One of the most compelling and conflicted characters in Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters comes to the big screen as Oscar® winner Jared Leto transforms into the enigmatic antihero Michael Morbius. Dangerously ill with a rare blood disorder and determined to save others suffering his same fate, Dr. Morbius attempts a desperate gamble. While at first it seems to be a radical success, a darkness inside him is unleashed. Will good override evil – or will Morbius succumb to his mysterious new urges?
One of the most important things you can give someone is your word. It’s the most important promise and bond one person can offer another. However, what happens in a situation where the vow has to be rescinded? Do the circumstances have to be life or death or should the other person simply trust you? The issue you face now is that the trust that your word is built upon is now in question. What do you do?
“Drink the red or die.”
We are finally entering into the aesthetically darker, more supernatural, and horror-filled realm of the MCU. Are you ready? The stakes are higher on a personal level, the line between hero and villain gets blurrier by the moment, and death is never off the table. Directed by Daniel Espinosa, Morbius is a grim action-thriller that is full of potential but misses the mark. It’s where an exciting blood-thirsty anti-hero meets a scatterbrained origin story. Fortunately for us all, Jared Leto has found a comic book character in Morbius that is going to stick. Based on his performance filled with subtle strength, a calm yet fierce demeanor, and hero-like reluctance, I have no doubt that his future with this Morbius will be thrilling.
When it comes to the film, however, it seemed to have a bit of an identity crisis or a Frankenstein issue. It either didn’t know if it wanted to go full horror or typical hero origin or it is different story directions spliced together. It feels incomplete. At times, it showed that it could do both aspects well, but mixing them together just didn’t fully work. Personally, I believe that they should have completely leaned into the horror direction. While the film is still pleasing to the eyes, stylistic when it comes to its superhuman aspects, and enjoyable, there are some characters and subplots that are set up for us to care about but they are never fully fleshed out. Now, you probably noticed that I mentioned the MCU in the first sentence, that was not a mistake. While what you see in the trailers is different from what takes place on screen, we will definitely see Michael Morbius in the future. Since this is an anti-hero story with an unforeseen twist, this film only features a few moments of heart or touching moments. It instead is fueled by anger, resentment, and a hulking will to live. The Morbius vampire look gets plenty of screentime and he looks glorious.
The action sequences look amazing, the acting is great, but I can’t help but wonder what a full cut of the film looks like. It may not be as fun or as funny as the other Marvel films but the character is one of the most interesting. Morbius will more than likely end up with a split reaction from fans, but on the side of loved it versus it was just okay. Nevertheless, Jared Leto proved why he should’ve gotten another shot as Joker. Oh well, DCs loss. This film could’ve been great. Its rewatchability is medium-high. There are two mid-credits scenes that you don’t want to miss.
Oh, I did catch an Easter egg that paid homage to writer Roy Thomas and artist Gil Kane who brought Morbius to the page. How many will you find?
Pacing & Pop
Unfortunately, the pacing of the film suffers a bit due to a lack of identity. As the film struggled to establish what kind of story it wanted to be, its tone and pace fluctuate. What popped for me was the look of Morbius in his vampire form and how often we get to see it. Also, there is an abundance of potential in the use of Morbius going forward.
Characters & Chemistry
Starring: Jared Leto, Matt Smith, Adria Arjona, Jared Harris, Al Madrigal, Tyrese Gibson
While Jared Leto did amazing and is a great addition to the Marvel family, it’s Matt Smith as Milo that steals the show. Smith’s performance is charged and full of a wide range of emotions. The two on-screen together are fantastic and destructive. Adria Arjona as Martine Bancroft brings some heart and level-headedness to the story. Despite where her character ends up, she and everyone else is underutilized.
Morbius releases in theaters on April 1, 2022. Stay safe and enjoy.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Runtime: 1h 44m
Director: Daniel Espinosa
Writers: Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless
Producers: Avi Arad, Matt Tolmach, Lucas Foster
Executive Producers: Jared Leto, Louise Rosner, Emma Ludbrook
Senior Critic. Observing the human race since 1988.