Film Review: Morbius

Sony’s latest attempt at making a Spiderverse work without Spiderman has arrived, and it is good that he swung out of this film (Warning: spoilers ahead).

It’s worth starting at the end with this film. The trailers heavily featured Michael Keaton’s character from the MCU, fuelling speculation about the ramifications of such a move and what that could mean for the film as a whole.

However, deceptive marketing is at play here. Keaton’s character does not appear in the main body of the film, only making brief appearances in both mid and post credits scenes. These appearances made no sense at all and were a rushed attempt at yet another Sinister Six tease. The Vulture suit also somehow looks worse in this universe, as though it is missing something.  

Going back to the main film, it is safe to say that it is a complete mess. Little context is given for why the film opens where it does, confusing the audience right off the bat. The story also fails to explain other key concepts, arbitrarily deciding it must be so for plot reasons.

The concept of artificial blood is introduced, and Morbius drinks it to stay away from drinking real blood and killing people. But in order to drive part of the conflict of the film, the artificial blood loses its effectiveness each time Morbius has it. Why is this? The film never says.

Matt Smith’s villainous turn also happens off-screen, another vital bit of plot that must have been cut. Being such a short film means the narrative has to be concise with its detail, but Morbius fails to do so. Either the film needed lengthening to accommodate for this important explanation, or the prison sequence needs to be swapped out.

Talking of Matt Smith, he is probably the best part of the film. He clearly is having fun with his role with the villain Milo, even if the rest of the film is falling apart around him. The cgi on his face is awful though. The instruction seems to have been to go for a cartoon-look, but it fails to do even that.

Jared Leto gives a forgettable performance in this film as the titular character, but fails to make the role his own and simply comes across as a boring piece of cardboard. Actress Adria Ajona supports as Martine Bancoft, giving a perfectly adequate performance. The film doesn’t decide until late on what her relationship is to Morbius, resulting in a forced kiss and not an ounce of chemistry. 

Image credit: Columbia Pictures

Two other characters are Tyrese Gibson’s Simon Strudd and Al Madrigal’s Agent Rodriguez. They are two FBI agents exploring the many deaths left by Morbius and Milo, but otherwise have very little to do. Al Madrigal’s character draws particular ire, as everytime he is on screen he insists on making a hacky quip. Gibson’s job is simply to look annoyed at the quips, unknowingly standing in for the audience. With a longer run-time, these characters could have been something more.

Another issue about this film is its clear ripping off of better movies. A key example is how it rips off Batman Begins. The music for this film is eerily similar to the film, with the score clearly having been taken from the film. An early action scene is clearly inspired by the film, as well as the ability to call bats. Except in each instance Batman Begins does it better. 

Overall, the film harkens back to the early era of comic book films, in all the worst ways. A bright side is that it is only an hour and a half in length, but even that drags in places. Morbius is another example of a failed Sinister Six tease, but it goes far beyond that. 

Rating: 4/10

By Kieran Burt

Feature image: Columbia Pictures

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