Within hours of Sony teasing its upcoming ‘Venom’ sequel, posts for the first trailer for ‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ blew by 1.5 million views on YouTube.
‘Venom’ was a surprise box office hit in 2018, landing at No. 7 among the year’s top grossers, with $856 million worldwide despite a generally negative reaction from critics: only 29 per cent positive on Rotten Tomatoes. (But what do they know? The audience score stands at 81 per cent.)
Monday’s ‘Let There Be Carnage’ trailer leans into the comic aspects of the horror-ish Venom character, an alien symbiote living in a precarious balance with its human host, Eddie Brock. The symbiote began as a formidable antagonist for Spider-Man in the Marvel comics before slowly becoming an anti-hero over the years; that process is significantly accelerated in the first film.
Both Venom and Brock are played by Oscar nominee Tom Hardy, who also has story credit and is a producer on the sequel. Woody Harrelson plays Venom’s arch enemy, Carnage (a rival alien symbiote), after appearing briefly in the first Venom movie as Cletus Kasady, Carnage’s human host. Naomie Harris plays Shriek, Carnage’s love interest in the comics.
The new trailer is short on plot details but seems to show convicted serial killer Kasady not only surviving execution by lethal injection, but emerging as Venom’s least favorite symbiote. We also see Harris’ character going through some things in her cell, apparently displaying Shriek’s sonic powers.
At 2 1/2 minutes, most of the sneak preview depicts the uneasy truce at which Eddie has arrived with Venom: The symbiote’s tentacles throwing breakfast together — literally — as its monstrous voice sings George and Ira Gershwin’s ‘Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off’.
A sign in their apartment establishes the apparently lone rule (‘NO EATING PEOPLE’), while Eddie struggles with Venom to enforce that. There’s also at least one Easter egg: A character reads an edition of the Daily Bugle newspaper that matches the format of its appearance in earlier ‘Spider-Man’ movies directed by Sam Raimi.
‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ is the third directorial effort by Andy Serkis, whom filmgoers know as one of cinema’s premiere performance-capture actors (Gollum in Peter Jackson’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ films, the title ape in ‘King Kong’ and Caesar, the protagonist of the recent ‘Planet of the Apes’ trilogy).
‘Let There Be Carnage’ is the next entry in the Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters (SPUMC) as part of the studio’s apparent love-hate relationship with Marvel Entertainment. Sony retains the rights to perhaps the most famous Marvel character of all, Spider-Man, and has struck tenuous deals with Marvel Studios to co-produce films integrating the hero into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The resulting movies so far (‘Captain America: Civil War’, ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’, ‘Avengers: Infinity War’, ‘Avengers: Endgame’ and ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’) have grossed more than $8 billion worldwide, with two more entries to come under the current agreement.
The first of those two, ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’, is in production now and may make the Multiverse introduced in Sony’s Oscar-winning smash hit ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ canon for the MCU.
Announced cast members include many actors from previous ‘Spider-Man’ movies, opening the door for crossovers with the MCU with characters from the burgeoning ‘Venom’ franchise.
Those films include the upcoming ‘Morbius’ (with Jared Leto as the vampiric villain) and the animated ‘Spider-Verse’ franchise (with its sequel slated for a 2022 release).
Many other films are listed as “in development” for SPUMC, including a possible crossover film uniting a number of ‘Spider’ villains known in the comics as ‘the Sinister Six’.
‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ is slated for September 24, “only in movie theaters.”