Thursday, September 30, 2021

'Venom': Noise and a lot more noise

 The second Venom movie has arrived. I guess that means someone, perhaps many someones, must have been waiting for it. If you're not a Marvel enthusiast, it probably helps to know that Venom began in the Spider-Man comics as an alien creature with a penchant for invading a human host and emerging as an unleashed helping of id and aggression. Personally, I've never much cared about the complex inter-related genealogy of the Marvel universe and that undoubtedly colors my approach to Venom: Let There Be Carnage, a comic-book movie directed by Andy Serkis and starring Tom HardyHardy plays Eddie Brock, a San Francisco reporter whose body provides Venom with a host. Michelle Williams portrays the fiancee that kicked Eddie to the curb, and Woody Harrelson appears as Cletus Kasady, a criminal whose body becomes the host for a red "symbiotic'' beast called Carnage  -- or something like that. If you're a devotee, the movie may make more sense than it does to the uninitiated. Perhaps you won't even care whether it's coherent or not. There's mild amusement in watching Eddie argue with a creature that sprouts tentacles out of the poor man's back and occasionally emerges to stick its toothy alien face into Eddie's. Venom also does a pretty good job of wrecking Eddie's apartment, an act of colossal inconsideration in a city where rents tend to soar. Namoi Harris portrays Shriek, Kasady's love interest from a childhood in which they both were abused. Her weapon: the ability to scream so loud it can puncture eardrums. Serkis pours on the special effects and tries hard to live up tohe movie's subtitle, Let There Be Carnage. Effects dominate story: The real carnage, however, is inflicted on the screenplay. Yeah, there's noise, a few chuckles, dizzying action, and Hardy -- but one question: Where the hell is the movie to go with all that stuff?

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