After a release and marketing cycle that can only be described as confusing, “Morbius” has finally been distributed into theaters.
The film surrounds Morbius, the Living Vampire, a Marvel character that oftentimes appears as a Spider-Man villain. Jared Leto plays this titular character, while Matt Smith, Adria Arjona, Jared Harris, Al Madrigal and Tyrese Gibson are in supporting roles.
Sony’s universe of Spider-Man characters has not gotten off the best of starts, at least critically. Both “Venom” films did not receive the kindest of critical receptions, though they performed fairly well at the box office. Sony is looking for “Morbius” to be well-received and truly kick this universe into full gear.
Well, unfortunately, things just got worse for Sony.
Plain and simple, “Morbius” is not good. It is most definitely one of the worst comic book films released in recent years.
To start, the entire plot of “Morbius” can be described as the plot of 2018’s “Venom.” It’s not even subtle about it. The story is literally the same, from the action to the story beats.
The main difference between “Venom” and “Morbius” is the lead performance. Jared Leto has far less charisma than Tom Hardy, and it really shows in this film. While “Venom” is largely carried by Hardy’s lovably unkempt Eddie Brock, Leto’s Dr. Michael Morbius is difficult to root for, which is problematic for a film centered around his character’s supposed greater morality.
The writing is quite subpar, for one being a retread of the first “Venom” plot but also with some odd rhythm and pacing. “Morbius” makes baffling decision after baffling decision, ultimately culminating in a film that leaves you completely bewildered at what you truly just watched. Character development is nonexistent in this film. One could argue “Morbius” is without characters as well, as the people we see in the film are archetypes rather than fleshed out individuals. The post-credits scenes, which in any superhero project are meant to be a big reveal, are extremely confusing and make zero sense in the Marvel canon.
“Morbius” even has a solid supporting cast, who I wish were given larger roles in the picture. Harris is a great actor, and is supposedly the fourth lead cast member in the film, but barely appears in the picture. Gibson, Madrigal and Arjona are pretty good as well, but are given extremely limited material to work with. Smith is also a fantastic actor, and there are glimpses of his skill and charisma in this film, but he is constrained by the film itself.
Visually is where the movie is most questionable. There are honestly times where “Morbius” looks like a B-movie. The visual effects are some of the worst for a major movie of its stature, with its lead characters looking worse than some video game characters. The whole film’s visual style is pretty uninspired, with the action scenes lacking creativity in design and execution. “Morbius” is definitely channeling a horror-film vibe, but it does not go all-in, leaving the audience confused and the film feeling splintered.
The only positive for “Morbius” is that the title card looks pretty cool, but of course that is before the film even begins.
Ultimately, this film is one of the worst comic book films of recent memory and is truly a disaster for Sony’s Spider-Man-adjacent universe.