The Reel Review

C-

A biochemist suffering from a crippling, rare blood disease is transformed into a bloodthirsty vampire with superhuman strength after infusing his DNA with vampire bat DNA, in this Sony Spider-Man Universe fantasy/horror starring Jared Leto as the titular Marvel Comics character. Leto’s Morbius finds himself racing against the clock to create an antidote as his best friend, who also suffers from the same blood disease, infects himself and goes on a bloodthirsty killing rampage.

A heavily-CGI’d Jared Leto in Morbius.

For so many things going for it – a huge $75 million budget, a mind-boggling amount of CGI, the Marvel Comics name and Leto’s starpower – Morbius sure is one sad dud of an MCU-adjacent film. It’s like what Batman would be if he were a scientist who never left his laboratory. The limp screenplay from Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless has little to no energy and just as bad, makes little to no sense. What exactly IS this rare blood disease that plagues Morbius and his bestie-turned-enemy, played by Matt Smith (The Crown)? Why did Morbius reject a Nobel Prize at the start of the film?  What’s the relationship with his female colleague? How is Morbius able to go unnoticed amidst the rising body count by just wearing a hoodie? We have questions. But we never get answers.

Jared Leto in Morbius.

Leto’s listless, dead-eyed performance makes him look more like the victim of a vampire attack, or worse, Kristen Stewart, than a superhero. And while Smith’s more kooky, over the top performance is at least entertaining, the mish-mash of CGI from director Daniel Espinosa (Life) and its slow-motion color trails is just so phony that none of it is remotely believable. Morbius is a boring miss.

REEL FACTS

• Filmed in 2019, Morbius originally was slated to open at theaters on July 10, 2020, but suffered from multiple delays, some due to the COVID-19 pandemic, others due to rewrites and re-edits, and then to make room for the much more popular Spider-Man: No Way Home, which released in December 2021.

• The cargo ship in the first half of the movie is named the Murnau, the same name as the ill-fated cargo ship in the 1922 vampire classic Nosferatu, which arrived in port with its crewmembers all dead, drained of their blood.

• Matt Smith, who had turned down other superhero roles, joined Morbius after being encouraged by his Doctor Who co-star Karen Gillan (Guardians of the Galaxy).

 

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