Directed by Daniel Espinosa
Starring Jared Leto, Matt Smith, Adria Arjona, Jared Harris, Al Madrigal, and Tyrese Gibson
It’s shocking how long they’ve been trying to get Morbius on the big screen. Marvel was going through a whole horror comics phase in the 1970s, and that’s where Morbius comes from. Some of Marvel’s writers thought, “Hey! Spider-Man should fight a vampire,” and he started off as one of Spider-Man’s villains. And, like fellow Spider-Man villain Venom, he eventually reformed and became an anti-hero. They originally thought about bringing him onto the big screen way back in 1999, when they considered having him team up with Blade in Blade II. Here in the present day, the movie rights to Spider-Man and his cast of characters remains complicated. It’s the movie studio Sony that remains the owner of the movie rights to Spider-Man, and they’ve been loaning Spider-Man back to Marvel to have Spidey appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And with that momentum, Sony is trying to build their own Marvel Cinematic Universe out of Spider-Man’s supporting characters. First out of the gate was Venom, and next up is Morbius. It was originally supposed to come out for Halloween 2020, but got pushed back when COVID-19 started closing movie theatres. And now, in April 2022, Morbius makes his long awaited big screen debut.
Dr. Michael Morbius is a Nobel Prize winning physician, whose invention of artificial blood has literally saved thousands of lives. But he also suffers from an incredibly rare blood disorder, and he’s spent all his life searching for a cure. His best friend Milo suffers from the same affliction, and they have become like brothers as they were raised in hospitals together. But now it likes look Morbius has found a cure, derived from the DNA of vampire bats. He tests the cure on himself, and while he is cured, it comes at a cost. It turns him into a creature not unlike a vampire. He has super speed, super strength, the power of echolocation, and an unquenchable thirst for blood. Complicating matters is the fact that Milo took the cure, too, and Milo has no problem with the thirst for blood part. Will Morbius be able to harness his new powers and fight off the thirst in order to stop Milo’s bloody rampage?
What I Liked
Matt Smith is great as Milo. He’s really hamming it up and being every bit the comic book super villain he’s supposed to be playing. Jared Leto is OK. He’s a lot more subdued than when he was playing the Joker. There’s some good special effects and some interesting ways in which they depict Morbius’s powers. When he’s moving at super speed, they like to show him as this cloud of mist, like in classic vampire tales, which was a nice little touch.
What I Didn’t Like
Cast your mind back to the early 2000s, when superhero movies were just taking off. Morbius is like a mash-up between Blade and Daredevil. I mention Daredevil specifically mainly because how they portray Morbius’s echolocation is pretty much exactly the same as how they portrayed Daredevil’s radar sense. And Blade because of, you know, fighting the whole thirst for blood thing to become a hero. Milo’s character arc is pretty much the same one that Green Goblin had in Amazing Spider-Man 2. Hero has cure for villain, hero doesn’t want to share it because of its dangerous side effects, villain swipes it and becomes super villain. When our hero and villain fight, they just become this CGI cloud, and they occasionally do a freeze-frame in the middle so you can see them, just like the fight scenes in Venom. This is just a blend of a whole bunch of superhero stuff you’ve seen before.
People are drawing lots of comparisons to Jared Leto’s other superhero outing, Suicide Squad, and I’ve got the same complaint about Morbius that I had about Suicide Squad. As superhero movies go, this one is just so overwhelmingly average.