Morbius – Film Review
Directed by: Daniel Espinosa
Starring: Jared Leto, Matt Smith, Adria Arjona, Jared Harris, Al Madrigal, Tyrese Gibson
This appears to be taking its lead from Venom in trying to make a Marvel villain/ antihero a big-screen draw. Indeed, Venom’s influence is very obvious here in the shooting style, which is dark and brooding, much like leading man Leto. He takes on the role of the titular character Michael Morbius, a scientist who is attempting to cure his rare blood condition by experimenting with bat DNA. However, he instead succeeds in inflicting a form of vampirism upon himself. While he struggles with his lust for human blood his surrogate brother and friend Milo (Smith) embraces the vampiric side of his personality after he ingests the same serum leaving Morbius to try and stop his gleeful killing spree.
Leto gives an incredibly intense performance as Morbius while Smith seems to relish his villainous role. Unfortunately, there is zero chemistry between Leto and Arjona, who plays his love interest, Dr Martine Bancroft. This is frustrating as the script keeps telegraphing their romance but it falls very flat when it finally delivers. Harris, a fine actor, is completely underused as Morbius’s mentor and seems to mainly be here to deliver exposition.
If you are a fan of the comic books, this does take quite a few liberties with the source material. This may well irk diehard fans although the essential origins story stays the same. For those who are not familiar with the character, this will appear to be just another vampire movie. There are some nice nods to well-known vampire lore and films that fans of the genre will enjoy. However, overall this brings nothing new to the table and instead seems to try and play it as safe as possible.
The brother vs brother story is as old as Cain and Abel and has been done a lot better in other movies. Ironically, Smith was originally announced as playing a different antagonist from the MCU called Loxias Crown/Hunger but instead, this character was created for him. Yet I couldn’t help but feel that his original role would have been a far better adversary for Morbius.
This lacks the humour of Venom and takes itself far too seriously. Leto’s performance is wasted on an inoffensive and cliché driven script. It has some visually impressive action scenes but they can’t take away from the fact that this is ultimately rather bland. There is talk that we may soon see this character taking on his comic book foe Spider-Man or even teaming up with Venom. Perhaps given a more worthy Nemesis this character will shine but as an introductory big-screen outing this falls very flat.