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Review: ‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ is a refreshingly short thrill ride

Image designed by Kyle St. John

I wasn’t a particular fan of the original “Venom” film from 2018. I didn’t like how the action was shot, I didn’t particularly like any of the characters and, overall, the film felt like it couldn’t decide on whether it wanted to take itself super seriously or put action first and story second.

Thankfully, under new director Andy Serkis (most famous for his groundbreaking motion capture work as Gollum in the “Lord of the Rings” films), the “Venom” franchise feels much more comfortable with what it wants to do. It almost completely abandons any serious, dark and brooding mood, and instead goes full on action-comedy, a change that is greatly appreciated.

With the plot reaching past the point of having to introduce characters like Eddie Brock and Venom to new audiences, the film can completely focus on the natural progression and interaction between these characters, we get a look into what it is like to live life as Venom. This setup leads to a lot of great comedic moments, especially those involving Eddie and Venom arguing and bickering with each other.

The action is also constant throughout the movie, as opposed to it only starting to show up 40 minutes into the first film, so you don’t have to wait very long to get a number of great action scenes from both Venom, as well as this film’s titular villain, Carnage.

Even when they aren’t exactly fighting bad guys, a number of the comedic scenes found ways to be very active and slapstick-styled, especially a great scene where Venom begins hastily and destructively cook breakfast using a bunch of tentacles, knocking everything over and starting fires in the process.

It’s no surprise considering Serkis’s extensive motion capture and visual effects work that he knows how to make completely digital characters look great on screen, and this film is no different, as he seems to be in touch with exactly what viewers want to see out of these characters’ appearances and delivers with a high number of great visuals.

However, the biggest improvement that this film has over the original “Venom” is that of its length. At a brisk 97 minutes, this film feels much more energetic and goes by very quickly, especially compared to the original film’s 112-minute runtime. This film is novel in that sense, as most other 2021 comic book movies run well over that timeframe (“Shang-Chi” and “The Suicide Squad” are both 132 minutes, while “Black Widow” is 134 minutes).

This shorter scope and length is extremely refreshing for a big-budget comic book movie, as it works wonders in cutting what would be unimportant side plots and placing more focus on what really matters for this type of film: the comedy and the action. I would 100% be in favor of more comic book movies taking this shorter runtime approach.

I would also recommend this film to anyone who is a big fan of the MCU films, as this film, on top of feeling much more in line with that style of comedy, has an extremely interesting mid-credits scene that fans do not want to miss out on.

Overall, while I wasn’t impressed by Sony’s Spider-Man Universe with its first outing, “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” has pleasantly surprised me and leaves me excited and wanting more out of this universe of films.

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