Sony pictures released Morbius on April 1 for some unintended irony, holding the film for almost two years past its original release date in the hopes for a big box office result. Academy Award winner Jared Leto was somehow convinced that a superhero vampire film was the right palate cleanser after his unfavorably reviewed performance as the Joker in David Ayer’s Suicide Squad.
Jared Leto plays Dr. Michael Morbius, a man who is suffering from a rare disease and finds a solution via a serum that contains a very specific sequence of vampire bat DNA. Morbius gains super powers such as strength, speed, and echolocation along with a need to feast on blood every six hours. Morbius uses synthetic blood to satiate his hunger, but he’s dreading the point where he may not be able to resist feeding on humans.
Like Marvel’s Incredible Hulk, the Jekyll and Hyde concept in Morbius could be an engaging theme to explore, however director Daniel Espinosa fails to capitalize on it. Screenwriters Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless hold a mirror up to Leto’s Dr. Morbius, having his child hood friend (Matt Smith) riddled with the same rare disease and funding most of Morbius’ research in the hopes of a normal, healthy life. Once Smith’s character finds out about Morbius’ successful treatment, he undergoes the treatment himself against Morbius’ wishes and without his knowledge.
Of course, it turns out that Smith’s character lacks any moral dilemma about feeding on humans, and he’s more than happy to terrorize the city. This sets up a vampire vs. vampire battle is set for the climax. It’s unfortunate that the action sequences are erratic and overcooked, and the finale is far from engaging. Director Daniel Espinosa perhaps made those choices purposefully because the film’s CGI looks like something out of the early 2000s superhero fanfare.
Sony’s Morbius crowning achievement is that it serves as the first interconnected film between Disney Marvel (AKA The MCU) and Sony Marvel. Michael Keaton’s Adrian Toomes, established in the MCU, arrive in a jail cell in Morbius’ universe. However, Keaton’s cameo and post credit scene teasing a version of the Sinister Six isn’t enough to pull this film up to repeat viewing status.
Sony would be far better off relaunching both the Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire Spider-Man franchises and saving their villains for Web-fodder…. not full length feature spinoffs.
Letter Grade: D-