Jared Leto’s vampire Marvel film is a toothless bore

Within the unrelenting flood of superhero tales hitting movie and tv, you may nicely really feel overwhelmed by the Spider-Males, Eternals, The Batman, and Moon Knight of all of it. Nicely, I’ve acquired some excellent news for you: Morbius is completely skippable. 

In an try to face out, Sony’s newest MCU-adjacent Spider-Man spinoff pitches loads at audiences to see what sticks. But amid a barrage of stars, monster-on-monster violence, and science-gone-awry melodrama, what stands out most is the whole lot that Morbius will not be.

Directed by Daniel Espinosa, Morbius follows Michael Morbius (Jared Leto), a world-renowned physician in quest of a remedy to the uncommon blood illness that afflicts him and his childhood buddy Milo (Matt Smith). In aggressive exposition scenes, the nice physician will clarify time and again how their DNA is lacking a puzzle piece, however that lacking bit could be present in vampire bats. Like so many Spidey cohorts earlier than him, Morbius performs check topic to his harmful experimental science. Behold! He achieves a glow-up that turns him from scrawny, peaked, and limping to brawny, bronzed, and parkouring. However at what value? Yup. He is a vampire now. 

Morbius will not be a vampire horror film

Credit score: Sony Footage

Recognized canonically as “the residing vampire,” Morbius struggles along with his new craving for human blood, which initially pitches him right into a murderous rampage. Nevertheless, screenwriters Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless deal with vampire lore as little greater than set dressing. So, there’s an virtually comical matter-of-factness to Morbius and his science pal/love curiosity Martine (Adria Arjona) discovering he is gone from sickly man to creature of fable. It is as in the event that they’re uninterested in the thought as quickly as they study it. 

In addition to ignoring the enjoyable that could be had with exploring the tropes of vampire horror, Morbius additionally fails to be remotely scary. That is partly as a result of its titular bloodsucker is devoted to not being a foul man, so there is not any chilling ethical gray space to play in. Additional vexing the difficulty, the PG-13 score (which is mostly demanded for studio superhero films to make their a refund from the widest viewers vary potential) implies that like The Batman, the supposed hard-hitting violence is ludicrously mild on blood. “Synthetic blood” dyed brilliant blue, offscreen violence, and plenty of biting scenes shrouded in shadow hold scenes squeaky clear and woefully un-scary. 

Morbius will not be a satisfying cat-and-mouse crime thriller

Two FBI agents standing on a misty street.

Credit score: Sony Footage

That preliminary killing spree leaves a pile of our bodies and a number of questions. On the case is a pair of FBI brokers, one stern (Tyrese Gibson), one snarky (a blessedly bemusing Al Madrigal). Nevertheless, their chasing down clues is much from the middle of the movie, so it turns into simply one other ingredient half-heartedly explored.

Madrigal brings spark to his wise-cracking cop character. However there is not any precise suspense born from this investigation, partly as a result of the viewers is given no motive to assume the blood-craving vampire could not simply escape. In any case, it appears each time he is in a pinch, Morbius uncovers a brand new energy that may save his day — just like the abrupt realization he can fly away! 

Morbius will not be actually a superhero film

Two people sit at a diner table.

Credit score: Sony Footage

It is not even a super-anti-hero film like Venom or Venom: Let There Be Carnage. Sure, Morbius relies on a Marvel Comics character. So, it is technically a superhero film. And it does embrace battle scenes, an evil antagonist, and a protagonist who’s helped but haunted by his superpowers.

Nevertheless, defying the requirements the DCEU and the MCU have solid on this style, there’s little in the best way of heroics or derring-do right here. He is not immediately attempting to rescue anybody or getting down to topple some large malevolent pressure. Principally Morbius is simply cleansing up his personal mess, attempting to stop the vampirism he launched from making the world worse. However even this objective is abruptly deserted to make manner for the one superhero film trope this film hits arduous: setup for a sequel. 

Morbius is barely a Marvel film

With a palm raised, Jared Leto looks spooky.

Credit score: Sony Footage

Do not be fooled by the trailers that make point out of Venom, flash Spider-Man avenue artwork within the background, and tease Michael Keaton’s return as The Vulture. Eddie Brock and his symbiote bestie are talked about solely as “that factor that occurred in San Francisco,” and as an inexplicable joke, the place Morbius identifies himself as “Venom.” That is it. 

As for Adrian “The Vulture” Toomes, he is not part of the plot, regardless of what the trailers would have you ever consider. Slight spoilers: Toomes solely seems in a pair of sequences that pop up awkwardly within the credit to tease a could-be sequel. As thrilling as it’s to see Keaton’s Vulture again in motion, followers of the Sony Spidey-verse films deserve higher than the return of Leto’s bland bloodsucker, who cannot even brood with conviction. 

Morbius is catastrophically unfun 

A white man in a tie and blazer walks along a subway platform.

Credit score: Sony Footage

Ruthless pacing rushes audiences throughout many years, across the globe, and thru tiresome info-dumps about pseudo-science, bat habits, and backstories. It is as if Espinosa does not belief we’ll really discover this story attention-grabbing, so he permits no moments to breathe. Or maybe, the speedy pacing is to make up for the dearth of verve of the solid, a lot of whom converse in a drained tone as in the event that they’d been dragged away from bed proper earlier than capturing — or possibly the hope is that if the plot strikes quick sufficient, you will not have time to note how achingly predictable each beat is, and the way two-dimensional each character is. In a movie that bounds from Costa Rica to Greece to New York Metropolis to “Worldwide Waters,” this complete world solely has six characters of consequence, and most of them could possibly be summed up with a brief phrase like “brainy love curiosity,” “roguish bestie,” and “father determine doomed to die as a result of this can be a superhero film in solely essentially the most tedious methods.” 

Be it Home of Gucci, WeCrashed, or Suicide Squad‘s Joker, Leto is not a lot for subtlety. Equally, Matt Smith has introduced loads of character to Physician Who, The Crown, and Final Night time in Soho. But right here, each ship boring imitations of their previous performances. When his face is not papered over by CGI-vampire options, Leto’s expression is fairly however clean, as if he is in an advert for males’s cologne. Enjoying extra of a wild man, Smith will get to have a bit extra enjoyable, throwing his physique right into a frenzy of dance and occasional menace. But, in a realm the place vampires are actual and the place we all know Eddie Brock has leapt right into a lobster tank, this all feels frustratingly timid, from the flat performances to the predictable plot factors, the bloodlessness, and the shameful lack of favor. 

Grim greys and sickly greens paint settings that embrace unremarkable warehouses, laboratories, and hallways. The costumes are purposeful and forgettable, not often trendy or enjoyable. Even the creature designs are unimpressive, feeling like a computer-generated ripoff of the Buffy The Vampire Slayer prosthetics. They don’t seem to be unhealthy, however neither are they recent or scary. No quantity of slow-motion battle scenes could make up for that.

In the long run, Morbius is attempting to do a lot, way more than the Marvel/Sony films which have come earlier than (which is saying one thing). However missing in type, spirit, scares, and suspense, this would-be thriller is a toothless and tedious chore. 

Morbius opens in theaters on April 1.