While Marvel Studios is certainly enjoying an exciting run with releases in theaters and on Disney+ in 2021, Sony Pictures has its own stream of success to look forward to as well before the year comes to an end. Most of the hype is rightfully coming from Spider-Man: No Way Home, although Sony's Spider-Man Universe has its own new entry in the upcoming Venom: Let There Be Carnage.
After the original film from 2018 wowed at the box office, Tom Hardy's next outing looks to take the symbiotic craziness to new levels this time around. Woody Harrelson will be playing the film's terrifying new villain, and with MCU veteran Andy Serkis serving as the director, fans are looking forward to seeing what Sony has in store.
Trailers have teased a wild story with more intense action and drama than its predecessor, and Sony appears confident in the sequel's ability to put butts in movie theater seats after the success of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings from Marvel Studios.
Now, the first reactions to Venom's follow-up effort are teasing what exactly to expect in-universe.
Critics' First Reactions to Sony's Venom Sequel
Ahead of the October 1 release of Sony's Venom: Let There Be Carnage, critics shared their first spoiler-free reactions to Tom Hardy's second Venom solo movie.
Nerdist Vice President Dan Casey described the film as "a wild-ass movie" and warned fans to stick around until the credits finish rolling:
"Venom: Let There Be Carnage is a wild-ass movie of the highest order. Ultraviolent rom com that is delightfully self aware and weird. Tom Hardy gives 200%. Whatever you do, don’t miss the post-credits."
ComicBook's Jamie Jirak admitted that Let There Be Carnage was somewhat "flat" and only had one moment that was truly "memorable:"
"I'm a fan of the first #Venom, so I had high hopes for #VenomLetThereBeCarnage. The sequel is easier to follow, but it's flat. It needs more of the Eddie/Venom chaos and charm we all love. It's not bad, but there's nothing memorable aside from ONE thing."
ScreenRant's Molly Freeman felt that the sequel was somewhat overstuffed and fast-paced but still includes some "really entertaining and charming moments" between Eddie Brock and Venom:
"#VenomLetThereBeCarnage has some really entertaining and charming moments—particularly between Eddie & #Venom which is still a super fun dynamic—but the movie gets a bit lost in the #Carnage of it all. There's too many ideas and the movie just barrels through the mess to the end."
Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes' Erik Davis praised Tom Hardy's performance throughout the plot and spoke of the film "(leaning) into its darkly hilarious tone" all the way through:
"Tom Hardy is fantastic in #Venom2 - a film that gladly & madly leans into its darkly hilarious tone & then some. Definite NATURAL BORN KILLERS vibes from our villains, but it’s ultimately Hardy who steals every scene w/ a one-of-a-kind performance that’s SO much fun to watch."
Davis continued in a second Tweet, celebrating the way Hardy "truly (mastered) this role" as Eddie Brock while also teasing the potential future of a "multiverse crossover" down the road:
"The thing I liked most about #VenomLetThereBeCarnage is watching Hardy truly master this role in a way that makes all the multiverse crossover potential so much more exciting. I think he gets it & when it works, it is very entertaining. Can’t wait to see his Venom continue on."
Mike Ryan of Uproxx singled out the relationship between Hardy's Eddie Brock and Venom for making the sequel enjoyable:
"VENOM LET THERE BE CARNAGE: My gosh these movies are SO stupid and I can’t help how much I enjoy them. I could watch 10 more movies of Eddie and Venom calling each other losers. There’s a scene where Eddie and Venom are laying out on the beach together and they watch the sun set."
"I hope Eddie and Venom never meet Spider-Man. I don’t care! I just want to watch Eddie and Venom bicker."
Gizmodo's Germain Lussier admitted that he enjoyed the sequel, but "instantly forgot" about it:
"When it comes to Venom: Let There Be Carnage, it’s simple. Did you like the first one? You’ll like this one. Not like the first one? That’s how you’ll feel here. It’s the bigger faster version of the first movie which I enjoyed and instantly forgot about. Fun. Frivolous."
Next Best Picture's Matt Neglia shared that Let There Be Carnage "embraces the absurd buddy romance" from the first film:
"VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE embraces the absurd buddy romance from the first film even more. Andy Serkis keeps the action & humor moving quickly even if it doesn’t always land. Tom Hardy’s gonzo performance is still a highlight while Woody Harrelson relishes every sadistic moment."
Collider's Coy Jandreau praised how Let There Be Carnage director Andy Serkis showcased "truly intense and visceral Symbiote battles" in the sequel:
"#Venom #LetThereBeCarnage is absolute insanity Carnage looks better than I could have dreamed as a kid growing up reading those comics Tom Hardy is having the time of his life and Andy Serkis flexes those MoCap & CGI muscles to give us truly intense & visceral Symbiote battles!"
Venom 2: Fun, but Disappointing?
With Venom having come in as an unexpected darling amongst fans, viewers were excited to find out if Let There Be Carnage would live up to the anticipation that's built over the past year.
Although parts of the sequel appear to work well, particularly with Tom Hardy's mastery of the role, critics also didn't hold back on the story, which appears to be underwhelming at times and forgettable.
One potential point of concern from the reviews is the fact that none of them mentioned Woody Harrelson's performance as Carnage, one of the most iconic symbiotes from Marvel Comics. After only seeing a couple of minutes of action in the post-credits scene from Venom, there are still questions asking how much he actually impacts the story in a leading role.
Overall, it appears that Sony's next inclusion in its Spider-Man franchise will be an entertaining ride, although perhaps not the most memorable outing before the post-credits scene is revealed. However, the studio is still optimistic about Let There Be Carnage's financial outlook as fans begin coming back to theaters more fervently.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage will release in theaters on October 1, 2021.