An Overly Serious and Nonsensical Superhero Film

Sony Pictures released a teaser trailer for Morbius in January 2020 that promised a superhero-vampire thriller with Spider-Man graffiti on the wall, Tyrese Gibson playing a detective with a technologically-enhanced arm, and our leading man coming face-to-face with Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) from Spider-Man: Homecoming. All of this intriguing action was set to the tune of Beethoven’s “Für Elise”, which heightened the excitement of the fans. Unfortunately, in the two years it took to release this film, Morbius it has broken so many of its initial promises that the final product is unrecognizable, with anything close to a creative vision replaced by studio interference that is designed to set it up for future superior films.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is generally consistent in the quality of its movies and the volume of their impact. However, Sony’s Spider-Man Universe, which began with Poison in 2018, it feels more and more like a poor attempt to cash in on the success of the MCU, using the characters they own to create half-baked movies you’ll see because of the hype surrounding Spider-Man: No Way Home. while the two Poison Movies are fun and light-hearted pieces of entertainment that don’t take themselves seriously. Unfortunately, like its protagonist, Morbius it takes everything too seriously, resulting in a generic and uninteresting take on the superhero genre.

RELATED: Morbius director confirms Jared Leto used a wheelchair during filming

The film stars Jared Leto as Dr. Michael Morbius, a scientist with a rare blood disease. We learn about his disability and how he met his surrogate brother Milo Morbius (Matt Smith) through flashbacks to his childhood. Unfortunately, the flashbacks are awkwardly edited, with two scenes poorly put together. As a result, there isn’t enough time to build a genuine friendship, and the flashbacks feel like they’re initially longer, but much of the footage ended up on the cutting room floor.

The film follows Michael as he attempts to create a cure for himself and Milo, but this ultimately leads to disastrous and predictable consequences. It’s easy to foresee the journeys of each character in this story, as the film is generally free of surprises despite their best efforts. Unfortunately, once Michael undergoes the transformation and develops superhuman abilities, his goal becomes a blur and the story becomes aimless and slow-paced. The thin story surrounding Michael’s loved ones who are in peril is all too familiar, offering no new take on anything we’ve already seen do better.

Also, the script from writers Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless isn’t interested in delving into their characters beyond the surface level. Leto gives a moderately convincing performance as Michael, but his character isn’t very interesting on the page. Smith chews up the stage and dominates the screen as Milo, and is the most morally compelling character in the film. However, Milo’s relationship with Michael and his motivation to do what he does never amount to anything worthwhile, with a one-note conflict and a poor attempt to give it emotional center.

Adria Arjona’s portrayal of Martine Bancroft is one of the most heavily endorsed aspects of the film. She has very little to do before becoming Michael’s love interest in a scene that comes out of nowhere, given how little chemistry they shared earlier in the film. Also, as mentioned above, the film brings Fast and Furious star Tyrese Gibson as Simon Stroud, a previously announced character with a high-tech arm that Gibson championed in a Maxim Interview 2020. However, this weapon-friendly arm was removed entirely from the final film. This change removes anything potentially interesting about the one-dimensional cop character and shows how much this movie was trashed in post-production.

After a disappointing final battle that feels low-stakes due to its reliance on CGI, the superhero movie dares to give us not one, but two mid-credits scenes. Despite how he appeared in the trailer, Adrian Toomes has nothing to do with the whole story, he only comes to the end for a careless connection with Spider-Man: No Way Home that barely makes any semblance of sense. It’s clear what Sony is trying to set up with the mid-credits scenes, but if the execution of that idea is anything like the product we have here, Sony’s Spider-Man Universe could be in deep trouble.

Director Ramón Esperanza was clearly trying with this film and some of that initial promise survives the studio changes. As in any vampire movie, there are some horror elements and these sequences are decent. There are other little highlights, like the visual effects that surround Morbius as he flies, which ends up being the most unique quality this movie has. However, the nonsensical writing and Esperanza’s failure to direct a memorable action sequence is what keeps the film from being something worth watching. On the heels of superhero masterpieces like Spider-Man: No Way Home and the batman, Morbius it’s a movie you might stumble upon on cable TV and play in the background while you’re doing your chores instead of watching a date.

SCORE: 4/10

As ComingSoon’s review policy explains, a score of 4 equals “Poor”. The negatives outweigh the positives, making it hard to get over.

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