Venom: Let There Be Carnage First Reviews: Embrace the Goofiness and You'll Have a Blast

Critics say the film doubles down on the silliness of the first and lets star Tom Hardy go wild in the best way, but it's not going to appeal to everyone.

by | September 30, 2021 | Comments

When the original Venom was released in 2018, the Marvel Comics adaptation received mostly negative reviews. But it was a box office hit anyway, and fans ate it up thanks to the gonzo lead performance by Tom Hardy. The sequel, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, ups the ante with a new villain played by Woody Harrelson, yet the first reviews of the movie indicate that audiences would be just fine with it being focused on the relationship between Hardy’s Eddie Brock and his titular alien parasite. For some, though, the deadly Carnage is still a bonus.

Here’s what critics are saying about Venom: Let There Be Carnage:

How does the sequel compare to the original?

“If you were a big fan of Venom, then you’ll be blown away by this follow-up.” – Josh Wilding,

“A grander spectacle than the mediocre 2018 original, offering monster-movie mayhem with a welcome sense of humor about its own ludicrousness.” – Tim Grierson, Screen International

Venom: Let There Be Carnage improves on everything from the first movie, leaning into its own absurdity.” – Francesca Rivera, IGN Movies

“This time, Venom: Let There Be Carnage is in on the joke.” – Hanna Lodge, The Beat

Let There Be Carnage is merely a modest improvement upon its predecessor.” – Sean Mulvihill, FanboyNation

“While Let There Be Carnage is marginally better than the original… this vehicle runs out of gas halfway through the yawner of a climax.” – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times

Venom: Let There Be Carnage

Ryan Fujitani

What if you didn’t enjoy the first Venom?

“If you’re of the opinion that poor Eddie needed redemption after his 2018 solo outing, then you’re going to walk away much happier this time.” – Josh Wilding,

“For those people who thought the first film was too immature and silly, the second one is not for you.” – Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

“If you are not a fan of the Eddie/Venom relationship, you won’t be thrilled with this second go-around.” – Allison Rose, FlickDirect

“Those who weren’t fans of the 2018 movie can skip this one.” – Molly Freeman, Screen Rant

Will it meet comics fans’ expecations?

Venom: Let There Be Carnage is a bold and brisk superhero story, unlike any other mainstream Hollywood film in the genre… We need more movies like it.” – William Bibbiani, The Wrap

“[It’s] the best non-MCU Marvel Comics adaptation to come our way in a very, very long time.” – Josh Wilding,

“These are B-level superhero movies… Not everything has to be The Avengers.’” – Chris Bumbray, JoBlo

“The superhero stuff is the least interesting part of the movie because it’s just two CGI things bouncing into each other.’” – Matt Goldberg, Collider

Venom: Let There Be Carnage is at its best — and its most unique, amusing, and fresh — when it’s tossing out…expectations and letting its freak flag fly.’” – Kate Erbland, IndieWire

Venom: Let There Be Carnage

(Photo by ©Sony Pictures)

Does it deliver on the dysfunctional Eddie/Venom relationship?

“Makes you wish Sony would go ahead and just forget the superhero stuff entirely and just have Eddie and Venom in a remake of The Odd Couple.” – Matt Goldberg, Collider

“Kelly Marcel and Hardy’s screenplay excels [in] the exploration of the ‘post-honeymoon’ period as the two adapt to their life together.” – Joe Lipsett, Queer.Horror.Movies

“If Venom 2 could only be about Eddie Brock and his alien hijacker battling for supremacy within one fragile human shell, then we’d have a rollickingly weird sci-fi domestic drama.” – Brad Gullickson, Film School Rejects

“Serkis allows this sequel to work as a breakup film…their domestic squabble is one of the better shot showdowns.” – Robert Daniels, Los Angeles Times

“In the first film, they bonded over being losers, but the sequel is perhaps a little too concerned with creating conflict, and then doesn’t properly resolve it.” – Molly Freeman, Screen Rant

How is Tom Hardy’s performance?

“Hardy has perhaps more fun than anyone has in the last dozen or so MCU outings, and that infectious glee is enough to keep the entire thing moving right along.” – Kate Erbland, IndieWire

“Hardy’s performance makes Venom work in a way he hasn’t before in live-action…clearly, he cares about the character.” – Sheraz Farooqi, Comic Book Debate

“Those who relished the actor splashing in a lobster tank and cracking into crustaceans in the first movie are deeply rewarded by the deplorable depths the sequel’s director, Andy Serkis, plunges Hardy.” – Brad Gullickson, Film School Rejects

“The scene where he sketches at a rapid rate should be taught in acting classes.” – Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

Venom: Let There Be Carnage

(Photo by Venom: Let There Be Carnage)

How are the villains?

“They are antagonists with style and showmanship, something lacking in many of Marvel’s movies, reveling in the disaster they leave in their wake.” – Francesca Rivera, IGN Movies

“Although Tom Hardy may be the star, in some ways he’s outshone by Woody Harrelson and Naomie Harris, playing delightfully villainous lovers out to destroy our hero.” – Tim Grierson, Screen International

Does the movie do justice to the Carnage character?

“Carnage is an unstoppable beast of a character who proves himself one of the most formidable comic book movie villains of all time.” – Josh Wilding,

“Carnage, as a villain, gets short-shifted. We don’t get much of Harrelson in Carnage mode.” – Chris Bumbray, JoBlo

“Instead of being the gorgeous crimson red of the comics, Carnage is almost a pale, fleshy color that does nothing to pop against the greyish background.” – Matt Goldberg, Collider

“As depicted here, [it’s] just another confusing CGI mess that cannot differentiate itself from Riz Ahmed’s previous CGI mess in the original.” – Brad Gullickson, Film School Rejects

Venom: Let There Be Carnage

(Photo by Jay Maidment/©Sony Pictures)

How is Harrelson’s performance in the role?

“Harrelson imbues Kasady with a level of sincerity and childishness I wouldn’t expect from a movie like this one, particularly in his love for Shriek.” – Hannah Lodge, The Beat

“While the script leaves the character woefully underwritten, Harrelson’s infectious screen presence ensures that the film never lulls into boredom.” – Sean Mulvihill, FanboyNation

“Harrelson seems like dream casting for the scummiest of scummy characters. But he mostly lets his bad wig lead his stride. And as his character is gobbled by Carnage, so is his performance.” – Brad Gullickson, Film School Rejects

What about Naomie Harris as Shriek?

“She quickly stole my heart… One of the highlights of the entire movie for sure.” – Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

“Poorly written… She’s relegated to being a dispiriting, regressive archetype as an unhinged, abused Woman of Color, battered by society, but also by her true love.” – Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

Does Michelle Williams have enough to do this time?

“Michelle Williams continues to turn in phenomenally funny work as Eddie’s ex-fiancee Anne.” – Kate Erbland, IndieWire

“The wonderful Michelle Williams [looks] like there’s a sign saying ‘Contractual Obligation’ hanging over her head.” – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times

“Williams is playing straight, fulfilling her contractual obligation, and Hardy is acting in seven different films in the span of one sentence.” – Brad Gullickson, Film School Rejects

“Both supporting female characters are done a dirty disservice, treated as vestigial parts whose inclusion is solely to aid male arcs.” – Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

Venom: Let There Be Carnage

(Photo by ©Sony Pictures)

Is it funny?

“No other big budget superhero franchise has gone so totally whole-hog on genuine comedy…It is all very, very funny, but it’s also very, very silly.” – Kate Erbland, IndieWire

“The banter between Eddie and Venom is somehow even more funny than it was in the previous film.” – Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

“Actually funny! The jokes don’t fall flat this time.” – Josh Wilding,

“it doesn’t know how to regulate the silliness, so it all becomes a murky barrage of jokes and goo.” – Esther Zuckerman, Thrillist

Does it veer into horror territory at all?

“Andy Serkis directs the film with the obvious aim to channel the madcap horror comedy of Sam Raimi.” – Sean Mulvihill, FanboyNation

“The boundaries of that PG-13 rating are also pushed to the limit… Carnage is a scary character.” – Josh Wilding,

Andy Serkis on the set of Venom: Let There Be Carnage

(Photo by Jay Maidment/©Sony Pictures)

Was Andy Serkis the right director for the job?

“This really is a bizarre hybrid of monster and murder movie, but Serkis efficiently balances various tones, visual spectacles, and humorous performances to surprisingly make it work.” – Francesca Rivera, IGN Movies

“Serkis is a perfect fit for blockbuster filmmaking, and we’d hope that the door is open to returning to this franchise.” – Josh Wilding,

“Andy Serkis is a good director and there are shades of his brilliance in the film, but more often than not, Venom: Let There Be Carnage feels producer-driven.” – Sheraz Farooqi, Comic Book Debate

How are the movie’s visuals?

“You can actually see what’s happening more clearly than you could in the original film…the action is vivid.” – Christy Lemire,

“The special effects are well done, making Venom and Carnage extremely detailed and as realistic as a symbiotic amoeba could possibly look.” – Allison Rose, FlickDirect

“It’s a more visually appealing comic book film but that only applies to scenes that aren’t slathered in green screen and CGI.” – Sean Mulvihill, FanboyNation

Venom: Let There Be Carnage has all the indications of a slap-dash cash grab. The set-pieces look sloppy, the visual effects are all over the place.” – Peter Debruge, Variety

“The visuals in Let There Be Carnage are as inky as Venom. It’s nearly impossible to follow any of the fight sequences.” – Robert Daniels, Los Angeles Times

Venom: Let There Be Carnage

(Photo by ©Sony Pictures)

Are the fight scenes between Venom and Carnage worth the wait?

“Some of the greatest moments in this film are when Carnage and Venom are going at it. Talk about epic! The fights look visually stunning.” – Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

“Epic, action-packed…delivers the big screen clash between Venom and Carnage you’ve been waiting your whole life for.” – Josh Wilding,

“You’re here to watch Venom and Carnage fight in a VFX battle. It is here that the film indeed delivers.” – Sheraz Farooqi, Comic Book Debate

“Their fight scenes are above average – if you like that kind of action.” – Allison Rose, FlickDirect

“Too much of Venom: Let There Be Carnage plays like a child bashing action figures together more than true mano-a-mano showdowns that stoke suspense and excitement.” – Don Shanahan, Every Movie Has a Lesson

Is the movie too short?

Venom: Let There Be Carnage seems to have been cut to within an inch of its life, leaving phantom traces of scenes that were either scrapped or never shot in the first place.” – Peter Debruge, Variety

Venom: Let There Be Carnage might have benefited from an extra 20 minutes, especially as things wrap up in a way that might not be wholly satisfying to some fans.” – Josh Wilding,

Venom: Let There Be Carnage

(Photo by ©Sony Pictures)

Does Let There Be Carnage leave us wanting more Venom?

“It’s the themes of home, love, and companionship that make Serkis’ sequel another reason to want more Venom movies, and quickly.” – Robert Daniels, Los Angeles Times

“The dynamic duo’s best years (and movies) might still be ahead of them.” – Kate Erbland, IndieWire

“Venom as a series is working through its growing pains, but it looks like it’s uphill from here.” – Francesca Rivera, IGN Movies

“Perhaps one day someone will get a Venom movie exactly right.” – Molly Freeman, Screen Rant

Venom: Let There Be Carnage is in theaters on October 1, 2021.

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