Reel Thoughts: ‘Morbius’ is a mess, but an entertaining mess at that


Illustration by Olivia Abeyta

“Morbius” starring Jared Leto premieres in theaters April 1st.

Andrés Buenahora, Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor

This article contains spoilers.

“Morbius” is not your typical Marvel movie — both in regard to character and, unfortunately, quality. 

The film, which premieres April 1, tells the story of a doctor who injects himself with bat DNA in an attempt to cure the rare blood disease he’s struggled with for his entire life. The results are chaotic: Morbius (Jared Leto) turns himself into a bat-like mutant with a thirst for human blood. 

One of the few things “Morbius” does well is approach Michael Morbius as an antihero. 

Rather than painting him as a superhero, this film asks what would happen if a Nobel Prize-winning scientist willing to do anything to save lives turned himself into a monster who took lives.

Amid Morbius’ violence, he’s forced to transform from murderer to hero, as he must protect others from the same kind of monster. Morbius learns to control his urges, while his best friend Loxias Crown (Matt Smith) uses his newfound powers to hurt others.

Although it was produced by both Sony and Marvel, “Morbius” is separate from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is the third film in Sony’s Spider-Man Universe. However, characters who have appeared in the MCU such as Vulture (Michael Keaton) and Venom (Tom Hardy) are set to share this universe with Morbius

Leto delivers a great portrayal of Morbius, but the two post-credits scenes introducing Adrian Toomes’ Vulture and his role in the Sony universe are a bit confusing. Keaton himself even admitted his lack of understanding regarding Vulture’s appearance in the film. 

Sony and Marvel’s newest collaboration is nowhere near the same stratosphere as “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which raked in over $1.8 billion in theaters and currently stands as the third highest-grossing movie of all time. 

​​Rather, Morbius is an enjoyable albeit flawed film, both in terms of gross profits and quality.

Unlike superheroes such as Iron Man, Captain America or Spider-Man — who are shown severely injured, vulnerable and near the point of death towards the climax of their films — “Morbius” depicts its protagonist as seemingly invincible. He looks more like a zombie than a vampire, appears to have super-speed and can conveniently dodge any bullet. 

Making the ultimate sacrifice is a cornerstone of great characters, especially in superhero films. We’ve watched Tony Stark give his own life to bring back half the universe. We’ve seen Peter Parker sacrifice the memory of his existence and any connection to his loved ones in order to keep them safe. Most recently, we watched Bruce Wayne turn down a chance to escape with Selina Kyle, choosing instead to fight for a city quickly unraveling into chaos. 

Morbius’ invincibility is a major flaw. It prevents him from ever growing as a character and making this ultimate sacrifice. Stark starts off as an egotistical playboy who creates the first Iron Man suit solely to help himself escape danger, which makes his selfless death that much more impactful. “Morbius” lacks this level of character development and uncertainty as to whether its main character will survive.

There’s no question “Morbius” is entertaining. It features excellent CGI and special effects that showcase the full range of its namesake’s superhuman powers, uncontrollable thirst for blood and transformation into a tragic antihero. 

Add the stunning backdrops of Greece and New York City, and “Morbius” offers some solid moments. But it still lacks a sense of consistency and falters in elevating its plot like other films of this genre do. 

“Morbius” is an exciting film with strong acting, special effects and action sequences, as well as the potential to expand the Sony universe with a number of MCU and Spider Man-related characters in sequels or future films. But it still falls short of what we typically expect from Marvel and the brilliance we witnessed with the Sony-Marvel collaboration of “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” 

“Morbius” is a mess. But it’s the most entertaining mess I’ve watched in a while. 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @andresbuena01

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