There are some Matrix adjacent fight scenes in Morbius that might have you thinking it should be called Morpheus. They’re nowhere near that level in quality and some of them are such a CG mess that you can’t tell what’s happening. Should our hero and villain bite the red artery or suck the blue vein? Despite its connective tissue to Sony’s Spider-Man Universe (meaning the web slinger and Venom), it’s hard to really care.
Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) is a world renowned expert in blood disorders. The experience is personal as he has one and makes it his life work to cure himself and others. His childhood friend Milo (Matt Smith) suffers from the same disease and has the money to bankroll Doc Mo’s research. A Costa Rican excursion results in the acquisition of vampire bats. Perhaps some genetic splicing will do the trick!
This is when Morbius is blessed and cursed with the batty sense. He feels better than ever (and looks jacked), but has to feast to keep the strength up. His desire to go full Dracula prevents him from offering the cure to Milo. That puts a strain on their friendship causing Milo to go full overacting bad guy.
While our title character tries to get by on artificial blood, many of the visual effects look pretty fake. There’s no real development of the supporting characters. This includes Adria Arjona as Morbius’s colleague/love interest, Jared Harris as his father figure and medical mentor, and Tyrese Gibson and Al Madrigal as detectives tracking the suckers. Maybe their time was cut. Maybe the filmmakers (with Daniel Espinosa in the director’s seat) are saving some for hoped for sequels. Tyrese is apparently signed for a three-picture deal which explains his curiously fast appearance.
In the first half, Morbius is a passable enough monster mash. Maybe even a little quaint as it sort of feels like a late 90s genre piece before most comic book movies came with $200 million budgets. I’m not sure I buy Leto as a brilliant physician turning down Nobel prizes, but he doesn’t embarrass himself. This sputters as the effects render it increasingly incomprehensible.
By the time it drops in Spidey references in the mid credits sequences, it’s gotten desperate. In this Spider-Verse, Morbius doesn’t reach the specific heights of the venomous creatures preceding it.
** (out of four)