Review / ‘Venom’ (M) 100% overcast – stars there but not visible!

THE cinema’s universe contains little that hasn’t been tried before. Most of its basic themes work well enough to stand repetition. But anything can happen when corporate bosses tell their creative satraps: “We need to give them something they haven’t yet had.”

This sci-fi-horror movie might have been able to collect a star or two had it been more careful to respect the audience at which its producers, Marvel Comics, seems to have been aiming.

That’s how a survivor from a space freighter crash in Borneo (which a subtitle says is in Malaysia) ends up in a sealed container in the research lab operated by evil squillionaire Drake (Riz Ahmed) from where it accidentally escapes to expand and set forth on its mission – to take over planet Earth.

Who can stop this terrible blob of ooze able to morph into whatever shape it pleases, capable of enveloping and controlling the actions of its victims and freely disobeying every natural law of motion as it rampages through the city to the accompaniment of a loud music score? A TV network’s star news reporter, that’s who! Played by the film’s notional star Tom Hardy, Eddie in short order loses his job and the respect of his recently proposed fiancée so sets forth to deal with the evil newcomer.

To call that malign creature a venom is to do a terrible injustice to every self-respecting vertebrate, mollusc, coelenterate, insect and other terrestrial life form that hunts its next meal by injecting real venom through its fangs or immobilises its prey as food for its developing young. Marvel Comics’ venom has a face-full of fearsome teeth that it appears to use by baring, thereby scaring its victims to death.

This is juvenile stuff likely to beggar the imagination of any human with more than an egg-cup-full of functional brain. If you’ve read this far, that cannot possibly be you. Can it?

At all cinemas

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