Movie Review| Venom: Let There Be Carnage, or, Two Dumbasses in Love
Updated: Dec 29, 2021
Venom: Let There Be Carnage is a terrible movie. Its action sequences are over-CGI'd and under choreographed, the dialogue borders on juvenile at times, and the plot is so thin you can use it as cling wrap.
It is terrible, and I LOVE it.
[spoilers below if you mind that sort of thing]
I am a fan of the first movie as well, and for much the same reason: Tom Hardy. He brought such a chaotic, reckless energy to the role and imbued the characters with heart. Eddie Brock may be a loser, but he believes in what he does and he tries to be good, even when his entire world has fallen apart around him and he has a literal inner demon - sorry, sorry, Symbiote - to contend with. His portrayal of Eddie makes the man instantly relatable. When he voices the Symbiote, you can hear the bravado and vulnerability beneath the distortion effects. The Symbiote needs Eddie and knows it; they try to prove that they are more than a good match for their human partner, that they can make Eddie better and stronger, not realizing that what Eddie wants is just a peaceful life with the Symbiote.
The relationship he builds with the Symbiote is recognizable too. You know, the couple who are always up to some drama over the pettiest shit, who bicker and fight all day long, but when push comes to shove, they will stand united against anything that tries to harm either of them or, gods forbid, try to separate them. At one point, the Symbiote, having left Eddie, gets sentimental and wishes that Eddie was with them after a wonderfully queer-coded rave scene, where the Symbiote declares that they are 'out of the Eddie closet'. Is their relationship healthy? Hell no. Venom - the blend of Eddie and the Symbiote - is amoral; they want to eat brains, and not stupid little chicken brains either. They are dangerously codependent, to the detriment of others. In one extended sequence, the Symbiote fights with Eddie in a classic romcom "take your things and get out!" fight, and attaches themself to alternate hosts. Unfortunately, they are not compatible with anyone or anything other than Eddie Brock, which means they are stuck with that one loser human. Eddie on his part has no privacy of any sort left, and his body is often jerked about like a puppet by the Symbiote; the Symbiote takes credit for the achievements they accomplish together, and hates being told what to do even though Eddie is doing it to protect them (mainly the Symbiote). Some of their exchanges border on the abusive, such as the way the Symbiote physically attacks Eddie, or when Eddie ignores the Symbiote's stated wants. Yet it is clear that they not only belong together, they like each other. In fact, in the movie, it's explicitly stated that what they feel for each other is love.
Is it a relationship I want in my life? No. But what is fiction good for if not to explore darker impulses in a safe space? Who among us have not imagined a partner who is attuned to our every need and desire? Which person - especially queer people - has not pictured having a partner powerful enough to protect us from those who persecute us, be they ruffian, paid lackey, or government agent?
Venom: Let There Be Carnage is for people who feel like they are losers, that they don't fit in, that they are monsters - and the movie tells you that even if you are all of that, you are deserving of love.
(Oh, and there is Cletus-as-Carnage in there wrecking shit up for his lady love Shriek, plus Anne and boyfriend Dan have a few scenes too.)