Morbius: Marvel’s Latest in Review

“Morbius” is the latest film in Sony’s shared universe of “Spider-Man” spinoffs, and the third film overall after the 2018 “Venom” and last year’s sequel “Venom: Let There Be Carnage.” While not a complete disaster in the vast realm of comic book superhero blockbusters, it still presents a middling experience that feels like a holdover from a different era of superhero movies (and not just because of delays from its initial summer 2020 release due to the novel coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.)

The film follows Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto, Zack Snyder’s “Justice League”,) who is a virologist seeking to cure himself and his childhood friend Lucian (Matt Smith, “Doctor Who”) of a rare blood disease. After an experiment gone awry, he does so, but also turns himself into a living vampire that must feed on human blood to stabilize his condition. 

The resulting film may not be the worst movie under the Marvel banner, but clearly doesn’t rise to the heights of other recent efforts such as “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” This also raises questions about the future of this spinoff series, as does a brief credits cameo from Michael Keaton as the Vulture.

Though the film sports a $75 million budget, many of the film’s special effects and action scenes look and feel like they were pulled from comic book movies released in the 1990s and early 2000s. The CGI on both Morbius himself and a lab rat in an early scene look as if they would be more at home in a PlayStation 2 game, and the film has the tonal whiplash of a gothic horror film mashed up with an urban romantic comedy about culture clash. 

That said, the film isn’t completely without its good aspects. Both Leto and Smith do make the most of the material as leads, and their performances are a notable highlight. The sight of Morbius binging blood bags like pouches of Capri-Sun is in the same vein of hilarity as Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock taking a bath in a restaurant lobster tank. Even if the film is not one you have to go out of your way to see, don’t be surprised if you spend the film’s 104-minute runtime stifling unintentional laughter.

While the film’s critical and box office performance is unlikely to impact the upcoming third “Venom” movie (as well as in-development spinoffs centered around Madame Web and Kraven the Hunter,) “Morbius” still makes for a mediocre, but unintentionally and bloody hilarious third outing in the Sony Spider-Man Universe.

Starring Jared Leto, Matt Smith, Jared Harris, Tyrese Gibson, Adria Arjona and Al Madrigal

Directed by Daniel Espinosa

Rated PG-13

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