"Surprisingly Moral and Redemptive, But Marred"
What You Need To Know:
VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE has strong character development, great direction, stunning visual effects, and engaging performances. It also has a strong moral worldview with implied and overt positive Christian content. The movie promotes marriage, light overcoming darkness and doing the right thing. Also, the climactic battle takes place in a church. MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution, however, because of lots of strong, intense action violence, some immoral and borderline behavior, and excessive foul language.
In VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE, Eddie Brock and Venom, the symbiotic alien creature living inside Eddie, must stop another Venom-like creature who’s infected a murderer who teams up with his loony girlfriend to exact revenge on the people who’ve harmed them. VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE has strong character development, great direction, stunning visual effects, with a strong moral worldview containing overt, positive Christian content, but there’s some pagan, immoral, selfish behavior, lots of strong and intense action violence, and slightly excessive foul language.
The movie begins in 1996. Two teenagers are locked away in a mental institution but have a romance with one another. The female, Frances Barrison, has a superpower to take in the noises around her and then emote them in a loud scream. Due to her abilities, a detective and another officer take her away to a different location, only for her to wound the detective with her shrieking.
Cut to the present day. The filmmakers assume viewers have seen VENOM (2018) and pick up where that movie finishes. Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) and the alien, Venom, are pals of sorts and often teeter between a parasitic and symbiotic friendship. Eddie’s journalism career is still floundering, until Detective Mulligan asks him to interview the infamous Cletus Kasady at the San Quentin Prison. Viewers will note that Cletus was the female teenager’s boyfriend in the opening sequence. During the interview with Eddie, Cletus spews out some poetry that leaves Eddie confused but Venom notices drawings all over his prison cell.
Back at Eddie’s apartment, Venom, who apparently has a photographic memory, draws a copy of something from Cletus’s cell wall. It’s a mountain range at a beach where his victims’ bodies are buried. Eddie and the police force recon the location and now it seems Eddie’s career looks promising. Regrettably, in Eddie’s personal life, his ex-fiancé, Ann, tells him and Venom she’s engaged to her boyfriend, Dr. Dan. Venom is just as sad about the news as Eddie.
Soon after, Eddie gets the opportunity to interview Cletus before he’s euthanized for his crimes. While there, Venom, who’s inside Eddie’s body, snaps at Cletus, and Cletus in return bites Eddie. The only problem is Eddie’s blood isn’t like other humans’ blood, because of Venom, and Cletus notices a difference. Later, as the execution team pumps Cletus full of lethal injections, a red Venom-like creature, soon to be called Carnage, emerges from his human form, killing all who are around him and leading Cletus to freedom.
Once the news of Cletus’s escape travels to Eddie, he pieces together that Cletus might go looking for his former flame, Frances Barrison. In the following scenes, that’s exactly what happens. Cletus breaks Frances out of her high-security institution, and the pair pick up exactly where they left off. As they celebrate their newfound freedom, Cletus, Frances and Carnage want to exact revenge on the people who’ve wounded them: Eddie, Detective Mulligan and Venom.
In the meantime, Eddie and Venom get into a fight which literally ends up separating Venom from Eddie. However, the two might need to come back together soon, especially if Ann’s in trouble.
VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE is worthy of its four stars. The actors do a standup job in their respective roles, and there’s an obvious flaw each character has that the script uses to push the narrative along. LET THERE BE CARNAGE has stunning visual effects and great direction by Andy Serkis, who acted in LORD OF THE RINGS and the recent PLANET OF THE APES movies and directed MOWGLI for Warner Bros. Pictures and Netflix.
VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE has a strong moral worldview with overt and implied positive Christian elements. The positive elements involve pro-marriage sentiments, friendship, and allegorical Christian elements of moving from darkness to light. The movie ends with a climactic scene set inside a church. Also, there’s a mention of angels, and an obvious respect is shown for a clergyman who characters assert shouldn’t be harmed. Like its predecessor movie, VENOM: LET THERE BE CARANGE displays a tension between good and evil, as did SPIDER-MAN 3, which also features the Venom character. That said, media-wise viewers should talk over the themes of good overcoming evil in the light of Bible verses like John 8:12, which says, “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.’”
The movie’s positive content is mitigated by some pagan, immoral elements. For example, some characters are frequently motivated by their own lusts for power and achieving their own selfish desires. The movie also contains two brief politically correct elements and dialogue from one villain who takes the biblically-derived phrase “an eye for an eye” out of context. Finally, LET THERE BE CARNAGE also has lots of strong, intense violence and excessive, gratuitous foul language.
So, all in all, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE.