Too silly to take seriously, but too serious to be any fun, Daniel Espinosa’s Morbius suffers from a lack of vision and commitment from its stars and filmmakers.
Jared Leto stars as Dr. Michael Morbius, a brilliant scientist suffering from a rare blood disease that has been wrecking his body since childhood. Dr. Morbius is supported by his colleague Dr. Martin Bancroft (Adria Arjona) and his best friend Milo (Matt Smith), who also suffers from the same blood disease.
Morbius attempts to cure himself by using the genetic mapping of vampire bats to compliment his own DNA, in order to battle the blood disease. Morbius and Bancroft board a boat over international waters to test Morbius’ potential cure, but the side affects inflict Morbius with a form of vampirism, forcing him to feast on blood.
Following the incident on the boat, Morbius is pursued by a pair of FBI agents (Tyrese Gibson and Al Madrigal) while attempting to understand and control his newfound powers.
There must be some juicy behind-the-scenes material for the film, because that is the only explanation for what we get on-screen. Some of the characters like Arjona’s Bancroft, Gibson’s Simon Stroud, or Jared Harris’ Nicholas who are either wildly underdeveloped or underserved. Some scenes fly by with little explanation, while other drone on for unnecessary amounts of time.
The vampiric traits and abilities have some cool features, but there is either far too little, or far too much explanation. When Morbius discovers his echolocation, there is a clearly explained scene for what he is doing and how he controls it. On the flip side, he learns how to glide on the wind seemingly on a whim by jumping in front of a train.
I went in expecting some Venom style insanity. After all, it’s Jared Leto as a human vampire. Unfortunately, he plays it completely straight and subdued. He isn’t bad, but the energy and chaos present in Tom Hardy’s Venom performance would have been much better suited for this entire bland endeavor. I kept waiting for the unhinged insanity of House of Gucci or The Little Things, but he just is a quiet guy who occasionally turns into a vampire. That isn’t interesting, it’s boring.
Smith, on the other hand, is having the time of his life. While the other characters carry on about their business, Smith sleeks around and has some actual charisma on display. His motivations become a bit murky, but it doesn’t matter because he is the only one with any sort of fun personality. Madrigal also has some fun lines, injecting some much needed comedy into the otherwise humorless film.
The film is not actively terrible. It is somewhat watchable, but it would have been better if it was terrible. There is nothing fun to watch or make fun of. The makeup effects on Smith and Leto remind me of the bad guy from The Mask, so I got a nice self-chuckle every time I saw it. Outside of that, Morbius is immensely forgettable. The mid-credit’s scene attempts to connect the Sony/Marvel universe to the greater MCU, but even that is incoherent and unremarkable.
One day, maybe we’ll get the story about why this film is such a mess. I just wish it was a fun mess.