Director: Daniel Espinosa
Writers: Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless
Starring: Jared Leto, Matt Smith, Adria Arjona, Jared Harris, Al Madrigal, and Tyrese Gibson
Review: Man, fuck Sony!
The entire time the Marvel Cinematic Universe has existed, it’s seemed like Sony’s one purpose was to make the inclusion of Spider-Man as difficult as possible. First, they wouldn’t let them have the character at all. Then, it was an attempt to spin off all of the side characters they retained the rights to. And, let’s not forget that they recently tried to pull Spider-Man out of the MCU a few years back before fans went absolutely nuts. But, now, with Morbius, they may have made one of the biggest missteps in the history of comic book movies. And the post-credits scene may have indicated that it’s about to get a lot worse before it gets any better.
So… Morbius. I guess we should talk about the movie itself. First of all, it feels like it’s from a completely different era of movie-making. Do you remember the early 2000s sci-fi/horror/action movies that all of the studios pumped out? I’m talking Underworld, Resident Evil, Van Helsing, and, to a lesser extent, Blade. This feels like it belongs in that era. The plot is extremely similar to that schlock. It’s a sick man who uses radical science to turn himself into a vampire but instantly regrets it. However, his friend, who is also sick, takes the “cure” and delightfully goes on a killing rampage. Full of all the angst, over-the-top drama, and camp that you’d expect from that particular genre that the rest of the industry left behind about a decade ago.
And, honestly, it’s not even just the plot of Morbius. The CGI feels like it’s from that era too. They made the decision to not use any prosthetics or make up for the vampire transitions. Every time a character is in vampire form, it is 100% CGI. And, boy, does it show. It feels like the entirety of those scenes were filmed with a Snapchat filter on. How does a multi-million dollar superhero movie not have better special effects than an app whose “art” disappears within a minute? But, honestly, that’s not even the worst part. Because, oh my god, the fights in this movie are so bad. Everything is shot super close up with the characters spinning around in a cloud of smoke for minutes at a time. You can never tell what exactly is happening, where the characters are, or, even, who is winning. It’s just a big CGI clusterfuck. Think Transformers sequels but way, way worse. At least those movies had the decency to make the characters stand out by being different colors. Honestly, Morbius’s action scenes may be among the worst I’ve ever seen.
But, as much as I’d like to, we can’t pretend that Morbius was just an early 2000s B-movie. It is 100% a superhero movie. And you can tell from the fact that they followed the “coast through a superhero movie on autopilot” manual to the letter. Everything that’s become a superhero cliche since the original Spider-Man trilogy is on display here. Morbius’s origin story is about as cliche as they come. Honestly, it feels a lot like the Green Goblin origin from Spider-Man 1, but without the awesome campy performance Willem Dafoe brought to that scene. Then, there’s got to be a villain whose arc and motivations are almost in line with the hero’s, but they go about it in entirely different ways. And, man, is that on display here. From the moment he appears on screen Matt Smith’s character screamed “I’m the bad guy,” yet somehow his story still felt entirely rushed. Like, we didn’t hear from him for huge chunks of the movie, and then, boom, he’s taken over the entire plot. (Cheers to Smith though. He’s the only one in this movie who got a legitimate smile out of me.) Let’s see. What else do superhero movies always have? Oh, yes, a love interest. Don’t worry. We’ll cram that in too. We’ve got a female character. Who cares if they have no chemistry with Jared Leto? We’ll make them kiss and then everyone will know they’re dating. Oh, and what’s a hero without a sacrifice. Eh, just kill off a character that only had two, maybe three lines the entire movie. That’ll work. They definitely explain his importance to the character, but we, the audience, never actually got a chance to feel it. I owe an apology to The Batman for saying their Alfred moments felt rushed because it seems perfectly justified compared to this crap. Seriously though, having all of these moments come up in a superhero movie doesn’t automatically make it bad. After all, Spider-Man 1 does have all of these plot points. But, in Spider-Man, it all feels organic. Everything makes sense. Here, it just feels like they were working with a checklist with everything happening because that’s what’s “supposed to” happen. This all makes it seem, again, extremely dated. As a superhero movie, it feels like it’s more in line with Daredevil or Hulk, rather than The Batman or Spider-Man: No Way Home.
So, as the credits rolled, I was thinking that I didn’t like Morbius. It wasn’t the dumpster fire I was expecting, but it still was very far from good. Then, the post-credits scenes started rolling. And, god damn, they are absolutely the worst I’ve ever seen.
*Spoilers incoming. If you don’t want spoilers, you can stop reading here.*
So, the rift from No Way Home opens up, presumably to drop Venom back off at this shitty universe. However, we see that Michael Keaton’s Vulture has somehow teleported there as well. Which, if you recall, is not what Doctor Strange’s spell did. It teleported everyone who knew Peter Parker back to their own reality. So, like, why? Then, he finds Morbius and is like “I don’t know why I’m here, but I think it has something to do with Spider-Man. We should team up.” Ok, what? First of all, as far as we know three movies deep, Spider-Man does not exist in this universe. Also, you’re trying to do Sinister Six again! Despite failing at it and canceling your plans several times. And, third, how dare you steal a character from the MCU timeline to make your shitty universe work better. It’s a well-known fact that a big part of the reason the Tom Holland Spider-Man movies work is because of Kevin Fiege/Disney. And, now, you’re just going to straight-up take that hard work and trick people into thinking your garbage “cinematic universe” is canon to the MCU. Bullshit. Complete bullshit. I hope Morbius bombs hard and all of these plans end up going to shit. Because all of this not only seems like a bad idea but feels like it’s in extremely bad faith. You’re only thinking of the money and not the art. And, it’s going to blow up in your face. I just do not understand how you can keep dropping the ball like this. It’s embarrassing. Sony, please do better or sell the rights. As a Spider-Man fan, I’m begging you. I can see the writing on the wall and it’s not pretty.
So, like I said, I didn’t enjoy Morbius. The movie itself is not good. But, the after-credits scene turned it into the absolute dumpster fire I was expecting. After the one-two punch of Spider-Man: No Way Home and The Batman, having a disaster like this enter the superhero genre hurts worse than normal. Oh well, maybe Multiverse of Madness will undo this pain. (Potentially in more ways than one?) But, until then, again, fuck Sony.
TL;DR: Morbius itself feels like a bad action/sci-fi/horror film from the early 2000s full of disappointing cliches and questionable CGI, but its post-credits scene easily makes it one of the worst superhero movies of all time.
Score: 2/10 (Painful)
Post-credits Score: 1/10 (Unbearable)