This weekend is poised to bring the debut of a new Marvel legend, when Sony’s Morbius arrives in theaters. The live-action film chronicles the origin story of Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto), whose efforts to cure his rare blood disorder lead him to become a living vampire. While the character has a bit of a cult status among Marvel fans, thanks to his roles in comics and in the Spider-Man cartoons, the idea of him garnering a solo film has perplexed quite a few from the start. On Wednesday, fans got their first inkling of exactly what the final product entailed, when critic reviews for Morbius began surfacing online. This comes a few days after initial social media reactions deemed the film “about as bad as you were expecting.”
So, what are critics (including ComicBook.com’s own Spencer Perry) saying about Morbius? Keep scrolling to find out ahead of Morbius’ theatrical release date on Friday, April 1st.
“Morbius has the worst sequel-bait for a movie in years, featuring an abrupt conclusion that feels like reshoots and pre-viz have become intertwined. Fans eager for connectivity to other Marvel movies and Spider-Man will also be greeted with perhaps the most hastily planned attempt at a tease that will only cause headache-inducing speculation. Spoiler alert: it’s leading to nothing but confusion, as not even Sony knows what they’re doing with it. The best possibility here is for none of us to ever find out what would happen next, because, frankly, who cares?”
“It can’t be described as the wild, untethered disaster that some were secretly hoping for, either, because that would imply some level of creative risk. No, this is the flavourless product of far too many board meetings, where anything offered by director Daniel Espinosa has been whittled down to the level of pure “content”. I’m not sure it’s even meant to function as a film in the traditional sense. It’s more a two-hour prelude to a post-credit scene, which happens to be one of the most sloppily written teases ever committed to screen. Morbius also doesn’t have an ending. It simply cuts to the credits when everyone’s had enough.”
“There’s no energy to be found in the film; nothing even close to a spark. Everyone shuffles through the film as if they’re suffering from a cold medicine hangover. Venom is not what I’d call a good movie, but it never got boring. Morbius might very well put you to sleep.
“Ah well,” you might be saying. “Are the special effects good? Are we at least distracted by some big, cool superhero spectacle stuff?” Absolutely not. This is an ugly film, staged in non-descript rooms and sterile labs. Everything is awash in a Windex-like blue tint. There’s no sense of scale – or place. If it weren’t for several establishing shots of the New York skyline, we’d have absolutely no idea where Morbius is set.”
“Even the most basic elements of the film are incomprehensible. Michael has all the trappings of a bad guy, but by the time he gifts yet another origami animal to someone he cares about, you’ll have to wonder, this dude is a villain? (Leto, who notoriously immerses himself in his work, could seemingly find little here, his Michael is somehow both confounding and very boring.) Even after he injects himself with bat blood serum and murders a literal boat full of people, the extent of his powers remain a mystery. Something about, like, really good hearing?”
“With a snarl, with a roar, with a facial morph into horrible sub-Voldemort nasal loss and then back to being handsome, the Marvel superhero-vampire Morbius is with us. And sadly his superpower is being bafflingly dull. His story unfolds with all the dramatic shape of a screensaver and then ends – to be followed by two plonkingly anti-climactic post-credit stings whose sheepish purpose is to lay out more coming attractions from the very corporate Sony’s Spider-Man Universe (SSU). in case we justifiably felt that all this was a bit of a letdown.”
“Ruthless pacing rushes audiences across decades, around the globe, and through tiresome info-dumps about pseudo-science, bat behavior, and backstories. It’s as if Espinosa doesn’t trust we’ll actually find this story interesting, so he allows no moments to breathe. Or perhaps, the speedy pacing is to make up for the lack of verve of the cast, many of whom speak in a tired tone as if they’d been dragged out of bed right before shooting – or maybe the hope is that if the plot moves fast enough, you won’t have time to notice how achingly predictable every beat is, and how two-dimensional every character is. In a film that bounds from Costa Rica to Greece to New York City to “International Waters,” this whole world only has six characters of consequence, and most of them could be summed up with a short phrase like “brainy love interest,” “roguish bestie,” and “father figure doomed to die because this is a superhero movie in only the most tedious ways.””
“Most of the MCU movies and some of the recent DC films like The Suicide Squad are case studies on how to best introduce obscure superhero personas onto the screen. The gonzo Venom movies know and proudly own what they are. Morbius misses all those lessons and seems to be stuck among the more lackluster films from the early to mid 2000s a la Elektra. Even the mid-credits scenes that attempt to bring Leto’s role into a larger landscape wind up being more confusing than cool. Rather than a fang-tastic time, Morbius is just a soul-sucking effort.”
“The movie spends so much time on Morbius trying to control his bloodlust and run damage control on a deadly threat, firmly setting him as more of a hero type than a foe or even an antihero. It makes for a somewhat confusing final few moments for the character and an even more confusing duo of mid-credit scenes. Those scenes offer more personality than anything that preceded, but they also directly contradict the character we just met. It’s as if the precedence is with the bigger picture than the smaller, standalone components.
In an oversaturated space of superhero cinema, Morbius sits smack in the middle. It’s not terrible, but it’s not memorable either. Leto mistakes a lack of emotion for stoicism, and it’s up to the VFX to do the heavy lifting to imbue the living vampire with any identity or temperament. Without, say, someone like Tom Hardy embracing the weirdness of the character in Venom, it’s tough to find rooting interest or muster any excitement for the vampiric bat man. At best, it’s a serviceable placeholder until the next installment of this expanding universe.”
“It’s just a shame this opening salvo takes itself too seriously to have much fun with the mayhem, despite the potential in Smith’s devilish turn for amusing interplay between the antagonists. Arjona carries herself with confidence but her character also gets a little lost in the carnage; perhaps the late-breaking romance between Martine and Michael will acquire more of a heartbeat in the next round. Leto certainly broods up a storm behind his veil of rock-star hair, but the movie has too little to distinguish it from the second-tier (or maybe third?) Marvel pack, ending up as more of the same.”
“Through all of its chaotic editing and by-the-books franchise setup, Morbius is perhaps the most damning recent example of how prioritizing franchise fulfillment can truly kill a movie. This isn’t how studio filmmaking should work, and a half-assed job like this surely isn’t what audiences should be settling for when paying for today’s ticket prices. Furthermore, Sony really isn’t setting any bar whatsoever for their upcoming Madame Web movie as well. Morbius doesn’t even boast some of the cheeky qualities that have given the Venom films somewhat of a cult status in the superhero genre. Perhaps the coolest thing this has to offer you are the vampire effects, but who wants to pay to see Jared Leto fly around in slow motion for two hours, I mean, unless you’re down for that? There’s not much left to say, other than you’ve seen this movie dozens of times before and you don’t need to see it again. For his first comic book film, Tyrese deserved better.”
from Ultimate Comic Blog