So who actually thought this movie had a chance at being good? No one? That’s what I thought.
The latest Marvel character to get the silver screen treatment, Morbius follows Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) who, after taking steps to cure a rare debilitating blood disease he suffers from, becomes a “living vampire” hell-bent on stopping others from following in his footsteps, while kinda sorta foiling bad guys whenever they happen to cross his path. But since a superhero story needs a villain to keep things interesting, Morbius is soon beset by his surrogate brother, Lucien “Milo” Morbius (Matt Smith), who has also turned into a vampire — just with more of a mind to use his transformation for evil than anything else. What follows is an origin story for an anti-hero that needs to keep his bloodlust in check before he becomes what he fears most: a failed entry in Sony’s Spider-Man Universe. Just kidding, but his worries are legit as he doesn’t want to drain humans of all their gushy red stuff if he can help it.
Walking to the theater, I had no expectations for what I was about to experience. From the constant delays due to the pandemic to the very public behind-the-scenes changes to the film to the casting of the always controversial Jared Leto, I had hoped that since I enjoyed Sony’s two passable Venom films, I’d be getting a similar experience with Morbius. Unfortunately, I was way off on that thinking to a point that I can confidently say this movie was worse than I thought it could be.
Almost from the get-go, I noticed something was off about it. Sure, the script immediately felt cringe, and the filmmaking presented itself as nothing special, but it was the feel of the movie that got me the most. Coming across as one of the many hit or miss superhero movies released before the MCU made films that actually did their characters justice, Morbius is on par with the worst of what Sony (Spider-Man 3), 20th Century Fox (Fantastic Four), and Warner Bros. (Jonah Hex) were putting out before they got their shit together and took superhero-ing seriously; a problem because the film industry has collectively moved past these crappy excuses for movies and onto things far more competent and worthwhile of audience’s time.
Full of expositional dialogue, head-scratching story leaps, nonsensical plotting, and a main character that comes across as more boring than anything else, Morbius never stood a chance at becoming the average movie it probably could have been. Fun only in spurts when Morbius is kicking ass in vampire form (Jared Leto is too subdued and without charm when not drinking blood left and right), this movie is meandering and plotless to a point that almost nothing matters in the grand scheme of the story it’s trying to tell. Made worse by characters that don’t do much save for checking off the genre’s archetypes to keep things moving (Matt Smith isn’t terrible as the villain, however) and the fact that Sony apparently needs to be connected to the MCU (for box office money reasons, I’m sure), and you have a film that’s a failure, no doubt, but one that could have and should have been better for any number of legitimate reasons.
I can’t say many good things about this one save for a few genuinely exciting action scenes and the fact that it’s based on a comic book character that isn’t actually half bad (though you probably couldn’t tell after seeing this), but for the most part, the behind-the-scenes problems, delays, forced MCU connections, and inconsequential storytelling does nothing to help this movie limp along in any sensible or interesting way. I’m sure we’ll be getting more Morbius in the future since Sony can’t seem to let a bad thing die, so here’s hoping we get a sequel that has some level of quality control guiding it forward when it inevitably releases some time down the line.