Venom: Let There Be Carnage

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Emily Clark

Movie Review

Venom is bored.

Perhaps that seems unimportant. But considering Venom is a multi-toothed, head-eating, alien symbiote, it’s a pretty big deal. Because the more irritated Venom gets, the more likely he is to go off on a killing spree.

Eddie Brock, his human host, has had to lay low since the events of the first Venom flick. (Police find the fact that Eddie knew absolutely nothing about the massive body count that was following him around the city mighty convenient.) So that means no eating people, no killing people, no destruction, fighting or mayhem-causing of any kind!

Easier said than done when your natural diet consists of brains.

To make matters worse, Cletus Kasady (a serial killer whom Eddie helped put behind bars back when he was still a video journalist), wants to talk to Eddie. He wants his life story told—or so he claims.

The meeting doesn’t go well. And it leads to a series of events that allows Kasady to bite Eddie and get a taste of Venom’s blood.

That blood turns into a red symbiote similar to Venom—a sort of child—only it’s much, much more powerful. (And therefore, much, much more bloodthirsty.)

Kasady escapes prison with his new parasitic friend, named Carnage. And carnage is certainly what follows them.

Only Eddie and Venom can stop Kasady and Carnage. But by this time, Eddie and his symbiote alien have gone their separate ways after a bad fight. They’ll have to reconcile their differences quickly (again, easier said than done since one of them has practically redefined the term “hangry”) if they want to save themselves and the planet from Carnage.

Positive Elements

Venom and Eddie’s symbiotic relationship has its pros and cons. On one hand, Venom protects Eddie from physical harm. On the other, he’s often the reason Eddie is in danger in the first place. But Venom is also concerned about Eddie’s mental wellbeing.

When Anne, Eddie’s ex-fiancée, tells Eddie that she’s marrying someone else, Venom is just as heartbroken as his host. He offers to kill Anne’s future husband and tries to get them back together several times. Venom also helps Eddie restore his career (which was ruined by the previous film’s baddie).

But Eddie’s insistence that the pair must lay low really drags on Venom. He’s agreed to not eat people, but he needs something more. To quote another Marvel flick (and one that’s closely related to the Venom storyline): “With great power comes great responsibility.” Venom wants to protect the city, but Eddie fears that they’ll be carted off to Area 51 if anyone discovers what they are.

Eventually, Eddie and Venom realize that the only way their relationship works is when they work together as one unit instead of as two separate entities sharing a body. They have to align their goals and desires to be a good match. (And this alignment is what allows them to save Anne’s life.)

Another person of note, whom Paul Asay called the “most admirable character” in his review of the first Venom, is Dan, Anne’s doctor fiancé. Dan once again demonstrates that he’s just an all-around nice guy. He supports Anne as she tries to help Eddie, despite their shaky past, and he even helps in the fight against Carnage.

Spiritual Elements

Frances Barrison (Kasady’s long-lost love) and Kasady kidnap a priest and get married in an unconventional wedding ceremony inside a cathedral. (Frances wears black instead of white, and the couple opts to include murder as a wedding gift to each other.) Kasady also frequently calls her his “angel.” We also see carvings of crosses on the walls of Kasady’s prison cell.

Frances also has a genetic mutation which gives her the power of sonic screams. A man’s eyes mysteriously glow blue, and it appears that some unknown power has awakened within him.

Sexual Content

Frances and Kasady make out several times. An animated sketch shows a woman’s bare behind. When Venom possesses Anne, his alien form assumes a distinctly feminine silhouette.

Eddie later hugs Anne to transfer Venom back to him, and Venom tries to get them to kiss. Eddie walks into a women’s restroom, and a woman sitting in a stall (fully clothed but on her phone) peeks under when she hears his voice.

An effeminate man can be spotted in a nightclub where many people are dancing. Anne calls Venom “sexy” in an attempt to flatter him. We see a near-naked corpse on the ground.

Violent Content

“Let There Be Carnage” is an appropriate subtitle for this sequel.

In the first film, Venom and the other aliens used their ooey-gooey alien limbs to toss around bad guys and police officers alike. They battled each other in a jello-y, CGI mess. And they used their many teeth to bite off the heads of their victims. That’s all continued here.

Venom follows the rules to not eat humans, but that doesn’t mean he won’t rough up a few of them. And he certainly loves to threaten bodily harm. (He also begs Eddie for permission to eat the inmates at a prison.)

However, despite his agreement to not eat anyone, he still inadvertently kills several while body-jumping in a sort of human-host joyride. He and Eddie also give each other quite the bruising when they get into a fight. (Venom breaks Eddie’s nose and heals it just to break it again.)

Carnage, however, has made no such promises of “good” behavior. During his and Kasady’s prison escape, he kills and mutilates every guard (but oddly leaves the prisoners alone, possibly at Kasady’s behest). When breaking Frances out of prison later, he hangs the lead psychiatrist, and we see the woman’s legs kicking feebly in the background. He bites the head off the priest who weds Frances and Kasady. And sometimes he just kills for fun, throwing a truck into a river when it doesn’t drive fast enough.

We learn that Carnage can only survive if he kills his “father,” Venom. This ensuing battle shows the two shapeshifting symbiote stabbing each other with spike-like limbs. Several people (including their hosts) fall from great heights, and those who aren’t rescued by the aliens die.

Sounds of a certain frequency are fatal to the symbiotes. So, when Frances uses her screeching abilities, Carnage brutally beats her. And after several threats to rip her face off, he attempts to kill her, despite Kasady’s pleas.

But the aliens aren’t the only violent ones in this film. Kasady narrates his childhood (accompanied by several animated sketches). He nearly died when he was born, but he was resuscitated. He killed his grandmother by pushing her down the stairs. He killed his mom by throwing a hairdryer into the shower she was using. He was beaten by his mother, father, grandmother and the other children at the juvenile center he was sent to.

Of course, Kasady becomes a serial killer. And after the bodies of his victims are found, the state reinstates the death penalty for him. (We see the beginning of a lethal injection execution.)

As a teenager, Frances is roughly handled by guards during a prison transfer. She tries to escape, using her sonic scream to wreck the van carrying her (seemingly killing the cops riding up front and permanently damaging the eardrum of another). But she gets shot in the eye, and we later see her scarred face.

After Kasady sets Frances free, she vows revenge on the cop who shot her. (The man is abducted by Kasady and thrown in the trunk of a car.) She beats up him, shoves her thumb into his eye, wraps a chain around his neck, temporarily hangs him and finally kicks him off a building onto a partition below.

Crude or Profane Language

There is a single f-word, as well as 10 uses of the s-word. “A–,” “a–hole,” “b–ch,” “d–n,” “d–k,” “h—” and “p—y” are also heard. Venom uses Eddie’s hands to repeatedly type “dik” on the computer. He also makes a crude hand gesture toward Eddie. God’s name is abused three times.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Someone drinks wine.

Other Negative Elements

We learn that Kasady’s fascination with Eddie wasn’t because Eddie exposed him but rather because he related to Eddie. He felt they were both emotionally orphaned (Eddie’s own dad couldn’t look at his son after his wife died giving birth to him). And in a way, they are two sides of the same coin—scared little boys whom nobody cared about or came to save.

Venom is narcissistic, telling Eddie that before he came along, Eddie was a loser. Venom says he’s the only special thing about Eddie.

There are instances of blackmail, lying, stealing and breaking out of prison. Someone vomits. Kasady licks up spider guts after squashing it.


Honestly, I question why we needed this second Venom film (or even the first for that matter). There are way better superhero movies out there, with better messages and better fight scenes.

The carnage we witness onscreen has no payoff. At times, it’s actually boring, which begs the question: Why was there so much murder and fighting? Because between the pile up of bodies and bad language, there’s not even a meaningful story here.

Venom, while providing a comical inner dialogue, is awful. He fully believes that he is the single greatest thing to happen in Eddie’s life. And even though he appreciates that Eddie is letting him ride along rent-free, he makes every social situation awkward, puts Eddie in physical danger and threatens to eat every living creature that comes in Eddie’s path.

A post-credits cut scene indicates how Venom (who is also a villain in the Tobey Maguire Spiderman movies) will join the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the upcoming Spiderman: No Way Home. Which means the problems we’ve seen here will eventually find a bigger audience in the MCU.

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Emily Clark

Emily studied film and writing when she was in college. And when she isn’t being way too competitive while playing board games, she enjoys food, sleep, and geeking out with her fiancé indulging in their “nerdoms,” which is the collective fan cultures of everything they love, such as Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate and Lord of the Rings.