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.

About The Author

Founder, Awards Editor

Byron is the Awards Editor and Founder of Awards Focus, in addition to being a National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Award winning journalist for his work at The Hollywood Reporter.

Working as a journalist and moderator, Byron hosts Emmy and Oscar panels for the major studios, featuring their Below The Line and Above The Line nominees (in partnership with their respective guilds).

Moderating highlights include Ingle Dodd's Behind the Slate Screening Series for Emmy and Oscar nominees, The ArcLight's Hitting the High Note Oscar series, The Hollywood Music and Media Academy FYC Series, and Emmy & Oscar panels for Society of Lyricists and Composers.

Byron's panels range from FX's Fargo to Netflix's The Crown, The Queen's Gambit, & Bridgerton; HBO Max's The Flight Attendant, Hacks, Succession, Insecure, Lovecraft Country & The White Lotus; and the Apple TV + hit series Ted Lasso.

In February of 2020, Byron hosted and organized the Aiding Australia Initiative; launched to assist in the restoration and rehabilitation of Australia's wildlife (an estimated 3 billion animals killed or maimed and a landmass the size of Syria decimated).

Participating talent for Aiding Australia includes Robert Downey Jr., Michael Keaton, Jeremy Renner, Harrison Ford, Jim Carrey, Josh Brolin, Bryan Cranston, Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, JK Simmons, Tobey Maguire, Alfred Molina, James Franco, Danny Elfman, Kim Basinger, Robert Wuhl, Tim Allen, Colin Hay, Drew Struzan, and Michael Rosenbaum.

Byron is also a patent holding inventor, screenwriter, and songwriter (X-Men Apocalypse) in addition to being a proud member of The Society of Lyricists & Composers and BMI.

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