Morbius (2022)

The fact that Jared Leto actually said to director Daniel Espinosa something along the lines of, "No practical effects!  Make it all digital!" should be a clue as to how in touch anyone involved in the making of this movie is with reality.  Leto seems under the impression he made a good movie and Sony was fooled by a bunch of internet trolls into re-releasing this back into theaters so it could fail a second time.  

What confuses me is that, after the finished product was plopped down on some Sony executive's lap, they thought they had anything worth redeeming.  The movie had been through numerous reshoots, was two years delayed in release due to difficulties and the Pandemic, and after his infamous turn as the Joker in Suicide Squad no one was really clamoring for Jared Leto to show up in another superhero film.  In fact, for all his method acting and generally abrasive behavior, he never has anything to show for it.  He was the worst part of Blade Runner 2049, and his participation in any movie where he is not dismembered by Christian Bale has become a red flag. 

With the way things went with memes mocking this film, and its utter failure, I was hoping that the movie would be hilariously, entertainingly, terrible.  Instead, the only parts I found funny, which of course were unintentional, was where the CGI versions of Leto and Matt Smith stand and roar like a five-year-old pretending to be the Incredible Hulk.  It's silly, it's pathetic and it's juvenile, which pretty much sums up Morbius rather succinctly.

Dr. Michael Morbius (Leto) has a rare blood disease that he dedicates his life to curing.  He has invented artificial blood, which has benefited society a whole, but his current research into vampire bats has given him a new path to pursue.  His childhood friend Lucien (Smith), whom Morbius calls Milo, helps fund some of his more clandestine research so he can do human trials.  With his assistant Martine Bancroft (Adria Arjona) in tow he tries a new fusion of bat and human cells on himself that has shown positive results in mice. 

What it does to Morbius is turn him into a vampire, initially with an uncontrollable killing rage.  He finds that he can control it somewhat with the use of the artificial blood, but when Milo comes around asking he refuses to turn it over.  Milo takes it anyway, embracing the new creature he has become and going on a killing spree in New York.  Meanwhile Morbius tries to stop him while being pursued by agents Alvarez (Al Madrigal) and Stroud (Tyrese Gibbons), who think that Morbius is behind all the killings.

I purposely avoided watching this for so long, making detours into Blade and other properties that have been absorbed into the MCU.  While this was originally supposed to be tied into the MCU version of the Spiderverse the long delays on getting this out resulted in the movie being set in the same alternate universe as the two Venom films.  However, it does get linked to the MCU by a villain being transported into this movie's universe due to the events in Spider-Man: No Way Home, although confusingly that villain remembers Spider-Man when the whole point of what Dr. Strange did was to get everyone to forget him.  By the time this pops up it doesn't matter whether it makes sense or not because, if the audience isn't half asleep due to the boring action sequences, they gave up on caring long before. 

Unfortunately Morbius, memes aside, is not one of those movies that is so bad it is fun to watch and laugh at.  There is no fun to be found here of any sort.  It doesn't matter why this was made, or how much money was spent on it, but at some point Sony should have just pulled the plug and let Morbius pop up in a Spider-Man film.  As Leto plays him there is no real personality, no reason to care about him, and the same goes for Matt Smith as the villain.  He does a "villain dance" and tries to show off his chest a bit, but he comes across more as Doogie Howser turned vampire - with the frightening revelation that Neil Patrick Harris has pulled off scarier roles than this with little effort.  

With competent direction, not so heavy a reliance on CGI and a more humorous approach this could have been much better.  Unfortunately Leto has to take everything seriously and, even though solely listed as an actor, is pretty much as responsible for the failure of this film as the writers or director.  If Morbius does return in any form I hope someone at Sony realizes that Leto does not deserve another movie on his own even if they let him reprise the role.  If a Sinister Six movie is in the works then I truly hope they have enough sense to let the other bad guys carry it. 

Morbius (2022)
Time: 104 minutes
Starring: Jared Leto, Matt Smith, Adria Arjona
Director: Daniel Espinosa



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