When The A.V. Club reviewed Venom back in 2018, we gave it a C, noting that it was “watchable in its silliness as it toggles between Hardy’s mush-mouthed befuddlement... and the impossible grotesquerie of the CG Venom.” Not exactly a rave. We weren’t alone, though: The movie garnered a paltry 30 percent from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, though 81 percent of fans gave it a positive review.
Tom Hardy is well-aware of all those critics, and their complaints are something he chose to lean into for the second Venom movie, Venom: Let There Be Carnage. As he told us in a recent video interview, Carnage was shaped by listening to the fans rather than the media. “We watched with bated breath to see how [Venom] was taken by the audiences and critics,” Hardy says. “Critics didn’t really like it so much, but the audience did respond. We looked at what they were responding to and also what we were passionate about and some of the things that they love are the things that we knew we wanted in the first one.”
Specifically, Hardy says, the fans and creators were interested in exploring more of the relationship between Eddie Brock and Venom. “We want to go on a journey with them and see whether they develop,” says Hardy. “It’s not just ‘man attacked by a parasite.’ He thinks he has a tropical disease and he’s dying and he’s not. He’s just got a really friendly big alien that lives in him, but who is also really dangerous. So what happens next?” Hardy likens the relationship between the two to The Odd Couple’s Oscar and Felix, saying they’re like “flatmates that are not getting on well at all. They have very different ideas and opinions about the world and are rubbing against each other in a very small apartment. Two lovers argue, a married couple argues... our two roommates are kind of asexual characters that are forced to live with one another.”