I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t go into “Morbius” with the lowest of expectations. A 2 year delay paired with another attempt from Sony to ride the coattails of Marvel Studios’ success in conjunction with an antihero that only the most dedicated of comic book fans would even know by name, and you have what a studio THINKS general audiences want to see. “Morbius” is as bad as you thought it ever could be, and even worse than you may have predicted. It operates on a pre “Iron Man” level of comic book movie adaptions, existing in a time when the superhero genre was nothing but canon fodder for critics and audiences alike. It is a damn shame, because we should be past this already. No character should be introduced into any universe that is so uninteresting and poorly executed that it predates the renaissance of comic book movie adaptions.
I can’t stress this enough: however bad you think “Morbius” is, it’s worse. I quite literally watched at least two people outright walk out of the movie less than half way through, and if I’m being honest, I wanted to join them. Watching the film was like a reality tv challenge; like I would receive some sort of consolation prize for making all the way to end. Unfortunately, my only reward was sitting through the dumpster fire that is “Morbius.” The film is comprised of so many of the worst mistakes any filmmaker(s) could ever make that it’s hard to even do any sort of deep dive into all of the things that make this film an absolute disaster. The truth is, the film’s entire existence is a mistake and there isn’t a single thing that happens that justifies it ever being made.
Directed by Daniel Espinosa (“Safe House,” “Child 44“) and written by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless (“Dracula Untold,” “The Last Witch Hunter,” “Gods of Egypt“) “Morbius” tells the story of Dr. Michael Morbius who suffers from a very rare blood disease. He has dedicated his life to finding a cure, developing synthetic “blue” blood that has saved countless lives in the process. After splicing vampire bat DNA with human DNA, he discovers a cure, but at the cost of becoming a living a vampire who can only survive by consuming human blood.
Add to that two random detectives (Tyrese Gibson and Al Madrigal) trying to investigate the recurring blood drained bodies left behind and another random childhood friend (Matt Smith) with the same disease who magically undergoes the same procedure to also become a living vampire, and Morbius must become the hero we nee- You know what, fuck this. Nothing in “Morbius” makes any goddamn sense and me trying to pretend that there’s a synopsis only makes things worse.
The film functions more like a collection of disconnected “cool” shots than an actual cohesive film. Whatever happened in the two year delay actually seems to have given a WORSE film than whatever we were expecting. To make matters even worse, whatever you were hoping for to happen from the trailers simply doesn’t exist in the final cut. It’s almost like Sony knew “Morbius” was going to fail, so they cut out everything that could’ve connected it to their bankroll of Marvel/Disney but kept their marketing mumbo jumbo about “Marvel Presents” just in case they needed to split the backlash from how terrible the final cut ended up being. Spoiler alert: we all know this is 100% Sony’s terrible studio decisions and has absolutely nothing to do with the MCU.
I’m not being coy, either. Michael Keaton as Vulture is nowhere to be found in this garbage heap, and only shows up for the briefest of moments in the end credits scenes (which aren’t worth staying for, I promise), the “what if Morbius was Venom and did funny stuff” isn’t in the movie, the Spider-Man spray paint isn’t here either.
Basically anything that was sold to you in the trailers amounts to a little more than a bait and switch, and you can clearly tell that the two years “Morbius” spent on the shelf was not kind when it comes to the editing room. And my god was this film put through the editing ringer. Forget the director, the script, and the cinematography. This is what happens when a post production film has 3 years to be played with and edited and reedited and shaped and shifted in every which way possible until the end result is an incomprehensible mess.
I can’t even give you a critique of the performances because frankly, none of them matter. Every single person in this film could be played by anyone, and that’s saying a lot considering Jared Leto has made a career of being the most stand out performer (for better or worse) in any weird project he decides to throw himself into. He clearly wasn’t sending bats and buckets of blood to his costars here, as his Michael Morbius is about as tame as any creature stuck in captivity can be. That goes for pretty much everyone in the movie, as all of their talents are wasted for perfunctory plot device exposition rather than actual character development. Everything feels rushed, despite nothing actually happening ever. I literally could not tell you one single interesting or unique thing about any single character that exists here.
I could probably go on and on about how nothing in “Morbius” makes any sense, the characters are uninteresting and meaningless, the film has zero tension or climax or even conflict, the CGI looks dated and downright terrible, the narrative is a convoluted mess not seen since pre Marvel Cinematic Universe days and makes “Blade: Trinity” look like a fucking masterpiece, and how even after sitting through this entire out of touch studio executive “do it for the money” barely passable attempt at filmmaking I couldn’t tell you anything about what this movie is about with a gun to my head. But why? The hard fact of the matter is that this should be seen by no one, and is as bad as however bad you’ve thought it ever could be.
If it was not my responsibility as a reviewer to see this kind of shit through to end, I would’ve followed the couple that left and walked out of “Morbius” myself. Not since “Spawn” or “X3: The Last Stand” have I felt the urge to leave a film 30 minutes into it. And yes, “The Last Stand” is a damn near “Coda” Best Picture winner compared to the garbage heap of “Morbius.” Yeah, it’s THAT bad that it makes one of the worst comic book movie adaptions of all time palatable. “Morbius” is much more “Jonah Hex” than “Venom,” neither of which is any good, but one is clearly worse than the other and “Morbius” is worse than all of them.
Look, I’m critical of everything Marvel Studios puts out, and as a critic, I’m more than aware that even cash cows run out of steam at some poin,t and they’re going to take a major step in the wrong direction. But whatever THIS is isn’t even close to how bad I think the fall of the media titan will be. Hell, “Morbius” might be worse than “Batman v Superman,” which is easily the worst comic book movie ever made. Shove it, Snyder cultists. Just because you trolled the Oscars doesn’t make your shit movies any better. It’s bad. Really, really, REALLY bad and I can’t even articulate all the ways it fails because it does so on just about every level of filmmaking you could possibly imagine.
Please see anything else this weekend. Just, stay home and watch something at home.
Watch “Coda” or “King Richard” or “Dune” or “The Lost Daughter” or literally anything else that exists in film. For the love of god, do not give “Morbius” any money. The last thing this world needs is an undeserved box office smash that tells Sony we want “Morbius 2: Vampire Boogaloo.” I can assure you, we don’t need this. We don’t even need or want this film, let alone a continuation of a story that literally doesn’t exist in its own origin. Are you listening, China? Please, do not give this movie more success it deserves. You are reason we got “Venom: Let There Be Carnage.”
“Morbius” is not good, and worse than the worst of expectations. It’s a dull, plodding, uninspiring comic book adaption that makes all the mistakes we thought we had left behind in the bygone era of comic book adaptions. And just know that when you want specifics and ask “Ok, well what’s actually bad about it?” then answer is all of it. Whatever specificity you’re looking for, just know that the answer is it’s bad. Story? Bad. Action? Bad. CGI? Bad. Pacing? Bad. Acting and character development? Bad. Casting, visuals, plotting, pacing, editing? All bad.
It is the worst movie of 2022 and you’re going to be hard pressed to find a worse outing than this. If you do indulge your own masochism and decide to see it, just leave. Walk out like the couple that made the right decision. I assure you, it doesn’t get better.
“Morbius” deserves nothing but never seeing it, and walking out as soon as you can if you do.
Suck on that.
Rating: 0.5 out of 5 Stars