Ah yes, the expanded Spider-Man universe from Sony. They have been talking about this for years. Remember the announcement of an Aunt May movie? That was back around the time as Andrew Garfield Spider-Man. But now that Venom has been slightly successful, and Tom Holland has been wildly successful, Sony is under the impression they are doing something right and going to milk the fuck out of the Spidey-universe.
After all, we got teased a lot of villains in Spider-Man: No Way Home. And we have heard the casting announcements. Besides Morbius, we have a Kraven the Hunter movie coming out. Now a Madame Web film. Rumors of the a Sinister Six film, maybe Spider-Gwen, maybe a Tobey Maguire Spider-Man 4. Sony is exploring all options.
The only issue is…Sony is historically not great at making these movies without Marvel’s help the last decade. Venom: Let There Be Carnage seems to be a strange case, since it was a decent film, just still had some awkward B-movie comic book feels to it. Sony likes to rush things with their Spider-Man movies. Sure, Morbius was pushed back several times, including this year for some “reshoots”. But just because it was going to be a January movie initially doesn’t mean it has to feel like a January movie, right?
If you need some blood, cutting the PALM OF YOUR HAND is one of the worst places. What the hell?
Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) has one big problem. He has a really rare blood disorder. Which one? Uhh, a rare one, that is what. It has no cure. And it seems to require a blood transfusion three times a day in order to keep surviving. That is rough. He has had it for most of his life, but he was really smart, so he got sent to a smart school, and got his PhD by 19. Hey, life is short for him, I guess, better go through it fast. His friend/pseudo-brother is Milo (Matt Smith), who happens to be super rich too, with the same disorder. Michael plans to cure their disease, at any means possible, and Milo is gonna fund that research.
So how are they going to do that? Well, apparently by experimenting with vampire bat DNA. Because they are the only mammal that has evolved with the ability to consume blood, something something made up science, Morbius wants to put the bat DNA into his DNA to see if he is cured! He had to go to South America to get a bunch to bring back to NYC, you know, for science. And then he does the experiment, with his fiancé and lab partner, Dr. Martine Bancroft (Adria Arjona), which is a few ethics problems rolled into one.
The experiment goes painful, and it works, I guess. Well, he does have his eyes and skin change color, his teeth somehow grow into fangs, and he can’t control his instincts. He now wants to kill all these random dudes with guns, not Bancroft, draining them of their own blood quickly. He can also…fly? Sort of? And see bullets in slow motion? And some strange level of echolocation-punch. Wow, what a surprise. But don’t worry, the range ends, and then he is back to normal. But stronger looking, less frail, and actual color in his skin. Until his body starts to deteriorate back into his normal frail self, unless he eats more blood.
How does he control the more-Vampire looking version of himself? I guess he just concentrates really hard. Milo wants the cure too, so he forces it upon himself, and sure enough, he is more evil than Morbius, so Morbius wants to cure him and put a stop to it, while cops and others are trying to figure out what the hell is going on.
Also starring Jared Harris, Tyrese Gibson, Al Madrigal, and Michael Keaton, for a little bit.
Get yourself some bat-DNA. Makes you get all ghoul-y.
Since 2015, there have only been two worse comic book based movies than Morbius, based on my humble reviewer opinion of course. Fantastic Four and Suicide Squad. But Morbius is bad in a different way. Morbius is bad because it attempted to be dark, moody, and serious. Instead it gave us a rushed plot, terrible characters, vague science, and just nonsensical plot elements.
For the umpteenth time, yes, this is a fantasy film where things don’t reflect reality. But it is still based in our reality, and uses a lot of rules. I know vampires aren’t realistic, but this film has powers that still don’t make sense. They never even attempt to explain how getting some bat DNA allows Morbius to weirdly fly. Not sure if it is just a gliding with style mechanic? And part of it feels like teleporting? But they just pop on some purple blurs around him, and he can now go wherever he feels like through the air. The echolocation elements aren’t consistent. Apparently he can not just do it for almost an entire city, he can focus in on a specific thing he wants to hear, and only hear that to find his prey. I feel like echolocation in NYC at a powerful scale would be maddening, but what do I know.
Vague/undefined powers always piss me off in these sorts of things. That is one of my biggest complaints about the “snake mutant” in The Wolverine. Hell at one point, Morbius just yells and apparently commands thousands of NYC bats to come to him, and he controls them to attack. But also, we all know they aren’t vampire bats. That is why he had to go to another continent to get the bats. Why would his vampire bat genes let him control random fruit and cave bats, that are all different species? Is there a bat quality that let’s an alpha bat command the rest of the bats? What if Spider-Man could just scream and have spiders show up? That would be frightening.
But for the rest of the movie, the plot is nonsensical as well. For a quick “joke”, the kid who grows up to be our rich villain is called Milo, because that is what Michael wanted to call him so he wouldn’t get too close, I guess. And now everyone just calls him Milo? He goes by that officially as an adult? Like. Why? Just have him be named Milo. Unnecessary complication for no payoff. There is no real reason why Milo would turn out to be a ridiculous jerk when he is in this now Vampire-like form, versus Michael who can just control it better? Is it a smart thing? I will admit, the movie was going so poorly I was going in and out of sleep at one point, but I am pretty sure they never explained it. Nor did they explain the transformed self really outside of some emotional balance. I can buy a weird DNA thing permanently changing one to look different. But to constantly having your body shifting between these forms, changing color, growing fangs, whatever, without the use of any sort of magic, just science/DNA is uncomfortable in the universe they have set up.
By the time the movie was over, I was glad at its short run time. The ending is still abrupt. It doesn’t really make sense as a stopping point for where we are at the films plot, but okay. So then they saddled on two credit scenes, the only scenes that feature Michael Keaton. I think these will count as spoiler free, just in case you are worried. The first is, uhh… fine. It doesn’t make sense based on what was established in Spider-Man: No Way Home however, and officially this film shouldn’t even be connected to it.
But the second one? It was just so…dumb. Did they film it in one take and say that was enough? Why was the delivery of both characters so bad? Why would Keaton’s character even bring up that name? Why would the other character nonchalantly agree, despite definitely having no clue what the hell Keaton’s character is talking about? It is so, so, bad. The rating of this movie was teetering between a 1 and a 0 at that point, and those two scenes were enough to figure out where this one needed to go.
0 out of 4.