What is there to say about Marvel and Sony’s “Morbius”? Welp. The writers definitely tried their best. This movie felt like it was trying very hard to figure itself out. At the end of the day, there was nothing truly special or memorable about this movie. This movie felt like it was made to explain some ‘plot-holes’ in Sony’s Spider-multiverse and maybe open it up to bigger, more exciting projects. Of which we have no idea what. And it wouldn’t be shocking if Sony has no idea either. Spoilers ahead for Morbius.
Like always, let’s start off with some positives. This movie did an excellent job with suspense, jump scares, and gore. There was a scene in particular that warrants praise. A doctor was walking through the empty hospital halls. He feels he is being watched. The doctor freaks out and runs to safety. The music gets quiet, we all know what’s about to happen. The suspense is killing the audience and just when we start to think “Oh. Maybe I was wrong…” the vampire gets the doctor and eats him. The entire theater gasps and jumps out of their seats.
Another point in Morbius’ favor is the acting. Some of you may already know that Jared Leto, who played Dr. Michael Morbius, is big into method acting. Leto went so far as to method act as a crippled man for this role. He took it so far that he even halted production because he took too long to use the restroom while shooting. Talk about commitment to the bit! At no point in this movie were you taken out of the experience due to acting. Maybe a bad line of dialogue or action sequence, but definitely not because of the acting. At least not from any of the main actors and storylines. That leads us to our next point. The after-credit scene.
In all honesty, there is a good chance the main reason a lot of people saw this movie was due to the after-credit scenes. After the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home, we have absolutely no idea what is going on in the “Spider-Universe.” Of course, big-time spoilers for Morbius and No Way Home, ahead! We find out in the first after-credit scene that MCU”s Vulture, Adrian Toomes, was sent to this universe by mistake. And in the second after-credit scene we see Toomes in a new Vulture suit, making an alliance with Dr. Michael Morbius. Now this is the shocking part.
Toomes says that they should assemble a group of people to stop this “Spider-Man.” This implies A) there are more people in this universe that have beef with Spider-Man. And B) most importantly, there is a Spider-Man in this universe who has probably made some enemies. Now, we’re not sure if this is a new Spider-Man, but a lot of theories point to Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man being this universe’s Spidey. His third movie that ended up never being made was meant to be a Sinister Six movie. S
o this makes sense. All we really know is that Tom Hardy’s Venom is also in this universe. Michael Morbius dropped his name and police officers referenced a “weird event” in San Francisco, clearly talking about Venom’s final battle in Venom: Let There be Carnage. Going back to the original point, however, the acting in this specific after-credit scene, for sure took you out of the moment. It was very clear that Michael Keaton was not under the Vulture mask and they just used a stand-in and someone who sounded slightly like him. It also looked as if the stand-in and Leto weren’t even on location together. As if they were just doing their lines separately into a camera from two completely different places and cut it together. The scene looked jumpy and irregular.
While still talking about the acting, we have to mention Matt Smith’s role as the antagonist, Milo. Smith’s charm and comical approach to the role of a homicidal vampire made it very enjoyable and stole the show. Not only was he fun and energetic but he was also downright scary. Killing people anytime, any place he wanted. And the ending in which Morbius kills his lifelong friend was an emotional, (and I guess physical,) dagger to the heart. The two of them being as close as brothers, dealing with their disabilities together, makes the climax more impactful to the audience.
Now that we’ve listed the positives of this movie, time to take a look at the negatives. First off, the pacing and actual storytelling from this movie were not as good as it could have been. You did not know when a flashback started or when it ended. There was no indication of when a scene or act ended or started. There would be fast forwards in time and the in-between would not be explained. The beginning of the movie establishes that Milo uses his extreme wealth he’s accumulated to fund Dr. Michael Morbius’ experiments to cure their disease. It is never explained how or what he does to become so rich. They allude to it being illegal, however, considering Milo is surrounded by armed security guards in his home.
The action and fight scenes were not something to look forward to. They were done poorly. Due to the fact that the protagonist and antagonist are both vampires who are running and flying at superspeed, all of their fights were hard to decipher. The after-image caused by them moving so quickly covered the entire screen and it was impossible to see any details. Just two blobs wrestlings with a few slow motion shots thrown in there. An argument could be made that it was an artistic choice to have the blurs and after-image be such an integral part of the fight scenes, but look at television shows and movies like The Flash or X-Men, for example.
Characters are regularly fighting and moving at super speed and the scenes look fantastic. The scenes in this film were jumpy and had too much camera movement to truly see what was going on. In a film like ‘Morbius,” with a not-so-well written story, cool action sequences with lots of flying and fangs and superspeed are supposed to be their saving grace.
The ending to this movie left a lot to be speculated. It was all over the place. The bad guy was defeated, but there are still plenty of loose ends they left undone. It looked as if Milo had killed Morbius’ love interest, Doctor Martine Bancroft. But in the end, it is revealed that she is very much alive and maybe even part vampire. We also see Morbius skip town to figure out what his next step is going to be. Throughout the entire movie, the main conflict is Michael’s internal struggle with drinking human blood. Soon he won’t be able to survive off just the artificial blood he designed.
He will need to drink actual human blood to live. So Dr. Michael Morbius spends a decent amount of time in this movie trying to find a substitute. And if all else fails, he has a vial of poison to use on himself that will instantly kill him. Which he of course also used on Milo. Morbius would rather take his own life than hurt another human. Or so we are led to believe. In the after-credit scene with Adrian Toomes, Morbius is livin’ it up in a brand new sports car planning his supervillain team with The Vulture. Did he lose interest in trying to save people? Has he fully embraced his vampire side and freely drinks human blood now? We are given no answer.
Now onto the most intricate, confusing part… the theories. With the after-credit scene being the most talked about part of Morbius on the internet, there are plenty of fan theories to discuss. First off, one of the only other Sony-Marvel characters in this universe is Venom. It is speculated that Venom will join this new Sinister Six team believing himself to be doing good. For those who don’t know what exactly the Sinister Six is, it’s a team consisting of six different members of Spider-Man’s rogue gallery, hell-bent on destroying the wall-crawler.
Speaking of the web-head, a lot of people believe that this universe is actually the universe of Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man from Marc Webb’s Spider-Man movies in 2012 and 2014. In No Way Home, the audience got a slight feeling that Garfields’s Spider-Man story wasn’t quite finished. Mentioning how he “stopped pulling his punches,” and how he “got rageful,” and “bitter,” could be a major reason why he has so many villains with a vendetta against him. Now here’s where things get very interesting. Some people have thought that this might be Mile Morales’ entry to the live-action screen. Garfield could already be on his way out of his Spidey role, having already got his fill in 2012/2014. But if Garfield meets and trains a new Spider-Man before he exits his role, we could have a Peter Parker who died in a heroic way, passing the torch down to a new Miles Morales, learning to become a great Spider-Man like his mentor, all while we have our MCU Tom Holland Spider-Man swinging around in another universe. We will have had two completely different Spider-Men with their own accomplishments, without the possibility of one overshadowing another. It’s a foolproof plan that would get all Spidey fans engaged.
Now this would not be a proper review of Morbius if we didn’t discuss the memes surrounding the film. After the film’s release, the reviews and the audience reaction was not too positive. In fact, a lot of people hated it, going so far as to make fun of it. The most popular joke coming from this movie was a tweet saying “The best part of Morbius was when he said ‘IT’S MORBIN’ TIME,’ and morbed all over those guys.” This little tweet caused a chain reaction all over the internet. The phrase “It’s morbin time,” and just Morbius memes in general were the number one trending thing on social media for weeks. With Morbius being talked about so much, Sony Pictures decided to rerelease Morbius in select theaters. This cost the production company millions of dollars to do, and they only made around $300,000. Meaning not only did Morbius not do well the first time it was released, but Sony was tricked into releasing it again, and it still flopped!
Although this movie had its many problems, do not let it discourage you from seeing more movies like it. Sony took a not-so-well-known Spider-Man villain and gave him an entire movie. With an entire backstory, a love interest, a betrayal, the whole nine yards. This was an extremely commendable idea, it was just executed poorly. Under the right direction and writing, any character, no matter how small or minuscule, can be portrayed beautifully. Sony has an upcoming slate of Marvel movies with some not-so-groundbreaking characters. An upcoming Kraven The Hunter movie is scheduled and an “El Muerto” movie starring Singer/Songwriter Bad Bunny. Both are small-scale comic villains who could potentially be portrayed as complex, awesome characters. These two characters could also help prove our Sinister Six theory. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
Morbius: Movie Review article published on BigCityReview.com© 2022
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