Written by Jack Ransom
Apparently time travel does exist because I’m pretty sure I took a trip back to 2003 for 104 minutes whilst watching Morbius. Firstly, i'd like to note that I pretty much wholly enjoyed this purely on a ‘so bad it’s good’ level, which surely should count for something when reviewing a film. However objectively speaking, Morbius frequently flirts with being outright terrible and substantially average.
After 7(Yes, seven) delays since the pandemic began around this time last year, Sony’s second Spider-Man villain spin-off solo anti-hero finally arrives on the big screen. Morbius sees biochemist Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) try to cure himself of a rare blood disease, but he inadvertently infects himself with a form of vampirism instead.
Narratively speaking there really is nothing truly tangible here. Clearly chopped down and reworked in the editing room to jump along its 104 minute runtime. The transitions from location to location are incredibly jarring at points and countless key narrative progression moments occur off-screen. A simplistic origin and messy to non-existent character motivations (especially from the antagonist) are the only two elements that make up this feature. In between are familiar power training montages, an admittedly welcome amount of action scenes and my personal highlight: layers of early-2000’s cheese and weirdness.
Many will probably be thinking if or where this fits into the wider multiverse/MCU… and they will have to keep wandering, because it really is not clear at all. To the surprise of no-one, elements of the trailers have been removed in the final cut and the post-credit scenes are outright jaw-dropping and hysterical in their ridiculousness. I can only imagine Kevin Feige’s utter bitter resentment at collaborating with Pascal and co. on this universe after viewing the second one especially.
Visually the film looks exactly as you would expect from a Sony production. Slick futuristic labs, frequent darkened night-time settings and the main character wearing a hoodie 90% of the time. The visual effects for Morbius’ transformation and appearance in general is spot on to the character and I’m a fan of the way his echolocation is presented.
The action is all CGI heavy chaos, with the frequent implementation of slow-motion and the bizarre and messy smoke that follows the titular character around. Morbius’ first appearance is probably the highlight of the film. He tears through the mercenaries with ease and the usage of first person POV shots adds some creativity to the sequence. The finale brawl is a complete mess of noise, bats and visual effects and the couple of chases in between are simply okay. Again, this is probably another project that would have benefited from a lashing of blood and gore.
Leto simply lacks the charisma to make Dr. double M an engaging character. His personality is all over the place (especially his comedic timing which is just terrible), he mutters his way through the script and only aesthetically captures the look of the character with his clear physical commitment to the role. Matt Smith clearly knows what film he is in and hams it up to the maximum level. Dancing, snarling, throwing tantrums in his own exaggerated British accent… it’s all good fun. Everyone else involved is utterly disposable (minus Adria Arjona, who is just the generic love interest) and bigger names Tyrese Gibson & Jared Harris are completely wasted.
Morbius is a largely generic affair sprinkled with goofy moments, so-bad-it’s-good dialogue and mediocre run-of-the-mill comic book action. The short runtime, visual effects for Morbius himself and a couple of entertaining action beats aside, Sony’s self-proclaimed “New Marvel Legend” will be quickly forgotten.