Review: ‘Venom 2’ is an improvement but is still not great

“Venom: Let There Be Carnage” shows the post-pandemic return of dumb superhero schlock. While 2018’s Venom acted as a bland superhero origin story, lacking anything unique or special, the sequel shows a significant improvement in self-awareness and fun.

In a very interesting case of filmmakers reacting to critics, the people behind Venom 2 seem to have leaned into what people, including me, made fun of about the original.

In the original “Venom,” the central relationship between Eddie and Venom was joked about as some sort of gay love story, and in the sequel, that is very clearly the case. Eddie and Venom bicker like a couple, go through the stages of a breakup, and Venom quite literally says he is “out of the closet” at a rave.

While the original “Venom” couldn’t seem to decide between gritty anti-hero and fun buddy movie, the sequel leans into the romantic jokes about the original and quite literally becomes a rom-com about codependency.

While I admire how the film commits to the campy relationship, it effectively forgets about the source material in the process. None of the sinister, menacing, and dark characteristics that made him such a beloved Spider-Man villain are seen in either of these movies.

Other than these noticeable changes, the rest of “Venom 2” shares the same flaws as the original.

When the plot isn’t exploring Eddie and Venom’s relationship, it only really works as a dull and formulaic setup for a fight between Venom and Carnage, which comes in the form of an underwhelming and forgettable climax.

Carnage, a character I’d much rather see in a Spider-Man film, is a stale villain with uninspired motivations: he kills people because of childhood abuse and just wants his old killer girlfriend back.

The CGI is not really bad but never looks like anything real. It goes for a mysterious alien substance of sorts but leaves me looking at something that I never believe is actually in the room: CGI that only looks like CGI.

In conclusion, “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” is more fun than the original but still lacks anything special that would make it more than mediocre.

Rating: 2.5/5