MORBIUS Review; "A Terrifying Reminder That Spider-Man Is Better Off In The MCU With Marvel Studios"

MORBIUS Review; "A Terrifying Reminder That Spider-Man Is Better Off In The MCU With Marvel Studios"

The review embargo for Morbius has finally lifted, and we're disappointed to report that after the fun joyride that was Venom: Let There Be Carnage, this is the worst example of a comic book movie...

Review Opinion
By JoshWilding - Mar 30, 2022 08:03 PM EST
Filed Under: Morbius

In 2018, Venom proved to be a crushing disappointment for many comic book fans. Despite failing to do the character justice, plenty of moviegoers did embrace Tom Hardy’s madcap take on Eddie Brock, and after it earned a whopping $856 million at the global box office, Sony’s Marvel Universe was born. Since then, a number of intriguing projects have started taking shape (including Kraven the Hunter and Madame Web), while Venom: Let There Be Carnage was such a huge improvement over its predecessor that it was hard not to start getting excited about this apparent alternative to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Throw in Spider-Man: No Way Home an absolute masterpiece of a movie - and Sony has built up a lot of goodwill these past few years. Unfortunately, Morbius just about obliterates it.

Telling the disjointed story of Dr. Michael Morbius, we follow the title character as he embarks on a poorly explained mission to use vampire bat DNA that will somehow cure an unnamed disease that’s slowly killing him. The movie certainly doesn’t get bogged down in the details, and it doesn’t take long at all until the Horizon Labs scientist is transformed into a Living Vampire. Morbius is never really scary (and a PG-13 rating makes this a rather bloodless affair), but it certainly does its best to make the anti-hero feel like a terrifying force of nature in a handful of standout moments that pay homage to his horror-inspired adventures on the page. Action scenes also impress, with director Daniel Espinosa unleashing some thrilling choreography, colourful effects, and exciting scenes in the midst of a story that mostly underwhelms. In the ways that really matter, this is an unremarkable movie, and Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless’ screenplay is lacking on original ideas. As a result, Morbius does too often feel like just another vampire. Espinosa does his best to elevate the material, but bad jokes ("Don’t make me hungry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m hungry") only serve to make this even more tedious viewing. The final battle is a sight to behold, but with such a weak villain, it's simply not enough to save the day.

That big bad is Milo, an amalgamation of Loxias Crown and Emil Nikos. He takes aim at Morbius after his childhood best friend refuses to share the cure that’s given him an insatiable appetite for blood (hardly unreasonable). After stealing the vial and letting his newfound bloodthirst get the best of him, Milo goes on a killing spree, all while Michael is left to try (well, sort of) and clear his name. That’s about all there is to this one, and there’s a lot of meandering before we get to the final battle and far too much time spent dealing with Milo’s transformation rather than Michael’s. Morbius very much feels like a movie that’s been put through a blender, with several key scenes from the trailers missing and some blatant reshoots scattered throughout. Remember Tyrese Gibson’s robotic arm that generated such a great deal of speculation online? The actor even said in an interview that the "arm has all kinds of special effects and powers" and "it’s my first time ever officially being a superhero." Well, here, he’s just a regular FBI agent who keeps his hand in his pocket throughout the movie before you catch a glimpse of his arm - not intentionally, we’re assuming - during his final scene. That’s it. There’s clearly a different version of Morbius out there, but we wouldn’t bank on it being any better.

On the plus side, Jared Leto’s take on the Living Vampire is an enjoyable one, and while the actor doesn’t quite get the chance to show enough of what he can do as this character, he seems to be having fun exploring this mild-mannered doctor’s transformation. We’d have loved to see Leto get really weird with this anti-hero, but the Oscar winner's take on the Marvel Comics creation is compelling enough to kind of make us hope there could be more stories to tell down the line. Adria Arjona is very good as Martine Bancroft in a role that’s mostly thankless, but Jared Harris, Tyrese Gibson, and Al Madrigal are all non-factors. However, the standout - and not in a good way - is Matt Smith. Not only is his villain awful, but after stinking out the joint in Terminator Genisys, the Doctor Who alum outdoes himself here with work that’s so terrible, he’d best be praying his return to television pays off in House of the Dragon. Whether Smith just isn't cut out for these blockbuster roles or is simply a bad actor (which seems a little harsh) is up for debate, but there’s really nothing good to say about his performance in Morbius, and his bizarre habit of breaking into dance or, really, being anything but intimidating ensures this villain won’t stick with you for any good reasons.

It’s a shame Morbius is a disappointment, but a bigger shame that the movie ultimately serves as a reminder that Sony still isn’t quite sure what to do with these characters. Perhaps that’s because they can’t truly work without Spider-Man, but there are comic books that prove otherwise, so who knows? Watching Morbius and comparing it to the teaser suggests plans to bring the wall-crawler into this world were scrapped when it became clear that fans want Tom Holland's Peter Parker to remain exclusively in the MCU. Either way, two post-credits scenes teasing Morbius’ future and bigger plans for this world may be what Avi Arad thinks fans want, but the're likely to frustrate and confuse in equal measure. Whoever thought these stingers were the right way to lay the groundwork for what’s coming next has to be incredibly misguided, and while we certainly wouldn’t be against seeing more of Morbius, it’s never good when a post-credits scene feels more like a threat than a tease of something actually worth getting excited about. They're that bad, and this is a movie that's probably about as much fun to endure as a bloodsucking courtesy of the Living Vampire himself.

Jared Leto’s transformation makes for compelling viewing, but the Living Vampire can’t elevate a disappointing story that serves as a powerful, dare we say terrifying, reminder that Spider-Man is better off (and safer) in the MCU with Marvel Studios.

MORBIUS Star Tyrese Shares Disappointment With Reduced Role And Confirms Major Fight Scenes Were Cut

MORBIUS Star Tyrese Shares Disappointment With Reduced Role And Confirms Major Fight Scenes Were Cut

MORBIUS: Michael Keaton On His Vulture Cameo: I’m Nodding Like I Know What The F*** They’re Talking About
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MORBIUS: Michael Keaton On His Vulture Cameo: "I’m Nodding Like I Know What The F*** They’re Talking About"

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GirshwinDavies - 3/30/2022, 8:04 PM
tylerzero - 3/30/2022, 8:05 PM
Surprise, surprise.
KWilly - 3/30/2022, 8:05 PM
This is gonna be Sony's X-Men Origins: Wolverine. A movie that's so bad, that will eventually just be retconned after awhile lol.

God, this instills no hope for the Kraven movie.
Shivermetimbers - 3/30/2022, 8:34 PM
@KWilly - I literally only want to see it now because of how bad it is getting reviewed. I want to see what these stupid singers are. They got me hyped about how terrible they are.
HeavyMetal4Life - 3/30/2022, 8:06 PM
"the fun joyride that was Venom: Let There Be Carnage"

But that film was shit too. Textbook mediocrity.
TheJester187 - 3/30/2022, 8:10 PM
@HeavyMetal4Life - Glad you know what’s up. Everybody praising both movies and I haven’t even seen 2 to know it’s nothing special. All mediocre and just a fas cash grab. Hate how Hollywood destroys great characters.
AmazingFILMporg - 3/30/2022, 8:20 PM
@HeavyMetal4Life -

Venom 2 was so bad. Andy really needs to stick with acting and stop directing.

TheWarThor - 3/30/2022, 8:09 PM
Sony are so unbelievably stupid. What will it take for them to understand they keep making movies nobody asked for, and people have no intention of watching?
PantherKing - 3/30/2022, 8:15 PM
@TheWarThor - it not the fact they are making movies no one asked for. It’s the fact that these fools don’t know what they’re doing and are still trying to rival the mcu with their own universe.
DefenderD - 3/30/2022, 8:55 PM
@TheWarThor - I am afraid they're well aware the movies they make are garbage, but also that they can just stick a post-credits or two there and one mention of Spider-Man to trick people into watching them.
TheHumanSpider2 - 3/30/2022, 9:47 PM
@TheWarThor - They just made close to $2B with NWH, Venom 2 is one of the biggest hits of the pandemic era, and Venom 1 still made more money than most MCU movies.
Why would they stop?
JDL - 3/31/2022, 3:48 AM
@TheHumanSpider2 - Feige et al did NWH. Sony stayed out of the way. But both Venoms did in fact do well at the B.O.. So did Thor 2. Short term winners. Long Term losers.
TheHumanSpider2 - 3/31/2022, 8:11 AM
@JDL - NWH was made by Sony, Sony made that money, stop with the "but feige" nonsense.

You watched NWH 5 times? you gave Sony money 5 times. You liked NWH? you liked a Sony movie.
JDL - 3/31/2022, 2:58 PM
@TheHumanSpider2 - Sony took vanishing little direct participation in the filming of NWH. They signed checks. If they disagreed with Disney's decisions they did have final say afaik. That's passive behavior and much less important than what Feige et al did.

As for the money remember that Disney gets 25%.
eGGtheGreat - 3/30/2022, 8:10 PM
No! I wish spiderman was still exclusively Sony!
SonOfAGif - 3/30/2022, 8:10 PM
I highly doubt Sony can live off of the Spider-Man No Way Home returns for too long. They are burning cash with these garbage spinoffs.
JDL - 3/31/2022, 4:09 AM
@SonOfAGif - HUH ???? Both Venoms made money. Reported prod costs were 90M & 110M. P&A on Carnage would have been low so even it made a profit before secondary revenue streams.

Morbius comes up at $75 prod cost so they'll likely make money too. Low costs makes a huge difference and if they can keep doing that they'll survive. Getting fancy is what they have to avoid.
MyCoolYoung - 3/30/2022, 8:11 PM
Josh doesn't give many straight up bad reviews so this one has to be bad. The trailers actually didn't look bad to me though I still wasn't expecting much. I'll still watch it though
HeavyMetal4Life - 3/30/2022, 8:15 PM
@MyCoolYoung - yeah, I thought some of the trailers were actually pretty solid. And better than the Venom trailers.
CaptainFlapjaks - 3/30/2022, 8:17 PM
@MyCoolYoung - Yeah if he enjoyed Venom 2 and says this is shit, then this might be one of the worst big budget movies of all time, let alone comic book movie
NateBest - 3/30/2022, 8:18 PM
@MyCoolYoung - My thoughts exactly... I think Josh and I have pretty similar tastes (I'm pretty easily entertained), so if he's saying it's bad, it must be pretty bad :(

I'll still watch it though :P
AmazingFILMporg - 3/30/2022, 8:21 PM
@NateBest -

*I'll still watch it though :P*

MyCoolYoung - 3/30/2022, 8:26 PM
@NateBest - man... at least it sounds like there's some standout visuals and Leto isn't bad as morbius. Probably some dumb fun to be had with it
MyCoolYoung - 3/30/2022, 8:27 PM
@HeavyMetal4Life - facts. Venom 2 trailers were as bad as the movie
MyCoolYoung - 3/30/2022, 8:29 PM
@CaptainFlapjaks - I don't give many scathing reviews but I don't see how anyone enjoyed Venom 2
CaptainFlapjaks - 3/30/2022, 8:52 PM
@MyCoolYoung - Agreed. It's an embarrassment of a film. Turning one of the scariest spidey villains into a laughing stock
TheWalkingCuban - 3/30/2022, 8:12 PM
I’ll come back to this review, I must witness this wreck for myself. Last tornado weather, I watched a video where an 18 wheeler got lifted by the wind and land on a cop car. And a tornado didn’t hit there! Just super windy. So that night I had a dream that trash cans and cars were floating away and landing on people. It was scary. I wonder what horrors await my dreams after I watch Larry David’s Morbius
DoubleD - 3/30/2022, 8:18 PM
UPDATE: Rotten Tomatoes currently has THREE Fresh reviews for Morbius with 11 total :)

Morbius director Daniel Espinosa goes in the other direction. If it’s something you’ve seen before, like a rooftop battle, he’ll give you just enough and no more. But if it’s something new, something interesting between the characters, he lavishes time.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4

Morbius is a film that requires one to play along and enjoy the project for what it is. While one absolutely could sit shaking their head as the film plays, it feels entirely possible to get onto the same wavelength as the project and enjoy the ride.

You dont have to be a Marvel maven to understand and enjoy Morbiusin fact, its probably better if you arent. Overall, its an entertaining, fast-paced sci-fihorror vampire flick.
bobevanz - 3/30/2022, 8:53 PM
@DoubleD - do you work for Rotten Tomatoes lmao
DoubleD - 3/30/2022, 9:16 PM
@bobevanz - MORBIUS 7 Fresh Tomatoes :)

PG-13 2022, Fantasy/Mystery & thriller, 1h 44m


45 Reviews
GhostDog - 3/30/2022, 8:20 PM
The post credit scenes prove that SONY IS DEFINITIVELY RUN BY MORONS
Shivermetimbers - 3/30/2022, 8:37 PM
@BlackBeltJones - Must watch just to see them at this point. I am seething with anticipation.
PantherKing - 3/30/2022, 8:43 PM
@Shivermetimbers - seems like you’re the only one
GhostDog - 3/30/2022, 10:07 PM
@Shivermetimbers - LOL yea I kind of want to see them now
DrReedRichards - 3/30/2022, 8:20 PM
I'm legit surprised it even has a 2nd star out of 5
DarthOmega - 3/30/2022, 8:22 PM
Not a single one of the trailers did anything for me. The only thing that got me interested was the MCU tie-ins.
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