‘Venom 2’ takes a look at what made its predecessor a success

In an age when most of them last around 135 minutes and the more forgiving ones last between 150 and 165 minutes just for the sake of spite, there is something almost refreshing about the mere 97 minute run time (counting credits and a half-credit cookie) granted to Sony. Venom following. The movie feels like a comic book superhero flick from a bygone era, simple, luscious, throwaway entertainment from before those things took over pop culture. This includes a runtime closer to X Men than X-Men: Days of Future Past. Alas, the running time of the film comes at a cost. Superhero properties can fall into the trap of having sequels where heroes and villains interact exclusively with each other rather than the outside world. Let there be carnage often plays like a one-man show.

Director Andy Serkis (including Mowgli is a fine The jungle Book flick) and writer Kelly Marcel (who achieved a miracle with Fifty shades of Grey) understand why people liked the first Venom. Venom 2 takes a look at the absurd, quasi-queer romantic elements of his couple Odd Couple, with Eddie (who wants a normal life) and his alien symbiote (who wants to eat people) bickering like an old married couple. Even without the element of surprise, Hardy is still a treat while Harrelson (as an imprisoned serial killer who ends up tasting some of Eddie’s tainted blood) is a great training partner. Harrelson plays Kletus as a cross between Mickey (from Born killers) and a parody of the “super villainous preacher” trope which has been in vogue since The black Knight otherwise Se7en.

At its best, its sprint from start to finish, along with a comparative restraint in terms of big-budget effects work (via a responsible budget of $ 110 million), will remind you when the mere idea of ​​seeing a movie Big budget on Venom or He-Man or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was a big deal. If you’ve just watched Tom Hardy act against a comically disembodied version of himself (there’s a brief glorious moment where Venom slips into Bane’s voice) while Woody Harrelson chews on so much scenery that he probably has to go. get your stomach pumping, you’ll get what you pay for. As Spider-man 2 emphasized the romantic melodrama, Venom 2 focuses on the interactions between Eddie and Venom. I just wanted more time with Venom and / or Carnage interacting with the supporting cast.

So many There will be carnage, who appears cut to the bone from a theory version of more or less 115 minutes, is Hardy acting with himself in his tiny apartment. He ends up having the same problem as the first (admittedly appreciated and successful) Borat. Sacha Baron Cohen and Ken Davitian making improv riffs themselves isn’t as funny as the real-world shtick with ordinary people reacting to chaos. Likewise, the highlights of this sequel, mostly via scenes already revealed in the trailers, feature some good sporting interactions between Eddie Brock and / or Venom and Michelle Williams (as Eddie’s ex-fiancée), Reid Scott (as Anne’s current beau, who is fun aware and slightly sympathetic to the eccentricities of her girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend) and even Peggy Lu (charming enough as the owner of convenience store Ms. Chen).

However, the focus on Eddie and Kletus means that (for example) Shriek (Naomie Harris) has little time to vamp. The film presents her from the start as Cassidy’s romantic McGuffin, but retains the contextual scenes necessary for a three-dimensional character. The fact that she has as much of an impact as she does is mainly due to the fact that Harris is a ridiculously good “do a lot with a little” actress. Much of the film almost forgets that it is a sequel, with Eddie having arbitrarily reverted to his “loser” status despite the success and confidence gained in Venom. There is entertainment value as (slight spoiler) Eddie and Venom go their separate ways and Venom goes solo, especially since the film seems oddly indifferent to the random civilians apparently killed by Venom in the process.

Venom 2 wants to parody or comically refer to the superhero sequel’s phrase “the hero gives up his powers just before a new villain emerges.” Think Superman ii, Spider-man 2 and a little / in a way Wonder Woman 1984. However, the film is cut too tight to do more than emulate these beats. What we get isn’t nothing, as the movie looks pretty good in IMAX, especially the gothic melodrama climax (no spoilers) with above ground battles and cowardly odes to King Kong. Harrelson is not allowed to disappear in a CGI creation, as Kletus remains in the foreground even after Carnage is born in the midst of a full-scale prison rampage. Even though it’s mostly limited to Hardy and Harrelson, the budget means the film has to be entertaining even if it’s just humans talking to each other.

As much as I enjoy a big budget blockbuster that doesn’t last 135 minutes for sports, Venom: let there be carnage is so concise in its story (relegating a major exposure to TV news) and so seemingly lacking in contextual fabric that it plays like the abridged version. I won’t pretend to know if there are more scenes involving more characters on the editing room floor, or if this was a “too soft and too long” movie that was turned into a movie. lean and fat free entertainment. My kids both enjoyed this one more than the first Venom, and by default me ​​too. It gives you more of what worked last time around, even though its claustrophobic plot leaves most of its supporting gaming cast waiting for their chance to shine.

However, if we’re being honest, we shouldn’t get into a movie like Venom: let there be carnage while waiting for new heights in cinematic art. In a world less specific to IP and dependent on marquee characters, Venom 2 would at least earn points for being high-end cinematic junk food amid more conventional studio programmers, blockbuster movies, and high-end blockbusters. Even with the cynical nature of its creation, due to Sony trying to mass its Spider-Man library into their own MCU, the two Venom movies are unpretentious and (so far) standalone entertainment. They have no goals beyond morning fun, strong effects and / or giving hammy actors a chance to make a full camp. In a world where social media is debating relentlessly whether Marvel or DC movies are “great movies,” it’s good that Venom is always allowed to be a trash can without excuse.

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