Morbius Review

Morbius is an unusually stylized movie. Even though its main conflict gradually devolves into chaos, Morbius still manages to hold our interest and stand out amongst its fellow superhero movies.

Once known for his eccentric performances in Suicide Squad and House of Gucci, Jared Leto gives a measured turn here as a scientist cursed with vampirism.

1. Jared Leto’s Morbius

Before the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) came into being and made its C-tier heroes juggernauts, their characters were just poorly written, undeveloped, and underwritten in movies that battled pacing issues and queries about scientific or supernatural rules. Now any movie not produced by Marvel Studios gets lambasted for having similar issues; Morbius, a $75 million movie about one of Marvel’s lesser-known antiheroes also suffers from all these flaws and more.

Jared Leto delivers an impressive performance as Dr. Michael Morbius, a scientist suffering from a rare blood disorder who gambles his life away by experimenting with vampire bat DNA in an effort to save himself. Unfortunately, this experiment backfires, turning him into a Living Vampire; fighting an inner conflict between evil and good as they fight each other for survival throughout the movie.

The concept is intriguing but the script struggles to determine its genre: it jumps between sinister horror and superhero thrills with little in between, making for uneven pacing and action scenes that never feel quite as intense or satisfying as they should. Meanwhile, dialogue remains flat and lifeless throughout.

There are some impressive performances here, but the characters remain too shallow. Tyrese Gibson plays Tyrone Stroud as an earnest police officer while Al Madrigal gives the movie some much needed added dimensions with his character Rodriguez. Unfortunately their roles never serve much of a purpose either way and should have more significant significance for its plot development.

Sony’s expanded Spider-Man universe may deliver more satisfying films in the future; however, Morbius could become its final installment given their hasty production process and costlier than expected results.

2. The visuals

Morbius is an attempt at being serious that fails spectacularly. The movie drags along and is depressingly boring from start to finish; you find yourself wondering why you even bothered watching. Both script and director appear too serious with their assignments, leaving little room for fun or anything that might make audiences care about the plot or care about its outcome. Action sequences lack urgency while visual effects were generally average at best; two clumsy post-credit scenes seem unnecessary too.

One of the main problems with the film is that it feels like an assembly-line product from a studio that churns out superhero movies. Even after multiple trailers and being delayed due to pandemic, nothing in this film surprises anyone familiar with superhero origin stories.

The film follows a biochemist as they attempt to cure themselves of a rare blood condition, only to inadvertently transform into vampires instead. He struggles with reconciling his desire for blood with healing his illness.

Though this sounds like a typical set-up, the characters never feel fully developed. While the filmmakers attempt to make him interesting by making him tragically tragic, but fail to give him any substance; thus making him completely forgettable.

This movie also suffers from too much exposition and uninspired dialogue, poor performances from its leads (Jared Leto does his best with what’s given him), an unpredictable script/direction and ineffective pacing resulting in significant holes in logic throughout.

3. The action

Morbius lacks exciting action sequences that capture its vibrant visuals, which could have added another level of enjoyment watching this fanged footnote come alive. There’s some decent use of slow-mo to pick out moments from chaotic fight scenes and flight sequences, but overall they don’t provide thrills. Furthermore, we never get an understanding of just how powerful Morbius’ powers really are; while we see him bounce off walls or ripple across New York City using echo-location, we never truly understand just how effective or powerful his powers really are.

The plot lacks much appeal, with the film racing to its climax with little time for exploration of Morbius’ story or development of key characters like Tyrese Gibson and Al Madrigal as part of a bickering cop duo (supposedly set to introduce Spider-Man into this universe). This may have something to do with being an extended trailer for a larger feature film which would feature Spider-Man; but it also means there wasn’t enough room left over for Morbius himself and his tale to develop fully either.

Morbius may have far outshone everyone’s expectations in its first season as part of Marvel/Sony Extended Spider-Man Universe, yet his story felt unappetizing and underdeveloped. Jared Leto’s performance as Morbius was great but wasted by an underwhelming narrative; furthermore, most other cast members didn’t distinguish themselves enough for viewers to care. Additionally, almost none of his characters shared any chemistry or interested the audience at all.

4. The characters

Daniel Espinosa appears to have stripped this film of all context, nuance, and character development – every character feels like a cardboard cutout while dialogue often sounds hammy and overdone. Martine (Adria Arjona), Morbius’ love interest, is especially unconvincing: her decisions and motivations remain unclear; even though her coworker crush is an undead vampire who insists she be included in his experiments and research projects.

The main cast of secondary characters aren’t much better; although attempts were made to make them interesting with cute animals being included as characters, most seem underdeveloped and lifeless. We were given some backstory regarding Morbius but that never really went anywhere either.

What is most confusing is that Sony’s movie seems to hint at an expanded Marvel universe connection. Trailers show some Easter eggs from Spider-Man: Homecoming featuring Michael Keaton as Adrian Toomes from Spider-Man: Homecoming appearing briefly during the movie itself for about 45 seconds total. If Sony can successfully merge its various Marvel franchises together it could prove transformative.

As it stands, Morbius is a forgettable mess that lacks the charm and uniqueness of Tom Hardy’s Venom movies. Its uninspiring plot and awkward dialogue prevent it from even being watchable let alone enjoyable; so unless Jared Leto fans or masochists prefer such entertainment it would probably be best to stay away.

5. The story

Morbius is an unsatisfyingly uneven film. Although its visuals and fast action scenes are engaging, its success is undermined by an underwhelming performance by Jared Leto and an absurd plotline.

Dr Michael Morbius suffers from a rare blood disease for which he’s dedicated his life searching for a solution. After conducting experiments on vampire bat blood, which gives him superhuman strength and speed but also triggers an unquenchable thirst for more; artificial blood temporarily suppresses this desire but eventually can no longer do so; upon meeting Milo (Matt Smith) again however, Morbius warns him against imbibing it as immortality will ensue unless restrained by artificial means.

The film fails to create any genuine conflict between Morbius and Starbuck; they spend too much time together without ever seeming threatened by an actual adversary; Morbius can fly, track people through echo-location and track them with his radar, yet none of it makes much sense how he manages these feats.

A film with such an intriguing premise should not be so poorly executed and disorganized, particularly since its goal appears to be establishing a larger universe for Marvel villains. While Adria Arjona and Jared Harris are two strong actors, most of the supporting cast feels manufactured at some sort of superhero factory.

Post-credits scenes that suggest an uncertain future for this character and world can also be very confusing; whether meant as warnings or just more fan service, it’s clear that filmmakers don’t understand how best to utilize these new characters.

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