Morbius film review (2022)

Some of the ideas have potential, but most of Morbius is overly generic and underwhelming, which is disappointing since Sony is adamant in trying to establish its own Spider-Man universe, even though Marvel Studios has created one that’s already worthwhile. What starts off somewhat interesting in this film quickly goes downhill and never recovers.

Okay, so I already had pretty low expectations for Morbius. I’m a comic book film geek though, so I always hope for the best when it comes to this genre. I had some hope for this film. I’m a fan of Jared Leto and his acting ability, and we’ve seen what he’s capable of when given the proper material to work with. Unfortunately, he isn’t enough to save this movie. I don’t think it’s the worst superhero film ever made, nor is it outright terrible like most critics and fans alike are claiming it to be. It isn’t good though, and even though there are some ideas I thought had some potential to grow into something special, most of them never materialize, and as the movie’s story progresses, it only gets worse.

The film follows Dr. Michael Morbius (Leto), a genius with a rare and fatal blood disease. Desperately searching for a cure for himself and those who suffer from the same illness, Dr. Morbius takes a huge risk, which at first, seems successful, but quickly realizes he unleashes something dark inside of him which may prove difficult to control.

As mentioned, I had some hope for this project. Seeing what Marvel Studios has been able to accomplish with Spider-Man and other characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you would think Sony would try to follow its success and create competent and enjoyable stories. Sadly, other than some exceptions (the Sam Raimi trilogy, The Amazing Spider-Man, Into the Spider-Verse, and even some parts of Venom) most of Sony’s Spider-Man universe is dull, boring, and poorly done. The sad thing is, no matter how many bad films seems to be made, Sony apparently has no plans to stop making films based on Spider-Man and other characters associated with him. So, at this point, I want them to be successful since it’s out of my control, and even though I usually know what I’m getting myself into when I go to the theater, I’m always cautiously optimistic about it, regardless of how many times I’ve been let down. It’s just the fan in me and I can’t seem to help it.

Morbius continues this trend, which is a downward spiral Sony obviously hasn’t learned from. What starts off as some interesting and compelling ideas at the start quickly turns into a messy, strangely-paced, cringe-worthy watch. Other than Leto and Matt Smith as Milo, no one seems to be having any fun and are taking these characters way too seriously. I do have to be fair though, since I think the delays and everything associated with the development of this movie sort of ruined whatever momentum it had since I truly believe some of the story elements were changed because of it. For example, this was supposed to come out before Spider-Man: No Way Home, and the whole inclusion of Michael Keaton’s Vulture sort of proves that. What they ended up deciding to do with the Vulture is very frustrating, but we’ll get into that later. There’s also Tyrese hyping up his character and what he’s able to do with his arm, but that also never materializes. You even see a poster of Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man in the trailer with the word “murderer” written over it. You can’t tell me there weren’t different directions for all of these characters before all the development trouble occurred. So, I guess it isn’t entirely the director’s fault. It wouldn’t be the first time a studio intervened with a filmmaker’s vision for a project. Then again, I don’t have much faith about the actual, true vision being much better, if I’m being honest.

Speaking more on the characters, the only ones I really enjoyed were Dr. Morbius and Milo. At first, I was intrigued by their relationship as best friends/brothers, but it really goes off the rails towards the end, and eventually, it becomes quite over-the-top. At the end of the day, I enjoyed Dr. Morbius much more since I feel Smith didn’t take Milo very seriously towards the end and, in turn, sort of forces the audience to take it as a joke with his antics and the way he carries himself. To reiterate, Leto is a great actor, and I think he does his best with what he’s given. Then again, it’s hard to take any of it seriously when he says things like, “you won’t like me when I’m hungry.” Yeah, it’s a no for me. As for every other character, most of them feel dispensable and unimportant. There are certain set ups for future films, but all of them don’t feel earned and they’re definitely shoe-horned in just to keep this pointless universe going.

I did enjoy Dr. Morbius’ appearance and how he used his abilities. These were actually the best parts for me since I feel it’s the only aspect where the creators actually tried to capture the essence of the character, at least in a minimal capacity. I loved seeing him use his echo location, how he flew around, and how he went about with his attacks. This was the part that was the most well-done. What didn’t really make much sense is his reasonings for his he’s able to control his powers and whatnot. It seems it was never really elaborated enough and the explanation the film gives us doesn’t have enough juice to justify it. It seems as simple as him having human blood for him to survive rather than the artificial blue blood he created to help him combat his disease. But, apparently, he says he’ll lose control if he doesn’t have human blood. I mean, wouldn’t a vampire die without feeding rather than become stronger? I may be overthinking it or not fully understanding it all, but it’s a bit weird to me. I didn’t have much of a problem with the special effects, although there are some poorly looking stills and in some scenes, it’s pretty hard to even see what’s going on. The editing can use some improvement, for sure.

By far, the worst part for me is Sony’s commitment to this universe and its reluctance to let Marvel Studios take charge. The post credits scenes are an absolute slap in the face to the fans. For those who don’t already know, in the mid credits scene, we see the rifts we saw at the end of No Way Home open up in the sky and, out of nowhere, Keaton’s Adrian Toomes, the Vulture, appears in a prison cell. In the post credits scene, we see Morbius meet up with him and the Vulture explains how they can do some good together and how he wants to kill Spider-Man. Honestly, this doesn’t make any sense to me. I mean, isn’t the Vulture part of the MCU? Why did he transfer to a universe that isn’t his? I think this is part of the issue with all the delays. You can’t pay me enough money to convince me this was always a part of the plans. It also confuses things a bit in terms of Doctor Strange casting the spell so everyone forgets who Peter Parker is. The Vulture always had an issue with Spider-Man, but it became a more personal issue when he finds out Peter is Spider-Man. To me, it’s simply lazy writing.

The lack of having Spider-Man in any of these movies, at least up until now, is obviously hurting these films. The reason why any of these characters/villains are even remotely interesting or even make sense is because of their connection to Spider-Man. This is a major contributing factor as to why these movies aren’t working. If Morbius isn’t a wake-up call, then I’m not sure what Sony is thinking. Then again, if it hasn’t learned by now, it never will, and we’ll probably keep getting solo villain films nobody cares about. At least we have some fantastic ones to look forward too, especially Across the Spider-Verse Part 1. I have some excitement for the Kraven the Hunter movie as well, but I can only look forward to it so much after continually being disappointed.

There are some decent things in Morbius that some will enjoy, like I did. Overall though, most of it feels uninspired, lazy, disappointing, and underwhelming. It may be the worst thing Sony has produced in this universe and I’m hoping they can turn it round. By turn it around, I mean just hand over the rights and stop trying.

Score: D

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