Linda Cook review: ‘Venom’ is serviceable; far from toxic

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“Venom: Let There Be Carnage.”

Although “Venom” isn’t one of my favorite Marvel creations, I found this serviceable sequel to be far from toxic.

“Venom: Let There Be Carnage” plays the antihero – an alien who inhabits a journalist and wants to eat people’s heads … and chocolate – for a lot of dark laughs.

San Francisco journalist Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) is back with the always-ravenous symbiote Venom in tow, mostly unseen.

At the very end of the original 2018 film, a serial killer named Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson) predicts carnage … only in a different way than audiences might have expected a few years back.

The imprisoned Kasady, who wants to reunite with his girlfriend Frances (Naomi Harris)  decides to break escape. He does so with the help of his own symbiote, Carnage.

Just as Godzilla must meet King Kong, we know the two aliens are bound to clash.

Before that, though, we see Venom and Eddie begin to work out their unusual living situation in an apartment often left ransacked by Venom, who absolutely will not harm the chickens Sonny and Cher. There’s a weird “Odd Couple” vibe going on here.

Venom is quite fond of Eddie’s ex (Michelle Williams,) who shows up to give Eddie some bad news.

There’s a lot of action, with an almost-obligatory CGI-monster battle that’s a fairly lengthy sequence despite the surprisingly brief running time of the film.

“Venom” is about what I expected. It’s not a bad movie, but it doesn’t stack up against the recent Marvel movies such as “Black Widow” and “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.” It doesn’t have the character development or intricate plot lines those movies do.

What it does have is a sort of announcement during the extra scene during the credits. A third film is a given, this time tied in with a popular Marvel superhero.

Venom definitely will return.

2 stars

Running time: One hour 37 minutes.

Rated: PG-13 for foul language and violence.

In theaters.

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