‘Venom: There will be slaughter’ is not perfect, but it shows that there are alternatives for superhero cinema
Although today we have it more or less assimilated, and the roller of memories has normalized it, do not lose perspective that ‘Venom’, released in 2018, was a very special extravaganza. Originally conceived as a spin-off of Raimi’s third Spider-Man film, it was stumbling through the studios, undergoing script rewrites and finally coming to light as a separate film from the arachnid, although practically from the first installment we know that the character will end up integrated with Sony’s Spider-verse.
In any case, this was a strange movie, a carousel of tones and styles that sometimes he would turn to the physical comedy that Tom Hardy performed flawlessly (The restaurant scene is still one of the most blissfully bizarre that Marvel character-based movies have given us.) And on other occasions it was posed as a dark and somewhat old-fashioned version (more ‘Spawn’ than Netflix’s ‘Daredevil’, to point out a couple of clear references) of the more urban superhero cinema.
‘Venom: There Will Be Carnage’ takes good note of what worked in that movie, whose successes were often dictated by chance and eccentricity, and enhances the clearest values. On the one hand, Tom Hardy’s physical comedy and his interaction, already openly typical of a classic humorous couple, with Venom. On the other, the macabre and brutal elements are forced, like greased springs that make this dark symbiote universe work.
The result is still patchy, but it is not without sparkle. For example, Andy Serkis – this time prolonging the work of a director specialized in digital effects movies, as he already demonstrated in his previous ‘Mowgli: The Legend of the Jungle’ – applies a structure and a rhythm to the film that dynamites superhero conventions. Absolutely continuous in the plot with the previous film (directly incomprehensible without taking that into account, in fact), it starts with jokes, detonates the character of Matanza, makes a couple of pathetic-romantic interludes and concludes with a very long climax that it is a real party.
Venom: there will be criticism
The result, of course, is not for all tastes, and that in its skeleton the film is a classic sequel with an enemy presentation: Eddie Brock, the failed journalist who shares a body with the feral alien symbiote Venom, goes to jail to interview the dangerous psychopath Cletus Kasady. But an incident in the prison causes part of the symbiote to enter the killer’s body, turning him into a ruthless killing machine.
From there, ‘Venom: There will be Carnage’ becomes something very similar to a movie possessed by the symbiote itself: a nonsense without much sense (the relationships between the characters are incomprehensible, especially the one that unites Brock and Kasidy), but it does provide a good amount of top-notch thrills. There are more violence, more humor, more delusional chases, and of course, more drool and more tentacles. As happened in the comics starring Matanza (although without reaching its horrifying violence), the massacre multiplies, and everything works with more diligence.
Much of the success is due to the better visual finish: the effects are still shameless and low-bodied CGI, but they are better executed, with frankly repulsive moments and with latex airs old-school in the most delirious sequences with Matanza. The photography of Robert Richardson (a regular contributor to the likes of Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese) lends the film a very comic feel to the film, throwing the stunned viewer into shots like the ones that abound in the magnificent climax brimming with blasphemous imagery starring Matanza.
If you didn’t like ‘Venom’, forget about ‘There will be Carnage’: there is more symbiote all the time, with more jokes and more lumps. But if you knew how to detect in that one a (sometimes involuntary) hooligan that made Marvel’s hype-exposition proposals fly through the air based on unpredictable outbursts, we have good news. Because ‘There will be Matanza’ could not be less like ‘Black Widow’.