I was having one of those days… the kind that sorta deserves to be capped off with a screening of a film called Venom: Let There Be Carnage. So off I went– to a masked, limited-capacity screening of a sequel to a movie that I found pleasantly surprising in 2018. Does Venom 2 live up to its predecessor? No. Is it worth venturing into a theater to see? Probably not. Is it worth seeing if you simply must catch every movie featuring a Marvel comic book character as soon as it hits the big screen? Sure. You know who you are.

Tom Hardy reprises his role as Eddie Brock, a down on his luck journalist who– when we last saw him– was learning to co-exist and battle evil with Venom – the symbiotic alien entity inhabiting Brock’s body. The “pair” make for one wild and wacky vigilante. This time around, they must contend with a spin-off symbiote called Carnage who is hosted by a serial killer Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson).

I won’t attempt to get into the convoluted plot so as not to inadvertently spill any spoilers. Just know that the action sequences can get really LOUD. And there is a fair amount of prolonged violence and carnage, which really is not my thing. And then– there are moments where the movie can be quite entertaining.

As with the first Venom movie, the comic relief and the heart lies in the relationship and internal banter between Eddie and his tentacled, wise-ass, head-chomping sidekick; and Michelle Williams once again holds her own as Eddie’s ex-fiance lawyer; and Woody Harrelson can be creepy fun to watch even if his cartoonish villain of a character is a bit of a jumbled mess.

Overall, Venom: Let There Be Carnage is a so-so, serviceable sequel that loses some of its charm because the “surprise element” of the first Venom has been sucked out of the equation. There is a teaser mid-credits that provides a hint to where Venom may or may not fit into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Note: If you plan to stay to the bitter end of the credits expecting another bonus scene, you will leave bitterly disappointed. Cause there aint one.

The PG-13 rated Venom: Let There Be Carnage opens exclusively in theaters on October 1. It is directed by Andy Serkis and runs about 90 minutes.

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