Being pumped up for the newest comic book movie isn’t anything new, especially for me. But when Morbius finally comes to theaters after numerous delays for two years, why should we care? Here is the third entry inside Sony’s Spider-Man Universe (SSU) focusing on the villains from its comics, as we’ve seen previously with Venom in 2018 and its sequel last year. But was anybody asking for a movie about the living vampire? Unfortunately, none of the trailers, the first released online in January 2020, grabbed my attention, and the reviews haven’t exactly been glowing with the critics. I walked in with the lowest expectations, hoping to be in the minority about it once it’s over. And there aren’t many positive thoughts about this since Sony shelled out another miserable movie to found unlikable.
Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) is a brilliant biochemist who has been suffering from a rare blood disorder ever since he was a child. Becoming a world-renowned doctor for his work with synthetic blood and saving millions of lives, he worked his entire life searching for the perfect cure he hopes to cure himself and his childhood best friend Milo (Matt Smith), who also has the same disease when they first met in a hospital and hope to be “normal.” When he attempts to cure himself by splicing bat DNA to his own, it manages to be successful but has now turned Michael into a vampire. Besides his thirst for artificial blood to keep his disorder in check, he gets superhuman abilities, including fast speed, strength, and radar sense that he hasn’t done before.
Though I never cared for the character as a Spider-Man villain, to begin with, all it had to do was make him interesting to warrant this origin story coming to life. What I can say is the initial setup caught my curiosity early on about where it was establishing this goal in life Michael keeps setting out. But it was after those 30 minutes that quickly turned this into a pretty generic movie that’s more in line with the poorly executed Marvel movies of the 2000s. How can we have a vampire movie that doesn’t go out of the way to be pleasing? This had all the potential in the world to be at least decent that would go its audience wanting more of this character. But this scratches the surface of not having much to care about when it wants to blend the action and horror genres. Everything from Daniel Espinosa’s (Safe House, Life) and its messy screenplay by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless (The Last Witch Hunter, Gods of Egypt) couldn’t care less about being thrilling; not even an attempt to be a good B-movie. It was almost like they wanted to make it like Batman but forgot to throw in the elements that made that hero’s good movies watchable. It’s a darker movie, different from what we’ve seen in the Venom movies with his kinda lighter tone. Still, it doesn’t take away from the terrible dialogue with these drops of humor confused me if they were meant to be funny.
With Jared Leto playing the part of Michael Morbius, I know this person is supposed to be lifeless because he has this disease. But he couldn’t make him the least hit charming at least and not take this seriously. Leto has slowly decreased my likeness for him for the past few years after his unmemorable take on the Joker in the DCEU, and I really thought he gave a dull performance I didn’t get behind. Another actor of his caliber, rather than the Oscar winner who has previously been labeled a weirdo, might have done a better job. And there was an unsurprising rumor the week this came out, but I heard Leto was totally committed that he remained in character onset with his crutches and took a lot of time to get to and from the bathroom. Method acting can only go downhill from here for him. Oddly enough, I thought Matt Smith had more of a personality than our main character. Smith’s Milo looked like he’s a different movie and a more entertaining one when chewing up the scenery. Their little bromance could’ve been a great deal, as we see it early on, but his turn to being evil against his best friend wasn’t convincing for the conflict to rise. So does it pain me to see Smith in another wasteful blockbuster? Yes, but his cheesy performance was a highlight throughout the runtime.
With the rest of the cast, if only this utilized them with top-worthy material. Adria Arjona as Dr. Martine Bancroft had me unsure if she was meant to be the love interest of Morbius, and even the movie didn’t know what to do with her underwritten character. Can Hollywood please do more with her and not be in these forgettable roles? Tyrese Gibson and Al Madrigal play the two FBI agents on the hunt why people are found dead with no blood in their bodies by this vampire-figure in New York, and they’re pretty useless whenever they show up. And why did they waste a great actor like Jared Harris as a mentor of sorts of Michael and Milo with little development?
But despite not proving a memorable lead performance, surely it could redeem itself in the action department, right? Even those were lackluster for not having fun with Espinosa giving them no style. However, I’ll give props for when Leto transforms in and out of becoming a vampire with the effects not looking too bad. But nothing in here has a moment worth remembering when it’s not exciting watching a vampire kill people in its PG-13 way without seeing any blood. Even the climactic battle between our antihero and villain is poorly edited and dumb. I can’t tell you what was going on for the rest of my life, adding to the story’s unoriginality. Morbius just had a hard time finding the right balance to trying to be both a fascinating monster movie and a Marvel movie together. In better hands, that’s not Espinosa, it might’ve been close to a guilty pleasure, and it wasn’t even that.
It’s not as abysmal as I thought it would be on the line of 2015’s Fantastic Four or the Ghost Rider movies, but not strong enough to maintain being impressive to be in the so bad it’s good fun territory. In the two years it’s been delayed, was there not enough time for rewrites to make it worthwhile? Doesn’t appear so. Everything feels rushed and slow altogether to make this incoherent, which proves why these movies have not been to my liking. I was shocked by how it abruptly ended when it built up to nothing. And if that doesn’t add insult to injury, this has probably the two worst post-credit scenes I’ve ever seen. They don’t make any sense, as seen in a previous movie. Still, they’re honestly going to be shooting themselves in the foot again if they want to do something they failed to generate anticipation in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Being baffled by this has me convinced they threw in those moments in the trailers to trick us, not making it into the final cut and did these scenes two weeks before its release. With Kraven the Hunter and Madame Web (which the same writers of this are doing) coming next from the studio, maybe it’s best not to release them and not put the stars in harm.
Lifeless and devoid of fun for a comic book blockbuster, Morbius is another bad movie inside this ongoing cinematic universe. It’s a waste of time combined with a boring origin story, poor CGI, and a flat Jared Leto performance as the title character. When I’m writing this review from when I saw it a few weeks ago, you better believe it become an afterthought days later. You’re not missing anything if you already decided to skip this in theaters because it’s easy to know we’re getting better superhero movies for the rest of 2022. Lord, help us if we actually get a sequel.
Morbius is now playing in theaters. Runtime: 104 Minutes. Studio: Sony/ Columbia Pictures