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Hall reviews 'Let There Be Carnage'
Justin Hall
Why are we getting a sequel to Venom, one of the most underwhelming comic book movies ever made? Because its predecessor made over $850 million worldwide. That's why.

I thought the first Venom suffered from a story that felt rushed and underdeveloped and the CGI felt cheesy at best. While this sequel does somewhat improve on the first movie's shortcomings, it offers its own problems as well.

Tom Hardy returns as Eddie Brock, the investigate journalist and his alter ego, the alien symbiote, Venom. This time around, they fight a lot like a married couple and their banter works much more than the original. That's probably one of the saving graces.

Brock has been asked to interview convicted killer Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson) whose about to be executed. Brock looks at this as a golden opportunity to revitalize his career, but little does he realize, a residue of his symbiote transfers onto Kasady and during his execution by lethal injection, it gives him powers that are equal to or more dangerous than Venom himself. He then renames himself Carnage.

Kasady escapes from prison and goes on the run looking for his long lost love (Naomie Harris) who has her unique powers of sonic screaming. Meanwhile Brock's love life isn't much better as his ex-fiancee (Michelle Williams) is engaged to another guy (Reid Scott). This plot thread does bring out some funny exchanges, but it ultimately gets lost in the shuffle of all the action.

Let There Be Carnage was directed by Andy Serkis and he has a much more confident take than Rubin Fleschier did with the first one. It has a much more visually assured and also more economically fluid in its pacing.

However, it's still sorta hard to care about this movie. The story is only marginally engaging, the characters are only developed in a way that suits the special effects and the actions sequences serve only as a distraction instead of becoming scenes without any real suspense or menace. Sometimes they're a classic case of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

There's a fascinating contradiction with the Venom franchise: It gets better with each installment, but I wonder when the great movie in this series will be made. Or if it will period.

Grade: C+

(Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some language, disturbing material and suggestive references.)

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