It’s Morbin’ Time!

  • Directed by Daniel Espinosa
  • March 10, 2022 (Plaza Carso) / April 1, 2022 (US)

A scientist seeking a cure for his illness gives himself a condition far worse than the disease he was seeking to treat. Darn the luck!

Do you know what Morbius reminds me of? A mediocre direct to video feature. Entertaining and you’re glad you didn’t pay to go see it in a theater but rather took the cheaper option to watch it. That is more a comment on its worthiness as a theatrical release rather than its overall quality though it certainly does have quality issues.

This is supposed to be a superhero origin film where he fights the villain in an epic finale after a high stakes story, but it never reaches high stakes for anyone. I’ve said this before: a superhero story doesn’t have to save the world, but events have to matter to the world of the character and here those events at the center never reached that level. Morbius (Jared Leto) ends the story barely different from how he began. I dare say without his conflict in the story he would have come to his endpoint quicker.

Matt Smith costars as Morbius’s lifelong friend Lucien/Milo. The reason for the two names really means nothing ultimately to their relationship in the movie. Morbius has spent his whole life working on a cure for the rare disease the two share (darn that luck!) and as is often the case the cure is worse than the disease. Aside from a need for blood it does grant the good doctor cool powers. Milo at some point (the dialogue to me implies a few points) steals the cure, uses it, and frames Morbius as a killer.

Why? Because his friend denied him the cure because of the side effects, and he now wishes to force him to embrace his new normal. It is a really big swing from one end to the other with no indication that such a big change was possible between these two brothers from another mother.

The story is supposed to be two friends facing off against each other. But there’s no emotional stakes in this because we get very little construction of their relationship as adults and minimal as children. They just are. That makes the eventually crumbling of it one big ‘Meh.’ You do not really care. Jared Leto and Matt Smith have no friend chemistry as their characters. They’re little better than work buddies.

Dr. Martine Bancroft (Adria Arjona) is a woman Morbius has been crushing on for years and seems to have a touch of the hots for him too. Much like Smith and Leto, Leto and Arjona have virtually no chemistry. They could be buddies but not romantically involved.

Perhaps it’s because Morbius feels like it lacks a reason to be. I know all films are a moneymaking venture, but they are such to tell a story. The hero has to get an origin and he has to have a villain to fight and he has to come out okay on the other side in some fashion. This though does just that but it doesn’t feel like it’s an outgrowth of events or the situation the characters are put in. It feels like the writers are checking off a list of what must be done in the movie. Admittedly they are trying to ride the superhero wave and make a buck but it should feel like you have a story to tell.

This film just goes to the motions. It doesn’t try to be anything special but rather plays it safe. It never finds its own voice. The directing is competent and the script is competent but it’s just something that is not worth a theatrical release and barely worth being made into a movie.

Morbius is very concerned with creating cool visuals. And perhaps those cool visuals are to hide a weak story. Morbius and Milo have this smoke trail thing going on what they use their powers. We get some bullet time crap going on here and camera shots that are nice to look at but clearly CGI.

I watched this movie though and I think with a little judicious editing such as removal of the slow motion stuff and a new scene here and there, this could’ve been something special. Morbius is a horror oriented character and it should’ve been done as a horror film to emphasize that. Personally I would’ve kept his origin more as a series of flashbacks. I also would’ve used the character of Hunger which Matt Smith was originally supposed to play as the villain rather than create a new character.

The end of the story was not an outgrowth of events but rather they reached the limit of filming allowed by the budget and wrapped it up with a moment mildly reflective of the opening to give the illusion of narrative symmetry.

In the end Morbius is not a disappointment but it’s nothing worth seeking out. If you watch you won’t be disappointed but unless somebody else puts it on don’t go taking a look. You can skip it.

Published by warrenwatchedamovie

Just a movie lover trying spread the love.

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