“Morbius” is the most elaborate practical joke in history, and we are the butt of that joke, you and I. Because I’ve actually seen “Morbius,” I am likely more of a butt than you. Peter denied Jesus three times before the cock crowed, and “Morbius” was delayed 6 times before crowds got cold cocked. Coincidence? Not when you consider how biblically bad the film is.
The opening and closing credits sport graphics that legitimately look like early a rejected early-2000s screensaver, if that tells you where to set the bar. Little orphaned Michael Morbius is a genius with a mysterious blood disease. In addition to killing him, the disease presumably also strips him of any identifiable personality traits. He gets older and becomes Jared Leto, arguably the worst thing that can happen to a person.
As an adult, Mikey Mo is a chemist-scientist-doctor who looks through microscopes to search for his charisma (and a cure for his condition). Then it comes to him: Bats! He liquifies a vampire bat pancreas and injects it in order to change his DNA. Several members of congress actually believe that science checks out. He becomes a vampire. This is one of those movies where nobody says “Holy shit, you turned yourself into a vampire!” As if that wouldn’t be the very first thing someone yells. I have accidentally yelled that at a few people who were just really pale and bored.
Dr. Acula is torn because, on the one hand, he likes having abs and not dying. On the other, drinking human blood is still frowned upon, am I right, Armie Hammer? Anyway, the bad guy’s origin may be a spoiler, so just trust that conflict occurs and some solidly C-minus level special effects work is vomited on the screen. It culminates in two post-credits scenes that are so laughably, demoralizingly bad that it feels like a parody of the practice. Post-credits scenes are now dead at the hands of Jared Leto. He’s killed before, and he’ll kill again.
An interesting choice: Every fight sequence or use of superpowers in “Morbius” is done under a fart cloud. Some may say it’s “vampire mist” or “puff of smoke,” but I know a plume of flatulence when I see it. Everything, every last tiny little aspect, in “Morbius” is uninspired, shallow, and dull. Actually, that’s not fair. Matt Smith does a kooky pajama dance in the middle that is a brief, 30-second delight. The film would have been better if it were worse because then it may have inspired some kind of meaningful reaction instead of just bleeding our finite lifespan.
I don’t know if this is clear, but I don’t care for Jared Leto. He isn’t even “bad” here so much as he is the most passive version of his obnoxious self. Reports did, once again, detail his method acting and refusal to come out of character. Michael Morbius is a Nobel-award winning scientist. Did Leto cure a hematologic disorder? No, he was just a real big jerk to his costars again. I dare someone to cast the dude in a role where he plays a nice, quiet, humble fella and then keep pushing the production of film as long as he keeps buying it.
Anyway, “Morbius” finally came out on April Fool’s Day for a reason: Because some trickster God made me a comic book fan decades ago so that one day I would have to see a Spider-Man adjacent film with Jared F’n Leto in it. You win this round, Anansi, Loki, or whoever at Sony flushed like $100 million to ruin my day.
Grade = F
Other Critical Voices to Consider
Wenlei Ma at News.Com.Au says “If the movie gods had any mercy, they would’ve killed off every character so they can never come back in a sequel.”
MontiLee Stormer at MovieReelist.com says “Its frenetic pace may not make it a must-own in any medium, but it’s a more than passable popcorn flick. It’s not a movie everyone will love, but I can think of worse movies to watch that don’t look nearly as good.”
Jenny Heaton at Alternative-Lens.com says “I thought it wasn’t possible to make a vampire movie this dull, but accomplishing that dubious feat is the only original thing ‘Morbius’ succeeds in.”