Morbius is a weak Marvel movie that serves up nothing more than a rotten reminder of mid-2000s comic book movies.
Published on April 7, 2022
Rating 1 /5
Existing within the Venom universe (or whatever Sony wants to call their movie world adjacent to Marvel’s central Cinematic Universe), a new villain emerges. Morbius is a creature of the night who is torn between his humanity and his desire for human blood. He’s a classic conflicted monster who dances on the lines of good and evil. He’s also incredibly dull and ends up being a weak anti-hero.
Doctor Michael Morbius, played with sleepwalking energy by Jared Leto, at least has the makings of an interesting villain. He’s a doctor with a rare blood disease that has reduced his lifespan as well as his mobility. Determined to cure himself and his childhood friend Milo (Matt Smith), he tries to find a cure. The cure might just be in a combination of human blood and the DNA of bats. Or, you know, it could turn him into a vampire.
Sure enough, Morbius’s new human-bat cocktail transforms him into a monster. He grows fangs, his legs work, his muscles get buff, his thirst for blood rises, and her ability to fly has gone from zero to glide. There’s something it doesn’t grant him though: character. Morbius rarely has a moment where he doesn’t speak with simple drones and somber reflections. One would think someone who spent their whole lives immobile would be jumping for joy that his legs could finally make him jump like a basketball player. And yet all he can muster is a raised eyebrow and low-key “wow” he dare not speak.
Every anti-hero needs a villain to best and that just happens to be Milo. He comes into contact with the cure and chooses to use his newfound vampirism for evil more than good, seeking revenge on a world that said he didn’t have long to live. He becomes a much more interesting character simply because he has more fun with his powers. Well, he at least tries to. Perhaps the most devilish delight he takes in his powers is the ability to dance and work out while he gets ready for a night on the town. Outside of that, he mostly just chomps and slashes his way into the chaos, inviting Morbius for a grand showdown of who is the better vampire.
Even the addition of Jared Harris as Morbius’s father and Milo’s doctor adds little to the picture. He seems to represent a certain morality in how he wants what’s best for both of them but can do little more than become a victim for Milo and a mild bit of pathos for Morbius. Speaking of which, Morbius’s assistant Martine (Adria Arjona) is more present than the other supporting characters, and yet she has nothing interesting to do. She’s basically a damsel in distress the way she becomes targeted and requires rescue from a monster Morbius. She spouts some medical exposition, gives some mild humanity for Morbius to consider but then shuns, and ends up being the love interest because there’s nothing more interesting to do with her. There is one clever development with her character but it’s literally within the final seconds of the film. Far too little far too late.
Does Morbius have a connection to other Marvel movies? Yes but the presentation is such a nothing moment that offers up nothing all that interesting. The semi-commercial for other Sony Marvel movies makes you feel like you’ve been cheated, as though you sat through such a slog of a boring monster movie with the promise of a team-up movie that might be better. Even Morbius doesn’t seem all that excited about what the future may hold. And if he’s not all that jazzed, what reason is there for us to be excited for his next adventure?
Morbius is a weak Marvel movie that serves up nothing more than a rotten reminder of mid-2000s comic book movies. It’s a misguided attempt where you can clearly feel the presence of too many cooks in the kitchen for this lacking picture. It’s not terrifying as a monster movie, exciting as an action movie, or even intriguing as a mad scientist story. There’s just nothing here that may explain why Jared Leto gives such a nothing performance. Even with the connection to other Marvel movies, this one is not worth the meager running time.
Mark has been a professional film critic for over five years and a film lover all his life.