Morbius: Really, What Did You Expect?

Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) in Columbia Pictures' MORBIUS.


Morbius leaps through its plot like a vampire, shooting a blood speedball into himself. Like the Venom films, Morbius can be enjoyed for all the wrong reasons. It’s the perfect film to hate-watch on a lazy Sunday night with your partner. Of course, that’s not the filmmakers’ intention since this is a major theatrical release. 

Unless you’re a fan of unintentionally bad movies, I can’t figure out the appeal in leaving your house to see Morbius. Is the movie supposed to be a horror film coupled with action? If so, Warner Bros. currently has a far better film about a brooding superhero associated with bats you can still see in cinemas. Morbius is a film where the behind-the-scenes drama (if there was any) is more interesting than the film itself. I’m not sure whose creation I’m watching, the director’s, the producers, or both. Either way, the film-making process in this picture doesn’t look like it coasted along swimmingly by any stretch of the imagination.

The story of Morbius is the same as any Spider-Man villain. Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leo) is a gifted scientist who’s attempting to create a cure for his illness. Unable to walk on his two legs without the assistance of crutches, Michael decides to go with an experimental treatment that ends poorly. By consuming the blood of a bat recombined with his very own DNA, Dr. Morbius morphs into a bloodthirsty, violent vampire. Silly scientists, don’t they know bats spread diseases? 

When will scientists learn to stop playing God?

Dr. Morbius plays with bat blood
Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) in Columbia Pictures’ MORBIUS.

Now a victim of his creation, Dr. Morbius’ blood addiction causes him to take on a violent, vampiric form. His girlfriend/fellow scientist Dr. Martine Bancrof (Adria Arjona), goes to all ends of the earth to keep her man safe. If not for his rock Martine, Michael would have nothing. Does any of this sound familiar? If so, then you don’t have to be a critic to see where every act of the film is going.

Morbius is creatively drained in almost every single element. The cinematography looks like the director of photography set up some LEDs and party lights then mixed them with strobes  to create a traditional horror look. An R rating would have complimented the look appropriately. Unfortunately, Morbius might be too violent of a character to translate into PG-13 for the kids to see. 

The film attempts to make the audience feel sympathy for Dr. Morbius, yet every action he takes is only in the interest of himself. Discernible character traits to make the Doctor’s fall from decency feel tragic, freeing, something, anything, would have been nice. Regrettably, no sign of life is present here. The thing that has somewhat of a heartbeat, ironically enough, is Jared Leto.

I’m not a fan of Jared Leto. He’s like a younger Johnny Depp who slaps on silly voices rather than getting into another character’s skin. He can’t fake it then break it like Robert Pattinson can, nor can he mold his persona in a way that resonates with audiences like a Tom Hanks everyman. Jared is a pretty dull guy to watch. Yet, he has the most personality next to Matt Smith who’s chewing the scenery every chance he gets. The dryness of Mr. Leto translates well for the role of a brilliant, unorthodox oddball scientist.

Works as a B movie, fails as an A movie

Morbius, Morpheus
Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) in Columbia Pictures’ MORBIUS.

Morbius is a rushed, inadvertently hilarious romp containing long stretches of boredom that already escaped my memory, probably because Dr. Morbius’s quest to defy God sent me into dreamland a third of the way into the story. Luckily the booming soundtrack kept me awake enough to see the usual comic book movie ending where the hero and villain duke it out in a final boss fight. Speaking of which, don’t expect the action to be particularly noteworthy. The CGI looks like the smoke effects from PS4’s Infamous: Second Son.

Upon entering the elevator to leave the theater, I heard a group of friends conversing, “it’s not as bad as I thought, but it could get a cult following.” By cult following, I’m assuming it’s in the fashion of Trolls 2. Sincerely, as a B movie, Morbius can be a lot of fun to watch. But that’s an experience that can be enjoyed in your home with a few friends. If you want a good laugh, you can’t do better than Sony’s newest horror film, however it’s probably better to spend your money on intentional comedy if looking for a few laughs. 

Written by Mike Crowley

Mike Crowley is a full member of the Chicago Indie Critics. He periodically produces video content for and writes weekly film reviews for his publication You'll Probably Agree. He also writes content for Film Obsessive from time to time. You can follow him on Twitter, Tik Tok, and Instagram @ypareviews

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