It seems like a lifetime ago that audiences packed into multiplexes, despite critical drubbing, to pump 2018’s Venom up to a … $856 million worldwide gross? Good lord, folks. To audiences, it didn’t seem to matter that Venom felt like a throwback to the pre-MCU, mid-2000s mold of superhero moviemaking, all loud noises, faux edginess and questionable CGI. The character of Venom was simply too popular to ignore, and to the credit of Ruben Fleischer’s film, this Venom at least looked the part, in comparison with the awful take on the character seen in Sam Raimi’s legendarily terrible Spider-Man 3. The script left plenty to be desired, and it’s hard to argue that leading man Tom Hardy brought much to the party, but at least this time the character indisputably looked like Venom.
That’s something, at least, and it’s something retained in the just-released first trailer for sequel Venom: Let There Be Carnage. This first sequel in the “Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters” (oh yeah, “SPUMC” has such a great ring to it) picks up where the last left off, with a returning Woody Harrelson playing psychotic serial killer Cletus Kasady, who becomes the host of another dangerous symbiote eventually known as Carnage. Like Venom itself, the Carnage symbiote is an alien creature that bonds with a human host, imbuing that person with incredible powers and a violent attitude. In the case of Carnage, however, the merger with Kasady (already a raving madman) creates a classic Spider-Man villain who is defined by his unpredictability and thirst for absolute destruction. One has to wonder how accurately that can really be depicted, as the film is retaining the PG-13 rating of the first Venom rather than embracing a hard “R.”
We get only a brief look at Carnage himself in the trailer below, but what is on display is a seemingly more jovial tone this time around, courtesy of screenwriter Kelly Marcel and director Andy Serkis. The inner monologue between Eddie Brock/Venom has taken on a more convivial, joking tone, with Hardy portraying both characters. The Venom voice in particular seems to be pushing in a more absurd direction, with Hardy channeling something like Alan Tudyk’s take on Clayface in the animated series Harley Quinn. It makes for an oddball pairing with a whimpering Woody Harrelson, before his transformation into Carnage.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage was originally intended for release back in Oct. of 2020, but will now arrive in theaters on Sept. 24, 2021. Check out the first full trailer below.