood and gore that Carnage is capable of on the big screen, similar to the violence of “Deadpool.”
Other YouTubers like Amanda the Jedi and Jeremy Jahns share Angry Joe’s opinions about how the film creators handled the Carnage character. Still, most audiences immensely enjoyed the film, according to the B+ ratings received on CinemaScore and Rotten Tomatoes. During an interview with Erik Davis, the Fandango Correspondent, Hardy pointed out that they took feedback from fans of the first movie into consideration while making the sequel. It’s no surprise that a film with a crew that listens to its audience will be successful.
Fans of the movies cannot wait to see where Sony plans on taking the Venom character next. The end of the film hinted at another symbiote: Toxin, the offspring of Carnage. The post-credit scene was incredibly enticing, as it showed Eddie and Venom entering the dimension of the MCU Spider-Man. Will Venom appear in the next Spider-Man film?