Movie Review: Morbius (2022)

The third entry in the Sony Spider-Man Universe (SSU) spin-off series, allegedly separate from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) comes Morbius, following on from both Venom and its sequel. Loosely based on the comic book character of the same name, the film is directed by Daniel Espinosa (who also directed Life, which was almost a retelling of Venom, in a weird coincidence). Dr Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) was born with a rare blood disease, which he and his childhood friend, Milo (Matt Smith) vow to one day cure. Unfortunately, in doing so, Morbius turns himself into a ‘living vampire’, which gains superhuman abilities at the cost of needing to drink human blood. Adria Arjona also stars as Martine Bancroft, a scientist working with Morbius, as does Jared Harris as Dr Emil Nicholas, Morbius and Milo’s adoptive father figure.

+ Matt Smith is clearly enjoying this schlock, and he is the best part of the movie – and considering that ‘best part’ seems to be a knockoff of an incredibly divisive scene from Spider-Man 3, that is damning with faint praise
+ the story and format takes cues from Venom and The Incredible Hulk, with the obvious Spider-man references there too. Generally speaking, the plot is bland but acceptable, but at least you’ll notice I am namedropping comic book movies. This is certainly a comic book movie, for better or worse
+ every now and then, the action is actually kind of cool. It features a lot of slow-mo martial arts and bullet dodging stuff, seemingly taking more than just inspiration from X-Men II‘s opening Nightcrawler scene

– every single thing about this movie is so basic and derivative, full of plot holes and faux drama that was clearly patched together from a handful of different ideas and script drafts. Having some other comic book movies to base a movie off is all fine and dandy, but this was in many ways a scene-for-scene remake of all the other things I listed above
– Jared Leto is just not fit for these movies. It’s clear he wants to be an arthouse auteur, but comic book movies are inherently hokey, even when they try to play themselves seriously – in fact, I’d argue they are even worse when they try to take themselves seriously. Leto seems to simultaneously want to be Daniel Day-Lewis, and method act his way to an Oscar… but also play a crime fighting vampire with a fake CGI face doing green-screen stunts. You can’t have it both ways, mate
– there are so many of those moments that make you just want to scream at the TV: “Just explain yourself in one sentence! Use your words!” “Literally walk after him before he gets away, rather than just watching him leave!” “Don’t be so vague in this life-and-death situation!”
– the big hook of the trailer, the appearance of Adrian Toomes / The Vulture (Michael Keaton) from the MCU is given slightly more of a spotlight, but it just creates even more questions. After seeing this, I have no more of an understanding about when, where or what Morbius is even meant to be. In fact so much of the stuff from the trailers is not in the movie at all

> there are hints and references to the X-Men and Spider-Man, none of which make much sense considering Sony doesn’t owe the rights to either of those properties.

Should you see this film: Absolutely not. I feel like I’m repeating myself form my review of The Batman, but this was not bad enough to recommend laughing at, and it was certainly not good enough to say you should watch it seriously.

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