When, as a child, Michael (Charlie Shotwell, “All the Money in the World”) fixed the transfusion device keeping a new patient suffering from the same rare blood disorder as himself with the spring from a ball point pen, saving his life, his doctor (Jared Harris) promised to get him into a special school. Years later, the doctor specializing in rare blood disorders becomes a Nobel Prize winner for his work, but the illegal experiment he conducts on himself aided by colleague Martine Bancroft (Adria Arjona, "Pacific Rim: Uprising") utilizing vampire bat DNA backfires, solving his immediate health issues with monstrous consequences in “Morbius.”
Laura's Review: C+
While the latest Marvel origin story features plenty of bats, it doesn’t hold a candle to “The Batman.” Held from release since 2020, the latest franchise hopeful from "Dracula Untold" writers Matt Sazama & Burk Sharpless and director Daniel Espinosa ("Snabba Cash," "Life") feels like a grade C “Spider-Man” retread that has been tinkered with in editing, rendering a choppy narrative. About the best thing going for it is a lead performance from Jared Leto in which we actually get to see the real Jared Leto half of the time.
As in “Spider-Man” we have a scientific pursuit where creepy crawler DNA is combined with our protagonist’s, resulting in super powers and public distrust. Granted, Morbius’s soon-controlled desire for human blood makes him more an anti-hero, but he also has a best friend, that little boy from he hospital he’s dubbed Milo (Matt Smith, "Last Night in Soho"), who also ingests the serum against his wishes, becoming an arch enemy and public danger. Milo, who was established as a child as coming from great wealth, has been funding Morbius’s research and is jealous of his friend’s new vigor and apparent romantic life with his colleague Martine, yet we are given no idea as to how he accesses or identifies the serum, let alone has it injected.
Leto’s well known for pursuing transformational roles and the visual effects that give him the characteristics of a ferocious vampire bat are well done, but efforts to visualize his newfound echolocation abilities are hit and miss, waving cilia within his ears effective but vortexes of wispy colors failing to suggest intended wind vectors. Battle scenes between the transformed Morbius and Milo are so awash in CGI, the movie loses any semblance of reality. The entire film has a dingy look perhaps meant to signify its 1980’s NYC setting (but failing).
“Morbius” also has a pair of FBI agents, Simon Stroud and Alberto Ramirez, on his tail with “Fast and Furious’s” comic relief Tyrese Gibson playing the straight man against comedian Al Madrigal. Do stay for the obligatory closing credit stingers which offer some level of promise in the introduction of Adrian Toomes and suggestion of the Sinister Six.
Robin's Review: C
Biochemist Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) suffers from a rare blood disease and vows to cure himself and others in the same plight. But, the cure, it turns out, is far worse than the disease which the good doctor will soon find out in “Morbius.”
Not that I am any kind of an expert on “The Spider-Man Universe” that was originally spawned from the Marvel Universe. Truthfully, I thought they were the same universe. Now, there is a new entry that, unlike, the familiar MU faces, I had not a clue about.
Since this is a fan movie, I am not going to bother describing it and what happens, Instead, I would like to reflect on “why” Morbius. As I think about it, the major superhero franchises were, at the start, based on the popularity of their super characters in the comic book world. Superman, Batman and Spider-Man were all characters that had a huge reader base and their transition to the big screen – with the early special F/X – was a logical path to follow. Then along came Thor, Loki and the rest of the Avengers that had a reader base but not like the above-named heroes. This watering down of the superhero franchise spawned “Morbius.”
First off, you would have to have lived under a rock to NOT know Superman, Spider-Man and the rest. They are, after all, cultural icons, but who the heck is Dr. Michael Morbius? The obscurity of the Morbius character in the MU franchise seems to have run into trouble with “Morbius” for any but the diehard fans. I, for one, do not really give a darn about a new vampire franchise that resembles, in many ways, the “Blade” series, but without the angst.
I know that the fans will spend their time and money to see the latest Spidey-verse version entry and more power to them. But, for everyone else without that fandom fervor, why bother?
Sony opens "Morbius" in theaters on 4/1/22.