Back in 2018, Sony released Venom in theaters in hopes to kick start a Spider-Man cinematic universe…without Spider-Man. After Venom performed pretty well at the box office, Sony decided to move forward with their cinematic universe with their next entry: Morbius. Starring Jared Leto, fresh off his “success” on Suicide Squad, let’s dive into this mess of a movie.
Dr. Michael Morbius is a successful and innovative doctor who created a form of blue artificial blood that has saved the lives of more people than Penicillin (that’s literally what the movie says). However, he is also ironically dying from a blood-related disease which he shares with his surrogate brother Milo (played by Matt Smith). Dr. Morbius finds a cure, however, he realizes it turns him into a vampire-like creature. As he struggles to contain his vampiric thirst for human blood, Milo takes Morbius’ serum and begins feeding off of the people in New York. Meanwhile, the FBI begin investigating the murders and begin to go after Dr. Morbius.
Morbius was originally announced to be released on July 10, 2020, but was later pushed back to July 31. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these plans were delayed and the film would keep getting pushed back almost two years later. During this time, Sony would release a few trailers to keep potential audiences interested. However, with the Marvel Cinematic Universe releasing Spider-Man: No Way Home, fans began caring less and less about Morbius, to the point of some even thinking it already came out.
Upon initial release, many critics and viewers dubbed this film as the worst Marvel movie ever made. Do I think that’s the case? As someone who has seen A LOT of Marvel movies, I can safely say that this is far from the worst. However, it certainly isn’t good by any means. The film has no sense of plot consistency, with several scenes feeling out of place or poorly integrated. For example, after Morbius learns that Milo took the serum and has been framing him, the movie cuts to Milo working out and flexing in the mirror to some cringey music. When I first saw this scene, I couldn’t stop laughing at how ridiculous it looked!
While Jared Leto is a very capable actor and has done amazingly well in movies such as Requiem for a Dream, he has nothing much to work with in Morbius. All of his lines are delivered in a very stiff and monotonous manner, as if he didn’t have time to get a good feel for the scene. Dr. Morbius is portrayed as a likable jerk similar to Tony Stark or Dr. Strange, but he never comes off as likable, only a self-absorbed jerk. The best performance in this film easily goes to Matt Smith as Milo. Smith was previously best known for his work on BBC’s Doctor Who and is the only one who seems to be having fun throughout this film. His performance can be best described as Colin Farrell’s Bullseye from Daredevil (2003) combined with Dacre Montgomery’s Billy from Stranger Things with a pinch of Nicolas Cage from Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. Smith stole every scene he was in and provided the film with a jolt of energy that I found was lacking throughout its runtime.
Regarding continuity, this film is in a rather tricky place. While it starts off taking place in the Sony Spider-Man Cinematic Universe, in a mid-credits scene, it’s revealed that Michael Keaton’s Adrian Toomes is somehow transported to the Sony Universe by Dr. Strange’s spell. He then is released from prison, since he wasn’t supposed to be there and calls Morbius. In another mid-credits scene, Morbius meets with Toomes, who now suddenly has his Vulture suit from Spider-Man: Homecoming. Toomes wants revenge on Peter Parker and suggests that he and Morbius create the Sinister Six.
First off, how did Vulture get transported to the Sony Universe? I thought he accidentally brought people over to the MCU? Second, why would Morbius agree to join Toomes? Throughout the film, Morbius comes off mostly as an anti-hero, not a full-fledged villain. And thirdly, this mid-credits scene is completely ruined by the fact that Michael Keaton was seen in the Morbius trailer! Sony literally spoiled their own mid-credits scene! It would be like if Venom: Let There be Carnage featured Tom Holland in their trailer! Lastly, I’d like to ask the question, why introduce the idea of the Sinister Six in THIS movie? Wouldn’t it make more sense to do so in a Spider-Man film?
While not the absolute worst Marvel movie I’ve seen, Morbius certainly isn’t a pleasant watch. In an age where superhero and comic book movies are soaring both critically and at the box office, Morbius reminds us of how bad superhero films can be. With stiff performances from most of the cast outside of Matt Smith, very messy fight scenes full of crappy CGI and an end credits sequence that will give you a seizure, I would not recommend a second viewing for Morbius. If you’re looking for a fun action movie featuring vampires, I would direct you to the Underworld films.