Wait! Let me try to explain first. All I ask is a minute or two to convince you that this article isn’t a joke or something written with my tongue in my cheek! I finally gave in on keeping up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe somewhere in-between the release of Infinity War and Endgame, choosing instead to watch the films from the series that interest me and skip the ones that don’t (oddly, a novel concept to me at the time!). The over-saturation of comic book films has finally gotten to me, and the number of similar universes that were equally exhausting (or worse) continues to grow now but was really coming together around 2019.
A year before that time, Venom came out, and my ears were admittedly pricked up once I heard about the great cast – Tom Hardy, Riz Ahmed and Michelle Williams? I’m there – but by the time the film came out I’d forgotten about it completely. And so, strangely, my interest in it suddenly returned around summer last year. One viewing later and I couldn’t believe the scorn of the majority of reviews for what I had understood as an extremely fast-paced, wonderfully silly action thriller that merges together the better comic aspects of the MCU (straying from the pop-culture reference gags and veering more into placing Eddie and Venom completely at odds, even dipping frequently into genuine situational comedy such as in the scene when the two are on a rooftop and Eddie admits that he is terrified of heights).
In a time when it feels like every couple of months a film comes out that is only focused on saving the entire world and takes that premise rather seriously, Venom is a complete breath of fresh air as it plays more like a left behind 1990s buddy comedy script adapted into a comic book film. And then, just as all seemed lost after the brutal critical reviews the first film received, the box office saved it and Venom: Let There Be Carnage was announced.
Of course, doubling down on the Venom aspect is all anybody could ever want. And casting Woody Harrelson in the Carnage role, one that will presumably allow him to tie the line between villainous and hilarious as he does so well, is only the icing on the cake. Throw in the trailer with that one shot of Naomi Harris screaming in a car that appears to be flying through space and there is no way on Earth that I can miss this film anymore. No. Way. On. Earth.
What happened to movies simply based upon having fun? Not strictly being a comedy, but just having a light tone and not being afraid to be a little goofy? It feels as if every film released in a franchise at this point feels the need to constantly up the stakes, throw additional characters at the screen, expand their runtimes by hours and weave endless amounts of side plots in the way – and this makes Venom something of a breath of fresh air as it has a disregard for the majority of the rules that have been laid out by the MCU’s successes.
With the sequel almost here (after all those delays), the excitement is bizarrely high. Silly lines and ridiculous CGI vs CGI battles may be the only things necessary to make this film work. Call that low expectations if you must, but there is something to the escapism of a 90-minute action comedy that I don’t think Villeneuve’s upcoming Dune can give.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage is set for a U.K. cinema release on October 15th. See the trailer below: