Morbius is a Sony Marvel film directed by Daniel Espinosa (Safe House), with a screenplay written by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless. It stars Jared Leto, Matt Smith, Jared Harris, and Adria Arjona.
The movie opens in Costa Rica where brilliant hematologist and biochemist Michael Morbius (Leto) dazzles the audience, and seemingly scares the spectacles off his companions by slicing open his hand. He uses himself as bait to lure a Hollywood-level number of vampire bats out of a cave. Just like that, the film is off and running.
In a flashback, Morbius is shown as an intelligent but sickly child, inflicted with a rare blood disease. He grows up alongside a similarly afflicted childhood friend with whom he has a brotherly bond. Using some questionable methods, he cures the disease within himself but accidentally becomes a living vampire.
Michael Morbius is dark and broody, just like a good bat-enthusiast superhero should be. This is another reason why Jared Leto is a great choice for this role. The screams feel genuine, as does the depression. His performance rings true as the conflicted title character.
Matt Smith does a great job as Milo. There are a few liberties taken by the writers and director, including the creation of Milo, which is an amalgam of several background characters in Morbius’s past. Milo has the potential to be a complex and intriguing character but comes off somewhat flat, though not because of Smith’s acting. It is because the audience is not allowed to see his transformation or much of his background.
While the movie doesn’t necessarily have pacing issues, it does move quickly, never pausing to let the audience catch up with what just happened (or notice what was missing). This makes the 104-minute run time go by quickly. The scenes fly by, quickly alternating between action sequences. What is missing, however, are the deep dives into the character’s motives, stories, and choices.
There are multiple scenes which could have given depth to Morbius by allowing him to do something, instead of having another character tell the audience what has happened. Leto has the chops to make those scenes rich and emotional, but he isn’t given the chance.
Morbius comes off a little sloppy. Multiple characters and storylines are forgotten and weak. Even the love story feels somewhat underdeveloped. The movie is bleak and (literally and figuratively) dark. And are they just going to skip the fact that they missed an opportunity to use the phrase “blood brothers” in the flashback scene? A waste of a moment, but not necessarily a waste of two hours. The acting is great, as are the special effects. And the two post-credit scenes are worth sticking around for, as well.