Huzzah! Morbius is a film that actually exists! After six delays and lots of questions about the projects impact on the Sony’s Spider-Man Universe, Jared Leto’s vampire antihero debuts with a rushed, humorless (intended humor, that is) plot, but with enough intrigue and solid performances to make it an enjoyable outing.
Dr. Michael Morbius (Leto) has an extremely rare blood disorder which leads him to risk his own life for a cure, a decision that results in unexpected changes that lead to an internal struggle between good and evil. Morbius is a film that is very much in the spirit of 2021’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage in that the short runtime leads to a speedy story that doesn’t take any time to breath and ends up a bit of a choppy mess. For all of the talk about referring to Leto’s Marvel outing as a train wreck, I don’t subscribe to that. Morbius is an interesting character with remarkably virtuous aspirations who is played by a rather committed Jared Leto, an actor that I often don’t enjoy, but who is fully embodying this role form beginning to end. His respect for the character is what elevate the film where it otherwise could have crashed and burned. The inclusion of Matt Smith as the friend-turned-foe proves to be a great choice with Smith looking like he’s having a blast in every scene, leaning into the silly for a believable turn. Adria Arjona is also sound in her costarring role aside Leto’s Morbius, the moral compass in many ways. I wish I could say the same for Tyrese Gibson, but he blink and you’ll miss him (I’m assuming many cuts were made).
Where director Daniel Espinosa’s entry falters is in the spastic shift from scene to scene as the story starts on overdrive and never lets up. There are many instances where a scene ends with a character in a completely different position or location that is followed up by a continuation of said scene, but seems completely out of place. Similar can be said for the action; though the effects are honestly quite appealing and different, the speed in which the fight scenes are presented results in a hodgepodge of visual confusion. Isolated visuals, however, are stunning… some of the best use of unique effects that are quite pleasing. It all takes place while the thread of a shallow script weaves the story together, leaning into silliness more than a few times that will result in eye rolls galore (a nod to Hulk, for instance, with a line about what happens with Morbius is hungry).
Morbius is clearly a building block for Sony’s intent to build the larger universe and likely usher in the Sinister Six. Teases from the trailers are absent from the final project, likely a reworking of the film in light of Spider-Man: No Way Home. It all results in a serviceable film that is entertaining enough to actually leave me wanting to see more of the character, something I would have bet against just 24 hours ago. Antiheroes are the most fun to me because that struggle never ends. As a character, Morbius kicks ass. As a film, Morbius doesn’t do much to move the needle.
Morbius hits theaters this Friday.
Photo from The Verge