More than a year and a half after its original release date, Morbius is here but, is it worth the wait?
Starring Oscar winner Jared Leto, Morbius focuses on Michael Morbius, a doctor attempting to create a cure for a terminal blood disorder. In the process, one of the trials goes wrong and he ends up turning himself into a vampire. Accompanying Leto is Matt Smith, Adria Arjona, and Jared Harris.
On paper, this premise lends itself to a fun, action packed adventure and from the trailers and other promotional pieces, it seemed there would be plenty of thrills. However, from the get go, the vampire antihero flick stumbled and was never able to re-gain its balance. The introduction and exposition of our lead character is done rather quickly and in an almost disorienting manner. From Costa Rica to the care facility he grew up in, it’s difficult to plant yourself in this world while the story is throwing you from one place to the net with little to no explanation as to what exactly we are supposed to be seeing.
During the exposition we are introduced to Milo, the childhood friend of Michael, who is also dealing with the same disease as Michael. In what feels like a blink and you’ll miss it type of introductory scene, much of the movie relies on the thin relationship between the childhood pals. While Michael attempts to take a more restrained approach to his new alter ego, Milo is much more eager to let the vampire loose and wreak havoc on the city.
Being a dark, vampire flick, one would expect the violence to have a bit of an edge to it. Instead, its apparent that these sequences were altered in order to reach a wider audience. Just before any hint of significant blood is shown, the camera cuts away to another angle of the action. It isn’t necessary to have a copious amount of blood needs to be seen, the fun that could be had as the vampires run around the city fighting, is eliminated.
Jared Leto has proven that he can turn in some strong performances. In particular, the one that won him an Oscar in Dallas Buyers Club. Recently, he took on the daunting task of portraying Paolo Gucci in Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci. His last large role in a superhero flick was in 2016’s Suicide Squad (which still divides fans over 5 years later). Now the star of his own film, he’s given a role he can really sink his teeth in, and he does. The same goes with his co star Matt Smith. Together, the two play off of each other as best they can with what they have been given.
The story of Michael Morbius, in the right hands could be a compelling one. Centering around a guy being overtaken by the monster inside him. However, it felt like this script was meant for a made for television (or streaming) horror flick. While there are three definite acts, it felt like each one was reliant on some big action sequence in order to keep your attention. Whether on a ship, down in the subway, or up in the city skyline the moments in between these lackluster fight sequences felt choppy and scattered. The story is guided forward by overly simplistic plot conveniences that will leave you rolling your eyes.
Verdict: Morbius feels like a film that would have been best left to the imagination. Jared Leto and Matt Smith sink their teeth into the roles but a choppy script and disappointingly tame action sequences keep this movie from coming to life.