marvels-new-misstep-morbius-review

Marvel’s New Misstep – “Morbius” Review

Story posted April 19, 2022 in

When it comes to Marvel movies, the consensus is that it largely can do no wrong.

Many would attest that Marvel movies are fun bits of fanservice and spectacle that weave a narrative that isn’t Shakespeare by any means, but certainly entertains in a way that few others can in the modern cinema landscape.

However, this sentiment is usually directed toward Disney Marvel movies. When it comes to Sony’s Marvel productions, they have a rather spotty history.

Although many covet the “X-Men” movies as classics and the “Amazing Spider-Man” duology has had a massive resurgence in popularity over the past couple of years, movies like “Venom” and a choice list of others are not held with the same adoration or respect.

In 2017, it was announced that Sony would be making a film about Morbius the Living Vampire, a character from the Spider-Man side of Marvel comics that tended to fit the role of an antihero more than a villain.

While not a member of any evil organizations in his comic appearances, such as the Sinister Six, he does often end up fitting the role of an antagonist on occasion.

The film itself was delayed over and over again, and fans began to lose hope for the promise it may have held. The situation wasn’t made any better in the public’s eyes when Jared Leto was cast as the titular character himself, given that his last comic book movie appearance was as his widely-lambasted portrayal of the Joker in “Suicide Squad (2016)”.

Finally, on April 1 “Morbius” hit theaters, and the reaction was far worse than what many estimated.
Right away, critics panned the movie before public screenings even occurred, causing it to drop to a horrific 17 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

The film was attempting to frame itself as a dark superhero movie filled with action and intrigue, but the execution fell flat and excelled at doing so.

“Morbius” follows the story of Dr. Michael Morbius, a man born with a rare blood disease that’s left him debilitated for his entire life.

When he was young, he lived in a healthcare facility with another boy with the same illness whom he referred to as Milo. Michael confided in him that his ultimate goal was to find a way to heal the illness so people like them didn’t have to suffer anymore.

Thankfully, Michael has always been gifted with a remarkable intelligence to help his search for a solution. However, much like Icarus flying too close to the sun, this unrelenting drive for a cure would be what ultimately changes his life forever—just not in the way that he intended.

After believing to have fit all of the proverbial pieces together through modifying human genetics with those of vampire bats, the treatment leaves Michael mutated.

While he was indeed healed, he also now possesses a heap of superhuman powers like echolocation, super speed, the ability to fly—albeit limited and his body heals wounds far faster than normal.

The caveat is that if he doesn’t consume blood, Michael turns savage and loses control of both himself and his thirst.
Because of this catastrophic flaw in the cure, Michael deems it a failure despite it healing his condition.

He and Milo are still connected after all these years, but Michael refused to give him the “cure” which quickly drives a wedge between them that ends with Milo getting his hands on the other dose along with a more reckless intent behind his newfound abilities.

So, it’s a race against the clock to find a solution before Milo begins feasting on the populace as Michael desperately combats his urge to do the same.

To be blunt, the movie was insultingly predictable and the word “dull” would be an understatement.

The characters were pretty forgettable, the full extent of his powers isn’t explained and the CG effect that engulfs the entire shot when Michael is flying obscures everything far more than it should. It’s honestly pretty distracting.
One of the few enjoyable parts of the film was a fight scene about halfway through.

Michael and Milo go head-to-head for the first time and their scuffle takes them down into the subway.

During this part, there’s a really fun segment where they get to a corridor with rounded walls and the shot follows them spiraling around the shape of the hallway while trading blows before flying out the other end and skidding across the floor on their backs.

It’s nothing Earth-shattering, but it was a fun bit of the encounter that had some real energy to it, even if that sense of engagement was fleeting.

The acting is mostly fine. This might be a divisive take, but Jared Leto was serviceable as Dr. Michael Morbius.
With that being said, the supporting cast was hit or miss.

Despite being in the role of a powerful character that’s reveling in his newfound abilities, it’s clear to anyone that’s seen Matt Smith during his run on “Doctor Who” that he’s just not matching the energy, nor is he probably having a good time; justifiably so with a movie like this.

The score is probably the most forgettable part of this movie, say for the dramatic rendition of “People Are Strange” by The Doors that was used in the “Official Trailer.”

While this review of the movie seems scathing, it’s just from a position of disappointment, even when nothing great was expected of the movie.

It’s, overall, inoffensive. Far worse movies exist, but so do terrible movies that are at least enjoyable for one reason or another.

“Morbius” was neither wholly awful nor enjoyably bad. The movie was simply beyond dull.
While the full picture of where Sony is guiding their personal MCU is rather unclear, productions like this certainly don’t inspire confidence.

Rating: 2/5 Stars

Jonathan Ross is a fourth-year telecommunications major. To contact him, email jmr7304@psu.edu