The first Venom film was an odd beast, combining parts of body horror with juvenile humor, some overtly bizarre moments, and efforts at a more strait-laced superhero narrative with romance, heroism, and all that entails.
The ultimate effect was a mixed bag – or, to put it another way, it felt like Venom and Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) was forced to share one vessel.
Venom didn’t work when it tried to be more serious and straight; when it leaned into its ridiculous, ludicrous qualities and allowed Hardy really let loose, the movie was more crazily enjoyable than it had any right to be.
Despite its strengths, it was evident that a sequel would need to address some issues.
Fortunately, it appears to be accomplishing just that. The sequel, directed by Andy Serkis, focuses significantly more on the symbiote’s odd couple connection with Eddie and the ridiculous humor and eerie horror components that worked so successfully in the previous film.
It definitely expands on these concepts: Eddie/Venom is given even more attention, and there’s a clear sense of them as two distinct personalities who also operate together.
Given that symbiote vs. symbiote fights are clearly a key part of Venom: Let There Be Carnage’s story, it’s critical to get this right – a lot of movies rely too heavily on CGI, but it’s clearly necessary here, so it’s encouraging to see that the Venom 2 trailer already demonstrates that it will work.
While not everything in the film appears to be perfect, it does a good job of enhancing the aspects that worked well in the original film and removing the ones that didn’t.
Similarly, the Venom 2 trailer’s scenes with Carnage (Woody Harrelson) and Shriek (Naomie Harris) suggest it won’t be holding back when it comes to its antagonists, but rather going all-out odd, large, gross, delving more into the horror genre, and unleashing pure evil.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage is a step forward in terms of tone and character and terms of CGI. The riot was terribly underused, and the VFX for the Marvel symbiote didn’t work: when Venom and Riot fought, they became indistinguishable, making the combat sequences incredibly chaotic.
The CGI may still be in the works because Venom 2 doesn’t come out until October, but it already looks better. Carnage looks much more stunning than Venom, even with the dark trailer (possibly to cover any flaws).
He’s clearly unique from Venom, and there’s a greater feeling of complexity and texture. Venom himself appears to be more defined and less rubbery, which is most likely due to Serkis’ own visual effects expertise.
Of course, the Sony sequel needs to get a lot more right in terms of character and story (there’s still not enough Michelle Williams, for example), but based on the two trailers so far, there’s a lot to be enthusiastic about.