Morbius Review

morbius review

Daniel Espinosa’s assured handling of classic comic-book material makes Morbius an enjoyable and captivating ride. Jared Leto gives an outstanding performance as Dr. Michael Morbius, attempting to cure his rare blood condition by conducting experimental procedures on himself and injecting himself with vampire bat DNA.

He becomes a living vampire with destructive powers he is powerless to control, pitted against two divorcing cops (Tyrese Gibson and Al Madrigal). A solid horror-action movie with modest genre pleasures and an eerie atmosphere.

1. Jared Leto’s performance

Jared Leto has garnered considerable criticism for his portrayal of Joker in Suicide Squad and House of Gucci, but here his performance as Morbius is considerably more subdued. While playing an antagonist who simultaneously acts as both protector and enemy, Leto manages to convey both believable anguish and cautious tenderness in scenes featuring Adria Arjona’s doctor character – thus helping elevate this movie with Leto’s sincerity as Morbius. While his performance might not add the necessary kick start needed, at least his sincerity is taking steps in the right direction!

Matt Smith plays reclusive billionaire Milo, making for an engaging sidekick who sadly only appears briefly on screen. Although Smith clearly enjoys his role, it lacks charisma or screen presence that would elevate this film beyond generic mediocrity.

Daniel Espinosa (“Life,” “Safe House”) may be more capable than this material warrants, yet can’t find the energy to guide it forward. Action sequences move quickly but special effects sometimes fall flat – which is unfortunate given some original concepts found within such as Morbius’ echo-location powers that ripple through New York streets and subway stations.

Michael also stalks some mercenaries on a ship, which could have added horror elements and given the film some much-needed tension. Unfortunately, due to wanting a PG-13 superhero film they did not fully utilize this potential; thus creating a movie that feels put together by people asleepwalking through their work.

2. The story

Morbius, based on a Marvel comics character, is Sony’s latest Monster Universe installment and although it offers some modest genre pleasures, the film feels more like an uninspired late March filler, where every beat and character remains predictable and two-dimensional.

Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) is an innovative scientist suffering from a rare blood condition who develops an experimental treatment by mixing his DNA with vampire bat DNA to create an antidote serum which cures his illness while turning him into a vampire with an appetite for human blood. Daniel Espinosa helmed this film, known for lean action films and suspenseful thrillers; his presence added much-needed weight and sense to its execution; yet even so, the script limitations prevented much change.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with horror-action hybrid films, but this one struggles to find its muse. The film moves quickly towards its climax as if the studio ran out of resources or simply wanted to wrap everything up quickly; additionally, its vampire story lacks chills necessary for effective storytelling; even when its protagonist drinks bags full of chilled red stuff (perhaps due to being PG-13 rated), none ever spilled out due to any restrictions set forth.

At first glance, there’s nothing inherently wrong with giving a supervillain his or her own movie, but it’s difficult to see how this could compete with recent successes of Venom and Moon Knight. Leto and Smith fans may find enough in these characters to keep them interested, while all others should probably forgoing this one.

3. The pacing

Morbius suffers from an uneven pacing and uninspiring dialogue, and scenes that could have been thrilling or scary are rushed through with little effect. Furthermore, its lack of style leaves its viewers disenchanted: grim greys and sickly greens fill settings which lack atmosphere; costumes are utilitarian while creature designs seem like computer generated copies of Buffy The Vampire Slayer prosthetics; all this means Morbius cannot distinguish itself from all of Marvel/Sony movies that have come before it.

Venom succeeded in creating an engaging side universe for Spider-Man villains; Morbius is less successful. Instead, the film seems content to tread water, recycling tired cliches of good guy being tormented by his symbiote and hero having to fight an alternate version of themselves despite Jared Leto’s best efforts at making this film better than dull.

It would be easy to blame the script for its uninspiring dialogue and slow pace, but ultimately this film simply does not offer much else of note. While audiences get an excellent glimpse of Morbius as an intriguing vampire form, the rest of its narrative lacks appeal; moral dilemmas confronted by Leto’s character are addressed quickly while its conclusion becomes incomprehensible.

No matter your opinion of this type of film, there can be no disputing that the cast and crew working on this project gave it their all. Unfortunately, their efforts weren’t enough to save what ultimately became an uninspired, subpar entry from Sonyverse – maybe next time around they will push boundaries more aggressively and create something exciting instead.

4. The special effects

Marvel has been having some success mixing styles recently, but Morbius falls short in that regard. It attempts to play on horror but never fully delivers, instead opting for action sequences and disturbing images of Leto and Smith’s animated faces to keep audiences awake. Unfortunately, director Daniel Espinosa and his team could have made something truly exceptional here.

The film boasts an intriguing premise: a scientist with an illness that’s about to kill him discovers a cure, only for it to unleash the unstoppable blood-hunger of an inner vampire who becomes unleashed as well. With breathtaking visuals that promise an exciting narrative experience.

Unfortunately, that’s about all that works in Morbius; otherwise it’s a disjointed jumble with thin characters and a plot lacking creativity or depth. Morbius doesn’t even manage to provide entertaining action scenes like its counterpart Mortal Kombat arcade cabinet did; they opt instead for dull, messy fighting that wouldn’t look out of place in an arcade cabinet from the 1990s.

Digital Domain, an award-winning VFX studio, provided stunning visual effects work in this film. Blues and greys create the supernatural elements of vampirism while earthy colors bring life back into flashbacks and locations. The final battle scene stands out especially well due to impressive CG work used to render Leto’s face with his large fangs; unfortunately though it cannot overcome a poor script and poor acting by becoming the amazing superhero movie it should have been.

5. The music

The movie’s climax, in which its protagonist turns into a blood-sucking monster to stop an invasion by parasitic cells that keep his body alive, features one of the most shocking transformations ever seen onscreen – yet unfortunately also one of its least captivating aspects. Although filmmakers clearly intend for it to evoke fear and exhilaration through Jared Leto’s impressive physical transformation, unfortunately this moment never really resonates. Its lack of interest was especially disappointing given that Leto can bring such incredible physical transformation.

Morbius’ chaotic nature is further compounded by its uninspired action sequences and unimaginative special effects, both of which fail to create any suspenseful atmosphere or suspense despite being about vampires; its algorithms appear designed specifically to ease into blockbuster marketplace smoothly while its slow-motion pauses are typical of films made for Instagram.

Jon Ekstrand’s soundtrack for Life, Child 44 and Snabba Cash has been one of its only redeeming qualities; he worked closely with director Daniel Espinosa on all three films to compose them. Unfortunately for Ekstrand however, this score becomes an embarrassment rather than an asset in an otherwise subpar film.

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