Was MORBIUS Truly That Bad? An Exploration Of Sony's Infamous Superhero Film

Was MORBIUS Truly That Bad? An Exploration Of Sony's Infamous Superhero Film

Morbius was panned critically upon release and over time became an internet meme. But was the film truly as bad as it's made out to be? Let's dive into the movie to see if that is indeed the case.

Feature Opinion
By DanielKlissmman - Jun 17, 2022 05:06 PM EST
Filed Under: Morbius

Few films have experienced the roller-coaster trajectory that Morbius has had. Starring Jared Leto and directed by Safe House's Daniel Espinosa, the movie appeared to come with high expectations from Sony, being only the third entry in its nascent Spider-Man-inspired franchise. Upon release, though, it did not yield the positive financial or critical results expected of it.

It's important to note that the Jared Leto-led pic was not the first critical shortcoming for Sony's superhero efforts. Venom was not well-received critically, (30% "Rotten" Tomatometer score with an 80% Audience score), but still became a financial behemoth, with a $856 million global haul against a comparatively measly $100-million budget. 

Its follow-up, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, fared slightly better, garnering a 58% "Rotten" and 84% Audience scores, and finished its theatrical run with a global cume of $506 million — an impressive amount given its release at the tail end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

What was different about Morbius is that it didn't enjoy the same (admittedly lopsided) success. It was panned critically, garnering a 16% Tomatometer score (Audience score of 71%). Unlike its predecessors, however, it only made $163 million worldwide.

Surprisingly, out of the ashes of disappointment, the movie found new life through mockery, as internet users rallied behind the hashtag "It's Morbin' Time," a fake line from the film which became an online phenomenon. Sony appeared to take advantage of Morbius' infamy, re-releasing it to paltry financial results. With that, Morbius remained a beacon of ridicule in the film and comic book communities.

The criticism directed against the movie was such that, much like other derided superhero projects like Batman & RobinFantastic Four (2015) and Batman v Superman: Dawn of JusticeMorbius became a blemish on the comic book-movie genre.

The film is often treated as a dreadful experience with little to no redeeming qualities. Yet, the apparent mass dislike of it makes it worth asking: was Morbius actually that bad? Subjectively speaking, not really. Let's dive into why.

The Story 


Much has been said about the plot of Morbius, from it being nonsensical to outrageously boring. In reality, it was neither. The story was... well, just fine — neither excellent nor atrocious. Its pacing had some issues, and the end left a lot to be desired, cutting to black in a pivotal moment that saw Morbius flying away from his fight with Milo while his partner, Martine Bancroft, resurrected as a vampire.

Other than that, Morbius is a fairly straightforward experience: entertaining and accessible. There's nothing groundbreaking about it. It's, simply put, a fun standalone adventure. Keep in mind, its simplicity does not make it flawless. The movie has a few plot holes and inconsistencies (Michael randomly finding criminals with an underground lab and his unexplained stay at a Greece medical institute being two of them). Yet, it rarely veers into dumbfounding territory. 

In fact, it could be argued the number of logic flaws in the film is consistent with the amount of plot holes in many other comic book films. After all, plenty of logically questionable story beats can be picked out from even the best of superhero blockbusters (Spider-Man: No Way Home and The Batman come to mind). 

Morbius Himself


Superhero origin stories have a challenging task: Introduce audiences to someone they can connect to, regardless of how little or how much they know about them. To accomplish that, films usually give their protagonists a "hook," either storytelling or character-wise. 

Many successful examples of such "hooks" can be found in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Shang-Chi had extraordinary abilities, yet hid his talents in favor of a mundane life. Natasha Romanoff was a former assassin who realized the error of her ways and became a superhero. Steve Rogers, a man lacking important physical attributes required for the army prior to his transformation, was chosen as America's Super Soldier due to his earnestness, bravery and innocence.

Morbius also provided its protagonist with a hook. Michael was not the typical action star. He was subtle, soft-spoken and calm, but could crack a joke every now and then, which made him feel approachable. Aided by the character's writing, Leto made Dr. Morbius feel like a genuinely good person. Similar to its plot, Morbius didn't break the mold with its main character. However, it did deliver a likable protagonist who was easy to root for. 

The Characters


Characters are what anchor a story. On that note, Morbius' supporting players make for a well-rounded experience (even if there wasn't anything necessarily groundbreaking about them). Many of them are archetypes of characters from other superhero adaptations (the funny detective, the scorned best friend, the wise father figure, etc.), but they were serviceable, with Adria Arjona's Martine Bancroft being a standout. 

Morbius' best friend, Milo (a.k.a. Lucien), played by Matt Smith, was another promising aspect of the film. Despite the fact he was not fully fleshed out and ended up embodying the "hero fights an evil version of himself" trope, he had potential, even if he never reached the full extent of it. For starters, his relationship with Michael was compelling, and their love for one another was believable.

His transition from a relatively laid-back individual into a full-on psychopath was jarring, but it was still somewhat plausible for a brash and narcissistic person suffering from a debilitating life-long illness to let his new, god-like abilities get the better of him. Milo has been criticized as having become a caricature following his vampiric transformation. It's a fair grievance, yet his demeanor was also consistent with the playfulness he demonstrated throughout the film's first act.

Even his infamous dance number as he was getting ready to go out offered some insight into his psyche. It was silly and wince-inducing, and that was the point of the scene — Milo was a psychopath, making a fool of himself as he enjoyed his newly acquired physique.

Overall, he was an amusing adversary, even if he did fall into the "deranged, power-hungry former ally" trope. 

The Post-Credits Scenes 


One of the most infamous aspects of Morbius was its two post-credits stingers. The first saw Michael Keaton's Adrian Toomes (a.k.a. The Vulture) make his way into the "Venom-verse" through Doctor Strange's multiverse-shaking spell from Spider-Man: No Way Home. The second one showed Vulture, fully suited up, recruiting Morbius for a super-team. 

The sequences felt somewhat out of place, but weren't really offensive. They've been criticized for seemingly twisting the universe-traveling logic of Doctor Strange's spell, but as post-credits scenes for films like Iron Man and The Avengers have shown, such stingers don't always add up upon release. It takes time for plans to unfold to realize the full extent of their relevance.  

As such, while Morbius' meeting with Vulture may not make sense now, it could be the basis for promising stories in the future, especially as Sony's Spider-Man universe expands with films like Madame Web and Kraven the Hunter.

So, to sum it all up, Morbius isn't really bad. It doesn't necessarily meet the high standards set by the likes of Avengers: Endgame, Black Panther and The Suicide Squad, but most superhero films don't reach those heights. The majority — as well-crafted and engaging as they are — don't elevate the comic book-movie genre, and that's okay. They are simply pleasant experiences.

That's what Morbius is — a fun, one-off adventure reminiscent of character-focused one-shots that comics have offered for decades.

Morbius is available to purchase on Digital and 4K, Blu-ray and DVD. 

SPIDER-MAN 4: Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige Reveals Whether Jon Watts Will Return As Director

SPIDER-MAN 4: Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige Reveals Whether Jon Watts Will Return As Director

MORBIUS Director Breaks Silence On Panned Marvel Movie; Says It Was Made Through Committee
Recommended For You:

MORBIUS Director Breaks Silence On Panned Marvel Movie; Says It Was Made "Through Committee"

DISCLAIMER: ComicBookMovie.com is protected under the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) and... [MORE]

ComicBookMovie.com, and/or the user who contributed this post, may earn commissions or revenue through clicks or purchases made through any third-party links contained within the content above.

1 2
Moriakum - 6/17/2022, 5:16 PM
JFerguson - 6/17/2022, 5:20 PM
@Moriakum - No.

It's morbin' time
Moriakum - 6/17/2022, 5:27 PM
@JFerguson -
Superheromoviefan - 6/17/2022, 5:18 PM
it was ok. morbius is more or else as good as the second venom movie and better than the first venom movie
ModHaterSLADE - 6/17/2022, 5:24 PM
I mean there's been worse comic based films, but the movie was bad and pretty boring for a large chunk on top of that.
Starlight - 6/17/2022, 5:25 PM
Let me t--- YES.
grif - 6/17/2022, 5:30 PM
i will never know
tripttwe - 6/17/2022, 7:20 PM
@grif -
JoshWilding - 6/17/2022, 5:35 PM
Even as someone who sat down and interviewed a blatantly high as a kite Jared Leto, I can say yes, Morbius really is that bad. 😅 I don't think I've ever been so utterly flabbergasted by the sheer stupidity of a post-credits scene as that nonsensical exchange between Morbius and Vulture. Still, lots of great observations, Daniel. I liked Leto and that was about it. 🤷🏻‍♂️
bkmeijer1 - 6/17/2022, 5:59 PM
@JoshWilding - that must've been an interesting interview. Think I only read the quotes, but now I kinda wanna see it (assuming it was a video interview)
JoshWilding - 6/17/2022, 6:08 PM
@bkmeijer1 - Here you go! The sunglasses never come off... 😂

bkmeijer1 - 6/17/2022, 6:11 PM
@JoshWilding - that's too good. I don't really know how he is in other interviews, but there is indeed something very off about him. And those sunglasses definitely do him no favour either yeah
MisterDoctor217 - 6/17/2022, 7:17 PM
@JoshWilding -

Josh your accent is hot. I’m a sucker for UK accents lol

Also he didn’t sound high but the glasses are sus
Forthas - 6/17/2022, 5:36 PM
You need to do this for Man of Steel, because the criticisms of that film are unbelievably bogus. That is not an opinion that is a fact!
James93 - 6/17/2022, 5:37 PM
@Forthas - Agreed.
TocharianMonk - 6/17/2022, 5:55 PM
@Forthas - are they?? Lol
bkmeijer1 - 6/17/2022, 5:57 PM
@Forthas - I agree.

There are really only two major issues I have with that movie (the prologue and snapping Zod), but otherwise it's a solid movie.
Matrixyzx - 6/17/2022, 5:43 PM
Never seen it yet so please no spoilers the best way to fix this problem man is to really introduce Spider man into this universe that will fix it and make it better then the movie will improve in a weird kind of way.
bkmeijer1 - 6/17/2022, 5:55 PM
Is Morbius bad? Debatable, but it's definitely not good.

The movie has tons of flaws, and that doesn't have to be bad if it makes up for it elsewhere. However, it doesn't and that's where this movie fails.

It's the same with both Venom movies. They're all okay and offer a fine viewing experience, but that is simply not enough anymore in my opinion. Nothing warrants us to watch it (again), as we can see it done elsewhere done better.
1 2
View Recorder