Venom: Let There Be Carnage was one of the many films delayed by the pandemic last year, but it will finally be coming out this year—currently scheduled for September 24—and to that end, we have a trailer to ogle. It’s fine! Venom was an accidental hit in 2018, the movie is a goddamned mess but there’s something so charmingly weird about Tom Hardy’s performance as Eddie Brock and his alien possessor, Venom, that it found an enthusiastic fanbase. Carnage kind of looks like they’re trying to capture that chaotic lightning bottle again, which we all know never works, but once we’re out of the first breakfast scene in the trailer, I like everything else. Andy Serkis takes over directing duties from Ruben Fleischer, and the main difference I clock in a two and a half minute trailer is that the symbiotes are WAY easier to see this time around. The finale fight of Venom was pure CGI garbage. This looks a lot cleaner and clearer.
While I don’t think they’ll be able to recapture the particular brand of bonkers that is Venom (2018), there are some things in this trailer that look promising for Carnage to find its own identity, and, hopefully, be a better movie in the process. One is casting Woody Harrelson as serial killer turned symbiote, Cletus Kasady/Carnage. Harrelson is great at these sorts of gonzo chaos performances, and it looks like he’s having fun here (he’s basically Nicolas Cage, if Cage hadn’t gotten into financial trouble and had to take on literally every crap straight-to-video movie that came his way). Watching Harrelson and Hardy bounce off each other ought to be fun, plus, Naomie Harris is along as the symbiote, Shriek. We see a little bit of her here, but not enough to get a sense of how she’ll fit into the Venom v. Carnage throw down.
Another cute moment is when Kasady says, “But the rescuer never comes,” and smashes a spider. Fun Spider-Man shout out! While Jared Leto’s Morbius trailer showed signs that Sony and Marvel are reconciling their two universes, in which Spider-Man exists in the MCU but none of his spin-off characters appear to, Venom was kept specifically OUT of the MCU. There is nothing in this trailer to suggest Venom and the symbiotes are now suddenly part of the MCU, but the spider moment is cute and fun, and maybe when the multiverse stuff starts coming to fruition, and Tom Holland’s Spider-Man can meet Tom Hardy’s Venom. For now, though, it looks like Venom has to stick to his own backyard.