Stay Home (and Watch Movies) to Avoid the Heat of Summer

Summer 2021 New Movie Preview

It's been a while since we've been able to do one of these "Upcoming Movies" articles, and that's all because of COVID-19. I didn't even bother doing one of these articles for Spring of this year because we were all so deep into lock down that even the studios weren't announcing new movies (aside from the occasional release like Cruella). Lock down is ending for a lot of areas, though, and the studios are starting to ramp up their film slates once more. So it seems like we're back to the old new movie grind.

I do want to make it clear, though, that while we're doing trailer coverage for all the new stuff coming out (or in the case of one film, a movie that was just released), I still don't think people should go to the theater. Even if you are inoculated that doesn't mean you can't still get the virus at all, and with new variants coming out that seem to evade some, or all, of the effectiveness of the vaccines (like the Delta variant going around in California right now), everyone needs to stay vigilant and use caution.

Still, many of these movies are going to come out either day-and-date on streaming platforms alongside their theatrical releases, or at the very least soon after, so we can still discuss these films even as we wait to watch them from the comfort of our homes:

June, 2021

F9: The Fast Saga
Came Out: June 25, 2021

This film just came out last week and, were it not for COVID-19, we would have featured it in the Spring edition of this article. I do still feel like we need to cover it here, though, as this film is being pitched as the movie that will "revive the theater industry". It's already made $70 Mil in its opening weekend which is huge for the current state of the Box Office... but it really kind of meager for a The Fast and the FuriousStarted as a film about undercover policing in the illegal street-racing community, this series has grown to encompass a number of different genres and become one of the most bankable franchises in the world. film -- those are mega-movies that pull in $300 or $00 Mil in a weekend but we're at the point where $70 is a huge haul. Revitalizing the film industry? We'll maybe put a pin in that.

Is this movie the panacea the industry needed? Well, it's a big name from a big franchise, so certainly is was guaranteed to put (some) butts in (some) seats. I don't think the film had to be any good at all as it's a Fast and Furious movie. Obviously I'll watch it when it comes out, but this one doesn't look like a return to form for the franchise after the back-to-back middling entries of The Fate of the Furious and Hobbs & Shaw. If anything, trailer one and trailer two for F9: The Fast Saga make this seem like another ho-hum entry in the franchise.

Don't get me wrong, the action looks fairly solid -- lots of big stunts, a few of which (but clearly not all of them) were performed with practical effects. But both trailers make it painfully clear that the actual plot of the film is lacking. While I know there are some people out there that would rail about "caring about plot in a Fast and Furious film," the best entries in the franchise have married solid plotting with crazy action (see: Fast Five and Furious 7. This film seems amazing shallow in that regard (and the reviews for the movie seem to confirm that).

The big reveal of the trailers is that the villain this time is Dom's brother, Jacob, and that's a retcon my brain is having problems accepting. We've learned all about Dom's past, all the way back in The Fast and the Furious. Dom's (and Mia's) father died while racing and Dom freaked out and beat the shit out of the other racer that led to the death. After, once he got out of juvie, Mia and Dom only had each other and they'd relied on each other ever since. No mention of another brother (especially a younger one), no discussion about how their brother ran off to become an international spy. It just doesn't work.

But, as I said, I'll see it. I've seen all the rest and, right now, this is the biggest movie of the year so as soon as F9 hits keyboards home streaming I'll watch it and see if the film comes up with a way to insert a brother that never existed before. And can bring back Han convincingly (that also happens). And can sell a story that seems under-baked... I just doubt it.

July, 2021

Black Widow
Comes Out: July 9, 2021

We've been waiting for this film for a while now. Bearing in mind that the movie was originally supposed to come out in May of last year (right around when Coronavirus hit) and then was delayed, and delayed, and delayed, we haven't had an Marvel Cinematic UniverseWhen it first began in 2008 with a little film called Iron Man no one suspected the empire that would follow. Superhero movies in the past, especially those not featuring either Batman or Superman, were usually terrible. And yet, Iron Man would lead to a long series of successful films, launching the most successful cinema brand in history: the Marvel Cinematic Universe. film since Spider-man: Far From Home two years ago. Considering that the MCU was cranking out three entries a year there for a while, that's a huge gap between films.

Not that we've lacked for MCU content since. Disney had already been working on MCU tie-in shows even before COVID-19 hit, and just this year we've already seen releases of WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, so the need has been sated at least somewhat. The question now is whether the MCU will have the same impact in theaters that it did before not only COVID-19 but also the end of the first big saga of the series with Avengers: Endgame.

Frankly we needed a Black WidowNatalia Romanova was one one of the greatest and most effective Russian spies, a deadly killer who could blend in anywhere. Then she was turned and became one of SHIELD's most effective, and trusted, agents. film since the character was first introduced all the way back in Iron Man 2; Natasha is the most heavily featured character in the series, a fan-favorite that, for some reason, never got her own movie. Until now... after the character has already died in Endgame. And this will be the last outing for this version of the Black Widow as Scarlett Johanson has said she's done with the role. It's great that we're finally getting a film with her, it just would have been nice for her to get more than just this.

Still, from the looks of it -- as per the full-length teaser trailer, as well as trailer one and trailer two -- this looks like a grand finale for the character, with her going back to her past, exploring what made her who she is, and tearing down the framework of her old life. Plus lots of killer action, start to finish.

Maybe this does launch a new franchise for the Black Widow with newly introduced "sister" to Nat, Florence Pugh's Yelena, taking over the title and role. If so, it is nice to see the name live on. It's a little bittersweet to lose Scar-Jo, but it's good that Marvel and Disney finally realized that the Black Widow needed her own film (and maybe series). We'll see if the film lives up to the trailers when it comes out on Disney+ this weekend (oh, and also out in theaters, I guess).

Space Jam: A New Legacy
Comes Out: July 16, 2021

I am not one of the Space Jam elite. That movie, released when I was 15, came at a time when I didn't immediately have to see anything and everything that was a cartoon. I understood the very 1990s appeal of the movie -- Michael Jordan plus Loony Tunes equals profit -- but it wasn't a movie I saw back in the day and, year after year, I've managed to avoid watching it (or caring about it at all). I understand it's a seminal film for people even just a couple of years younger than myself, but this wasn't ever my (to pardon the pun) jam.

I sort of understand why Warner Bros. has decided to make a sequel even if Michael Jordan (one half of that magic mix) is no longer a part of the franchise. When the original film came out, Michael Jordan was huge and he could appear in anything, including cartoons, to big Box Office. Magic Mike isn't here now, but all the Gen X and Gen Y kids that watched the original film now have children of their own so the studio is hoping they can capitalize on that. "You have kids, so let's watch another basketball player go into the Toon Verse to save his own kid. Plus, Toons!"

If the trailers -- trailer one and trailer two -- are any indication, this is a purely predator, capitalistic film without much in the way of substance. LeBron James has to go into the toon world after evil toon leader Al-g Rhythm (Don Cheadle) steals his son (not his actual son but child actor Cedric Joe) away to the toon verse. Now, of course, LeBron has to play basketball with the Toon Squad (Bugs Bunny and all the rest) to save his kid or all of the toon verse, and his son, will be deleted. It's the previous film, done again, but now with a father/son angle.

There are a few things that might have made this film watchable. LeBron actually seems like he can act, which is great, and the CGI graphics of the film look really slick. But the film seems entirely devoid of humor. Like, if this film was pitched as an anti-comedy sequel to the original Space Jam, I'd believe it. Nothing in these trailers even made me smile. That, coupled with a cast playing LeBron's family that is clearly not his family (such as Sonequa Martin-Green as Kamiyah, his wife) gives this a level or artifice I just can't invest in.

Maybe there are some of the Space Jam hopefuls that are looking forward to this film. For my money, though, the only Jam I need to see is Teen Titans GO! See Space Jam.

Escape Room: Tournament of Champions
Comes Out: July 16, 2021

I saw the original Escape Room when it came out in theaters three years ago and, well, I was not impressed. It was a slickly produced film that tucked itself in as a hybrid of Cube and Final Destination, and while it had some interesting set pieces, it lacked any kind of real substance. Cookie cutter characters going through the motions of a too elaborate for words game of death. It just didn't quite work for me.

It did, however, make enough money ($155 Mil on a tiny $9 Mil budget) to warrant a sequel. That film comes out soon and, well, it sure does look like the same movie all over again. I guess that's great if you wanted to see more silly traps and overly elaborate puzzle boxes. I'm just not sure if that's enough substance on its own to warrant going to see the sequel.

The film more or less picks up soon after the events of the first film, with hero Zoey (Taylor Russell) and Ben (Logan Miller) looking to take down the shadowy organization that puts on the Escape Room death trap games and stop them from killing anyone else. But, of course, a seemingly inconsequential subway ride becomes the first room in a new Escape Room sequence, and now Zoey and Ben, along with other "winners" of past death trap games, are stuck in a "Tournament of Champions" (name-checked in the trailer) to see if they can escape. Again.

I think my big issue with the first film, and why I'm struggling to care here, is that the characters won't have a chance to gain any depth. Like the Saw films, characters in this series are set up specifically so they can provide fodder for the death traps. You can't get attached to someone if you know they're going to die, and everyone in this film is likely going to die (other that probably final girl Zoey, I assume). I want to get attached to characters so their deaths mean something, but you have to lose a character, one per room, and knowing that going in drains the suspense from the films.

Plus, frankly, a lot of the surprises are already spoiled by the one and only trailer, such as who is going to make it to the mid-point and what many of the elaborate traps will be. No suspense and no surprises? Count me out.

Comes Out: July 23, 2021

M. Night Shyamalan was, at one time, considered one of the top directors of the modern era. That time has long since passed, mind you, with a hell of a lot of awful films over the years -- Lady in the Water, The Happening, The Last Airbender, and Glass, just to name a few. His name has long since been tarnished by his awful movies; every time he comes out with a pretty decent one, like Split, it then feels like Lucy with the football as you know another terrible film is going to come along soon after (the aforementioned Glass, for example). The director doesn't have much of a track record at this point to speak of, and most of what he releases are one-twist films that drag on way too long.

That would appear to be the case with his latest "opus", Old, a film about a couple of families that head to a beach -- a beach they were specifically warned to stay away from -- for a lovely outing of sand and sun. But while they're at the beach, they start finding relics of previous families that visited, bodies of the dead floating in (and then decomposing before their eyes), and soon even the families themselves start to age at an alarming rate. What is wrong with the beach and why is everyone getting (name drop) old?

Really, the question of the film should be, "why should I care?". M. Night always has the same tricks, always feels the need to drag the story out for a while before throwing in some ludicrous twist that you could predict a mile away (like I did when I went to see The Village and figured out the twist from a single promotional still). This time, what, the sand is magically polluted and everyone is in some kind of time flux? Will it all be revealed that it was actually a dream inside the head of Bob Newhart? I struggle to give a shit.

The real twist, time and again, is that Hollywood keeps throwing money at this man. Whatever he has cooked up for this bottle episode of families trapped on a time-beach, I just can't muster the energy to go to a theater (or pay money on a streaming service) to bother.

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins
Comes Out: July 23, 2021

Let's be clear: G.I. Joe is deeply silly. All of the kids cartoons from the 1980s are deeply silly, of course -- I'm not even going to try and argue otherwise about the Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesOriginally dreamed up as a parody of Marvel's Daredevil comics (going so far as to basically reproduce to opening shots of that comic's hero gaining his powers), the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles not only launched a sudden boom of anthropomorphic fighting animal comics but have, themselves, starred in multiple comics series, TV shows, and movies. -- but most of those, when they're brought to the big screen, preserve the silliness of the source material (sometimes even making it more kid-friendly in the process). G.I. Joe has seen three live-action attempts at bringing the franchise to the big screen -- 2009's G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, sequel G.I. Joe: Retaliation, and new "origin story" Snake Eyes -- and each time the films have tried to play the sillier elements of the franchise straight. I don't know if that can ever work.

Bear in mind that I actually kind of liked 2009's Rise of Cobra -- it was bad, but in a very watchable way -- but I don't know that you can really bring G.I. Joe, with its diverse cast of characters and silly laser weapons, to the big screen and actually make it work. It seems more likely crank out Mystery Science Theater 3000First aired on the independent TV network KTMA, Mystery Science Theater 3000 grew in popularity when it moved to Comedy Central. Spoofing bad movies, the gang on the show watch the flicks and make jokes about them, entertaining its audience with the same kind of shtick many movies watchers provided on their own (just usually not as funny as the MST3K guys could provide). It became an indelible part of the entertainment landscape from there, and lives on today on Netflix. fodder that actual watchable films. And yet Hollywood is trying again.

This time, instead of focusing on the Joes, we're getting an origin story for hero Joe Team member Snake Eyes. This one looks like a slick, Asian-action inspired film with all the lighting and effects you'd expect from a John Wick film. I think this might be a better approach to a G.I. Joe film than trying to adapt the whole team -- Snake Eyes is a ninja-like character who would lend himself well to Hong Kong-inspired stunts -- but I also don't know how well this character can carry a film, especially not once the sillier elements of the franchise (like COBRA) get introduced.

Call me cautious on this one. The teaser trailer and follow-up trailer don't look bad, they just don't look too great either. Shallow and light on plot, but with some decent action. This film very well could suck and still be the best live-action adaptation the series had faced; that's how low the bar is currently set. I guess we'll see when the movie hits the cheap seats (or is free on streaming).

Jungle Cruise
Comes Out: July 30, 2021

I struggle to consider Disney's next theme park ride-turned-blockbuster "nerd worthy fare". But I did cover all the Pirates of the Caribbean films for the site, so I guess we pot-committed at this point. And I think it's apt to mention those Johnny Depp-starring films because, at it's core, Jungle Cruise feels like a watered down version of that swashbuckling series. Same magical type of McGuffin, same undead warriors brought back to fight the heroes motif, same everything, really, just set on the Amazon River instead of across the whole of Caribbean Same idea, different scene.

So what does Jungle Cruise bring that's different or new to the proceedings? I'm not really sure. Aside from different stars -- Dwayne "Rock Me Amadeus" Johnson and Emily "I'm Too Good For This" Blunt -- this really does feel like recycled fare. If trailer one and trailer two are to be believed, this is just another fantasy adventure of heroes and villains chasing after the magical whatsit while CGI action, and mildly comedic bon mots, are thrown around. it's a very safe, studio film coming from Disney, designed to do nothing more than let Disney attract people to their park and get butts on their aging "Jungle Cruise" ride.

Will that make for a bad movie? Well, while we talk about the Pirates films, no one ever remembers the other ride-turned-film: Haunted Mansion, which was awful. Or what about The Country Bears? What I;m saying is that the chance for a good film in this genre (weird as this genre is) would be quite low. Maybe the stars can sell it, or maybe there's something that the trailers aren't giving us that will be in the movie to make it good. Right now, though, this looks like a hard pass, at least until it's free for watching on Disney+.

The Green Knight
Comes Out: July 30, 2021

We go from blockbusters to art-house fare with The Green Knight, an adaptation of the Arthurian legend "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight". Hollywood has tried, and generally failed (see: 2017's King Arthur: Legend of the Sword as just one example) to adapt King Arthur's legends to the big screen, but this may be the first time I'm genuinely interested in the results. This film looks weird and arty, but at seems like it could be really, really good.

This film doesn't go in for the bombast (it's arty), but it does seem like it finds the character of Gawain and takes him on a wondrous, and sometimes fantastic, journey across the Kingdom of the Brittans. As the tale goes (and depicted in the teaser trailer and actual trailer), a mysterious tree-link entity, the Green Knight, comes to Arthur's court looking for a brave knight to fight him, one-on-one, and strike him down. Gawain steps up, and succeeds, beheading the knight, but then the knight stands up, picks up his head, and ominously says, "in one year's time" before leaving. A year goes by and Gawain has to go to the Green Knight so the knight can return the favor (i.e., Gawain, you about to get your head chopped off).

Where the film diverges is in depicting Gawain's full journey, and they is where the director, David Lowery, gets to let loose and explore the world he's crafted, and it looks like a very lovingly depicted world. Although it's sure to have its fantasy touched (there are giants walking through the mists at one point) this film also seems to have a lot of grounding in its world with little of the anachronistic "modern" touches so many Arthurian films have felt the need to add in to "update" the heroes for our world. I like that this feels classic, and old, and proper. It has me intrigued.

I will likely wait for reviews to come out before I see it (unless I stumble on this film late at night on, like, HBO Max), but this is another film I'm cautiously optimistic about. If nothing else, maybe this will finally break King Arthur's awful streak at the Box Office.

August, 2021

The Suicide Squad
Comes Out: August 6, 2021

The 2016 Suicide Squad is not a good movie. It was the DC Extended UniverseStarted as DC Comics' answer to the MCU, the early films in the franchise stumbled out of the gates, often mired in grim-dark storytelling and the rushed need to get this franchise started. Eventually, though, the films began to even out, becoming better as they went along. Still, this franchise has a long way to go before it's true completion for Marvel's universe. attempt at doing... well, honestly, I'm exactly certain what the wanted from that movie. The closest I can think is they wanted something along the line's of Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy -- a team of criminals forced to work together to save the world -- but the end results was just bad. It had moments of inspiration (and it's a bit of a guilty pleasure movie for me, I will admit), but it's not a good film by any stretch. It's one of the best films of the DCEU just by grace of the fact that so many films in that series have sucked.

DC ComicsOne of the two biggest comic publishing companies in the world (and, depending on what big events are going on, the number one company), DC Comics is the home of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and just about every big superhero introduced in the 1930s and 1940s. has realized how poorly they botched the launch of the DCEU, though, and over time they've tried to rectify it. Lighter films (that aren't nearly as grim-dark), less emphasis on trying to tie the films together, and a renewed focus on the characters that worked. One of those characters was Margot Robbie's Harley QuinnCreated to serve as "Joker's Girlfriend" as well as his primary minion for Batman: The Animated Series, Harley Quinn quickly grew to be one of the most popular characters of that show, eventually finding a solid life beyond the cartoon in comics, movies, and media., first introduced in that Suicide Squad film, and DC has wanted to continue using that fan-favorite version of the character. She got her own film (more or less) with Birds of Prey, and now Harley gets to return once more in a sort-of-sequel, mostly standalone new attempt with the supervillain-turned-hero team, 2021's The Suicide Squad.

What was even smarter was DC's move to capitalize on Disney's stupidity, snatching up James Gunn when he was a free agent so he could make them the kind of Suicide Squad film they wanted: comedic, over-the-top, and very violent. I'm not sure hoe much of that was Gunn's decision when he came in and how much DC wanted, but this film -- as glimpsed in the red band trailer, the rebellion trailer, the final trailer -- feels like Gunn reveling in being able to make his kind of superhero film on a big budget while freed from the family friendly shackles of Disney's MCU. It's mad-cap, violent, and extra bloody, which seems just about right for this team.

Will it be a good movie, though? Well, the fact that Gunn -- who has shepherded two solid Guardians films through the system, along with other great movies like 2006's Slither -- I tend to think this could be a winner. The trailers don't really give much of an impression of the full story (villains come together, save Harley, go fight Starro), but that's not necessarily a bad thing; I'm glad they're keeping the full movie a bit of a secret. As far as tone, thought, these trailers nail exactly what fans want to see. it looks great.

Honestly, this is the first movie we've covered here that I'm genuinely excited to see. As soon as it comes to HBO Max, I'll have this on and revel in all its weird, violent wonder.

Free Guy
Comes Out: August 13, 2021

Disney has had a lot of movies they've wanted to shove out the door but, due to COVID, they simply couldn't. We've had a number of them on this list already and the hits just keep coming with Free Guy, a movie that looks like Fox's (now Disney's) answer to WB's The Lego Movie. In fact, watching the trailers for the film -- trailer one, trailer two, and trailer three -- I feel like the pitch for this movie was literally, "let's do The Lego Movie, but set it in a Grand Theft Auto-style world. That's Free Guy.

In the film we have a normal dude who's super happy to live in "paradise" (Chris Pratt's Emmet Brickowski in The Lego Movie, Ryan Reynolds's Guy here), but when he comes across a cool girl fighting for the fate of civilization, he has his eyes opened and decides to join the Resistance. Seriously, the two films seem interchangeable, except for one key difference: Ryan Reynolds. He's the star of this film and, for all intents and purposes, the entirety of the film rests on his shoulders, sink or swim.

Can it work? Due to its setting and characters, Free Guy won't be able to play to the same strengths as The Lego Movie. There won't be that tactile, lived in feel that Lego had, nor will it be able to pull at the heart strings of parents and children like WB's film could. But as a fun, stupid action-comedy maybe it has what it takes. The trailers make Reynolds seem game enough, and he does get plenty of funny lines. It's possible this isn't a complete train wreck.

Even if I was going to theaters I doubt I'd see this one at the Box Office. But once it's free on Disney+ (or wherever) I'll likely give it a watch. Something tells me this is a cheap, Saturday afternoon time-killer, no matter how dressed up it looks or expensive it was to make.

Comes Out: August 27, 2021

I am a huge fan of the original Candyman from 1992. I think it's one of the most effective horror films of that period, powered by great performances from Virginia Madsen and Tony Todd. A "Bloody Mary" style tale, it's the kind of film that makes you say, "there is no way I'm saying some dude's name five times in a mirror." A real learning lesson there. The 1990s had their fair share of decent horror films, but Candyman is one of those that I go back to, time and again.

Hearing that Universal was making a new Candyman with producer Jordan Peele attached had me all kinds of giddy. It was like if they announced they were making a new Blacula film (oh, that's right, MGM is totally making a new Blacula). I wouldn't even care if the film was good, I'd just show up because it's a new Candyman (and, yes, I've seen the sequel to the original film, and yes, it does suck, and yes I still go back and watch it every once in a while).

Thankfully, from what we can see from the trailers -- trailer one and trailer two -- the film actually looks to be pretty good. It very much finds the dark and gory tone of the original film, while also updating the story of the films for a new era. Now instead of dealing with low-income projects, the film is about gentrification. That makes sense and certainly gives the film a new angle to explore. Plus, it really does just look wickedly evil, which I'm all about.

This is another of those films I'll try and watch as soon as I can. It's got everything I want: gores, scares, and the Candyman. Just take my money now, Universal. I'll find a way to stream it as soon as I can.

September, 2021

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Comes Out: September 3, 2021

The Ten Rings has been a part of the MCU since the first first film in the franchise, Iron Man. That film promised a reveal of the Mandarin (at least, if you knew your comic book history) and we eventually got one... sort of, with the reveal of the off-brand version in Iron Man 3. That white-washing of the character didn't sit well with a lot of fans and many of them asked for a proper version of the Mandarin for the MCU. He was a classic villain, so couldn't Marvel do him justice?

The re-branding of the Mandarin, at the time, made a certain amount of sense from Marvel's perspective, I'm sure. Take a character that was horribly racist in the comics over the decades, change him substantially, and avoid all the fuss. But once the fans spoke out, and loudly enough, marvel promised they'd eventually change things up. And they have, now, with the upcoming release of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, a full with a predominantly Asian cast and a proper look at the Mandarin and the characters connected to the villain.

Shang-Chi, played here by Simu Liu, is the son of Wenwu, aka the Mandarin (played by Tony Leung), the powerful leader of the Ten Rings (evil organization). He also, it should be noted, has the Ten Rings (magical McGuffin) that give him extraordinary power. Wenwu raised Shang-Chi to be his successor, but the lad decided he didn't want to follow in his father's footsteps and went off to live his own, quiet life. Now, Wenwu wants to drag his son back into the organization, and Shang-Chi has to decide if he wants to follow his father or stand against him.

It's honestly not a bad looking film, and the action looks on point. It does seem to have the usual Marvel style to it -- standard character beats, hero who has to go up against a villain with the same powers as his own -- but it'll be interesting to see if there's enough divergence with the focus on the Asian cast to give it a new and fresh vibe from everything we've seen before from the MCU. This isn't a character that most people in the audience will know, so it's basically sold entirely on the strength of the Marvel name as well as two decent trailers (trailer one and trailer two). The hope is that this is a good origin story, like Iron Man, and not something ho-hum, like Doctor Strange.

Obviously, Shang-Chi will be a hit no matter what -- it's Marvel -- I'm just not sure the trailers paint a film that's going to be in the same league as the best of the MCU. It doesn't quite have that spark, from what we can see so far... but maybe the trailers aren't selling it well enough.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Comes Out: September 3, 2021

Sony's Venom is not a good movie. I'd argue it's a lot like the 2016 Suicide Squad: bad, but watchable at times. A bit of a guilty pleasure, to be sure, but not something where I'd sit there going, "man, I really want a sequel." But Venom (like Suicide Squad) made a lot of money at the Box Office. Hell, fans of the character actually really liked what the Venom film had on offer, so clearly Sony hit some kind of gold with the film.

The thing is, I'm not sure that this sequel, Let There be Carnage, really has an answer to the question of, "what do we need from a Venom sequel." Carnage is one of Venom's great villains, sure, and sooner or later a sequel of some kind was going to have to deal with the character. And I'm sure Tom Hardy is only going to make so many movies before he wants to move on from the role, so Carnage was going to have to show up sooner, rather than later. My issue is that Carnage is a symbiote related to Venom, just like previous movie's villain Riot was a symbiote related to villain. On it's face, what is the big difference between these two such that it rates doing yet another symbiote-v-symbiote fight right after the previous film gave us the same story.

The first trailer doesn't really gives us a good explanation there. Hell, we don't really know much about the story at all, outside of Woody Harrelson's Cletus Kasady (a serial killer who gets the symbiote Carnage) breaking out of prison and then coming after Eddie so they can fight or something. The trailer is very light on details. Maybe Venom-style carnage is enough, and maybe fans are itching for more of the same as we saw in the first film. I don't know.

I guess we'll wait and see what the reviews say on this one. Since it's Sony, and they very clearly say in the trailer, "only in theaters," it'll be a little while before Venom 2: Carnage Part Deux is available to watch on streaming. I doubt it will be worth the wait, but maybe it will be another guilty pleasure to throw on the pile.

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