The first Venom is notable for the fact that it divided the critics with the audience in a way that even the new Star Wars failed to do. Reviewers vied with one another to scold it for its lazy script, kindergarten jokes and weak special effects, but the audience, judging by estimates and reviews, was satisfied with everything. They saw Ruben Fleischer's film as a salute to the comic books of the early '0s - not so hollow, but lukewarm. And at the same time brought "Venom" to the box office of $ 800 million, so that the appearance of the sequel was only a matter of time. And it came, albeit a little later than planned.
So, a year has passed since the events of the first part. Saving the world did not bring Eddie Brock any particular dividends: he still lives in his bachelor pad, making ends meet and, moreover, is under investigation for blowing up the rocket fund "Life". Anne, by the way, has never returned to him, and she and Dr. Dan are actually getting married. He's also not happy living with Venom, as Brock keeps him on a chocolate-chicken diet and doesn't let him eat human brains, even if it's some sort of street urchin. In general, the symbiosis does not work - instead of a peaceful neighborhood, there are arguments and mutual insults. And Cletus Cassidy, a serial killer behind bars, takes an unhealthy interest in Eddie: he asks for interviews, calls him a friend, sends him creepy postcards. But it's nothing compared to what's coming. As a result of an extremely unfortunate set of circumstances, part of the alien symbiote enters Cassidy's system, and he becomes a deadly monster nicknamed Carnage.
If the first "Venom" was reminiscent of the superheroics of the 2000s, especially "Catwoman", then the second takes you straight to the dashing 90s - the era of camp, kitsch and madness. It begs to be lumped in with "Spun" and "Batman & Robin," and if you can enjoy them today, "Venom 2" is your movie.
The reviews don't lie: Brock and Venom's toxic bromance is indeed one of the film's central storylines
Reviews don't lie: Brock and Venom's toxic bromance is indeed one of the film's central storylines
First of all, the movie is much brighter than the first part. Literally. Ruben Fleischer's San Francisco was a jumble of gray-brown boxes, and the final fight took place in such poor lighting that one symbiote could hardly be distinguished from the other. Things are different in the sequel. The city is filled with neon lights and colorful locations like an abandoned orphanage, a gloomy asylum "Ravenscroft" or a luxurious Gothic cathedral. You'll get Gotham just a little bit more. In fact, everything is much juicier and more imaginative than before. It is only the third feature film for Andy Serkis as a director, but he doesn't shy away from good show-off tricks like the sudden animation insert. And his vast experience with motion capture is also telling - both Venom and his antagonist look and move much more naturally than in the first part. You could say here, as if they are more alive than the real actors, but it would be a blatant lie.
Tom Hardy again comes off like he did the last time. In the sequel, he co-wrote the screenplay and probably sharpened the story himself with his trademark buffoonery, which in the first "Venom" won over even those who spit from the film. But there, his charming gestures and altercations with painted symbiote sharp contrast to the overall drab and inarticulate tone of the picture. Now there is a full-fledged circus on the screen, and clowning is one of the main acts. And not only in the performance of Hardy.
What can be praised long and unconditionally is the way Carnage is performed.
Woody Harrelson is predictably wonderful as Carnage. He overplays it in a way he hasn't since Natural Born Killers, it seems, but as with Oliver Stone's acid satire, that's part of the idea. Cletus Cassidy is supposed to be this ultra-maniac, like the cartoon killer from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? He'll sing and dance and scream like a madman, and goggle his eyes out, making his every appearance onscreen outside the guise of a cartoon monster worth it.
The same cannot be said of Naomie Harris, who plays the maniac's lover. Mutant Squealer diligently portrays Harley under the Joker-Carnage, but due to her lack of charisma is rather annoying. Michelle Williams, on the other hand, gets a lot more interesting material than in the first part. From Eddie's love interest, her character Ann is reclassified as a sensible friend, who has a couple of relatively funny episodes.
In general, the fact that "Venom 2" doesn't even try to cover its absurdity and comicality is to its advantage. No more serious sci-fi, horror or superheroics - just unhinged thrash and carpet bombing with jokes. Yes, not all of them hit the target, but the quality is compensated by the quantity, so that at least a couple of times you will surely crack.