Movie review: Venom: Let There Be Carnage
If you were underwhelmed by Venom's first outing, you might find some comfort in this superhero sequel staying consistent - it is no worse than the 2018 version.
What is a real kick in the symbiotes is that I had such high hopes for Andy Serkis taking over as director.
The first film felt pushed out for the sake of it. Sadly, there is not much to distinguish Venom: Let There Be Carnage - opening in cinemas here tomorrow - from it in look, direction or tone.
There are some bright moments, though, such as a standout animated sequence and the first appearance of Carnage (Woody Harrelson) - a bigger, badder scarlet version of Venom with daddy issues.
Fairly bloodless given the PG13 rating, for a brief moment, the film is injected with a sense of fear and menace. And then it disappears as the creature suddenly develops the goofy power to create a whirlwind.
While I have always had time for Tom Hardy's dramatic roles, comedy still is not his strong point and the jokes rarely land.
His vocal choices do not help. A skittish collection of grunts and grizzle as Eddie Brock, and all growls and gargled lines as Venom.
It will sound odd, but Hardy does have chemistry with himself in both roles. But with the barrage of noise, it is exhausting to watch.
Likewise, the climactic action scene where the Venom and Carnage fight morphs into a baffling sludge of incoherent shapes - the first film had the same issue.
Even at a tight 97 minutes, it is clear that the comic book dream of having the iconic symbiotes face off was the goal - they just were not sure how to fill the time getting there.
I do not know if a lot has been cut from this, but parts feel like a story told through montage as we lurch from scene to scene.
Almost like a throwback to the old versions of comic book movies where there was a belief that you just needed a collection of scenes without a proper narrative.
You could even argue the entire film is an excuse to get to the game-changing mid-credits scene.
Some will find Venom: Let There Be Carnage a fun diversion.
The potential is there, and hopefully, they can decide on a direction by the inevitable third film.