Morbius stands out in an otherwise forgettable Marvel Cinematic Universe-related superhero movie landscape for all the wrong reasons. Jared Leto as an indefatigable monster-scientist and Matt Smith as an ambling dashing gentleman are entertaining; however, Morbius lacks charisma that made its predecessors Venom and Moon Knight hits.
Director Daniel Espinosa takes an overly serious approach to this unoriginal plot that would’ve worked better had it been more lighthearted like Venom.
Jared Leto’s performance
Though many might argue that Jared Leto deserves better projects than vampire movies and occasional blockbusters, his performance in Morbius can’t be denied. As biochemist Michael Morbius – who accidentally injects himself with a formula meant to treat a rare blood disease but turns him into a vampire instead – there’s no denying his dedication in Morbius. Morbius struggles to control his appetite while simultaneously saving lives while fighting rogue vampires created by himself.
Unfortunately, this film doesn’t give Leto enough opportunity to fully realize his character. Leto is an accomplished actor; unfortunately, neither the script or direction provide him much material. Besides being excessively gory and lacking style and flair comparable to MCU or DC films of recent times; its running time often runs away with it without providing space for character work or suspense development; special effects including Morbius leaving behind digital “smoke” trails look outdated rather than impressive; special effects (such as Morbius leaving digital “smoke”) look outdated; even the special effects from recent DC films don’t give Leto much opportunity.
The movie’s approach to vampire lore is also disappointing. While canonical vampire stories suggest that vampires crave human blood, screenwriters Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless use this aspect as little more than set dressing. As a result, there’s an almost comically nonchalant tone to the opening killing spree that leads Morbius and Martine (Adria Arjona) discover they are monsters.
Furthermore, this film failed to take advantage of one of the few elements that could have made it more engaging: its PG-13 rating. As a result, there is none of the chilling moral ambiguity found within MCU and DCEU movies; considering Leto’s performance as The Joker it’s saddening to see his talents reduced to such meaningless trash films; perhaps Leto should return to making smaller, more focused projects that allow him to display them to best advantage.
Morbius may look dull at first glance, but don’t underestimate its power! The film follows an amazing scientist afflicted by a rare blood disease who spends his career searching for a cure with help from Matt Smith (his surrogate brother). When his attempt eventually succeeds and they find one… it turns them into bloodthirsty vampires with extraordinary powers! He spends the remainder of the movie trying to gain control back over these abilities.
The film is shot in stunning high-definition 4K, boasting striking contrast and dark black levels that give it a far more dramatic feel than you’d typically find in a comic book film. The image quality is clear and crisp without artifacting, though colors could have been more vibrant (especially during scenes where characters wear neon-colored costumes). Sound quality was very good too with no issues concerning dialogue.
Unfortunately, visuals alone aren’t enough to save this movie; its action and scares fall far short of expectations in comic book movie terms, while bloodless scenes prove surprising for such an atmospheric vampire flick despite some impressive CGI work on display.
Jared Leto delivers an outstanding performance, but the script is too predictable and impatient to provide much entertainment. While it includes some of the same wit and humor that helped redeem Tom Hardy’s Venom films, there simply isn’t the chemistry present that made those movies such captivating experiences.
Not only is this film devoid of thrills, it also exhibits some significant pacing problems. The plot moves so quickly it seems rushed while characters remain two-dimensional and boring – not helped by many actors delivering their lines with monotone intonations that suggest they were reading from cue cards.
The movie’s primary issue lies with its attempt to force itself into the Marvel-verse shared between Sony and Disney, in an overly eager manner. Filled with self-reference that makes other Marvel movies look subtle in comparison, and heavy-handed callouts culminating in mid and end credits sequences which feel out of place, The Dark Tower stands as an irreverent commentary on all that makes up modern cinema.
Morbius, Sony’s latest Spider-Man spin-off film, is another disappointing example in their long list of poorly received cinematic spinoffs. Unfortunately, like many others before it, Morbius is an unfocused mess which lacks direction; its plot a mishmash of stolen ideas from other movies poorly assembled; some great acting and visuals exist but its pace and technical aspects fall woefully short of expectations.
The film feels rushed and overproduced, with characters popping up seemingly without context or backstory. This is unfortunate given that its story contains some fascinating lore which could have made an entertaining standalone movie; unfortunately however, director Daniel Espinosa doesn’t seem to care about thoughtful storytelling or character relationships; he seems more focused on building his company’s Marvel universe – even at the expense of quality cinema.
This movie attempts to combine sinister horror and superhero action, yet suffers from typical hallmarks of poor filmmaking: poor plotting, unconvincing dialogue and questionable scientific/supernaturalism rules. Ironically enough, people often criticize Marvel movies for having these same flaws while nothing outside of studio gets hit so harshly with such accusations.
The soundtrack also suffers from an absence of focus, which is unfortunate as some of its music is catchy and atmospheric, but much of it sounds as though it were lifted directly from other movies – for instance when Morbius and Milo are attacked by bats, it reminds of scenes from Batman Begins; when they turn into vampires their mugs resemble those seen on Buffy the Vampire Slayer!
Morbius shouldn’t be considered a failure, yet audiences are giving it no boost. On Rotten Tomatoes, Morbius earned 67% audience approval but only 17% from critics; not a good sign given Sony has previously struggled to bridge critical and audience divides for films like Fantastic Four and Venom; Sony will hope Morbius reverses this trend and makes money in its opening weeks.
At first, all superhero films seemed to follow the same formula: an entertaining script with lots of world-building and action that wasn’t necessarily an afterthought but wasn’t necessarily the main focus either. Marvel proved otherwise with their two movies about Avengers (Infinity War and Endgame). Since then, some other studios have tried breaking free from this mold through films such as Morbius. Unfortunately for Sony’s Spider-Man Cinematic Universe however, studio interference still reigns supreme.
The movie starts off promisingly enough, with an eye-catching synthwave opening title card that alluded to retro aesthetic. Morbius’ initial killing spree was exciting as he quickly dispatched of various mercenaries using supernatural speed and lightning quick moves – however it soon becomes evident that this wasn’t a film capable of supporting itself on its own.
But not just the plot fails; even its pacing is off, as well. Exposition is confusing and characters remain dull, while there are occasional good jokes which are undermined by self-seriousness of the movie itself.
If the movie had picked up its pace and included more action sequences, it might have been more satisfying. Instead, we get scenes of FBI agents searching for clues – though Tyrese Gibson and Al Madrigal provide much-needed comic relief, their investigations never feel like the core focus of the story; rather they remain just a background presence that barely registers during most of its running time.
Morbius struggles both to treat his disease and avoid turning into an antihero through his powers, but unfortunately the movie never really explores this concept deeply; the only time we see him make a truly heroic choice was when he saved Milo from an explosion.
Morbius may mark an exciting beginning to Sony Cinematic Universe, with Leto finally receiving an appropriate role that showcases his talent; however, Morbius is far from outstanding as an entry into their cinematic universe. Although its visuals make for an enjoyable B-movie experience, its story lacks compelling moments or makes an impactful argument against watching more superhero films than necessary.