Morbius is the latest film in Sony’s Spider-Man Universe although at this point they might as well call it Sony’s Only Tangentially Connected B-List Marvel Character Universe. The plot follows genius biochemist Dr Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) who is afflicted with a rare blood disorder that renders him weak and in need of several daily blood transfusions. His experiments with vampire tats lead him to develop of version of vampirism while still being alive.
In the Marvel comics Morbius was called a living vampire since he had not died and was still technically alive, which is ironic because this film from Life and Child 44 director Daniel Espinosa is entirely lifeless. Morbius is a bloodless film about blood, lifeless about life and lacking in forward momentum. Espinosa is unclear what genre he is making a film in, much like Sony’s first Venom, this film cannot decide if it’s a superhero origin story or a horror film and so flits between the two like a bat in the dark.
Leto is at his worst. Morbius has no character to speak of, simply spouting pseudo-science about synthetic blood and real blood for the runtime. Adria Arjona gets the thankless role as his love interest and doctor colleague, and Jared Harris picks up a check with the look of a man who feels a little embarrassed to cash it in. None of them get anything remotely interesting to do. Tyrese Gibson and Al Madrigal also appear to be in from different films, clearly there to set up further appearances in the franchise as a bionic arm FBI agent and a dorky partner.
It’s only really Matt Smith as Morbius’ lifelong friend and fellow sufferer Milo who gets anything interesting to do. Smith relishes the sort of Patrick Bateman (and should that be Bat-Man) role and his scenes at least attempt to bring something to the table. It should also be noted that the design of the vampiric faces is pretty affective, monstrous while also alluding to the human below.
The issue is, this is such a shameless riff on other films it can’t stand alone. The final thirty seconds are begging to set up sequels, while shots reference films like Batman Begins. It could be that the genre has alluded Espinosa’s abilities but in reality it’s probably that the studio got involved. Scenes put in every trailer are nowhere to be seen. It’s a horrific mish-mash of other films that ends with two CGI monsters punching each other into walls while screaming about “ultimate power”.
While Venom: Let There Be Carnage fully embraced the absurdity of it’s concept and made good on the first film, Morbius doesn’t have what made that first Eddie Brock adventure at least fun at times. Considering how weird Leto is as a person you would expect that he could bring some unhinged energy like Tom Hardy did, but by the end of the film he just looks like Jared Leto on a regular Tuesday.
This vampire has no bite.
Morbius is out in cinemas now.