By Sean Cabot
Daniel Espinosa’s “Morbius” has no good reason to exist. Even if it wasn’t rooted in one of the most cynical cinematic universes yet created, Sony would still have to reckon with the fact that making a film about this character is an awful idea on almost every conceivable level.
Why? Simple – no one cares about Morbius, not even comic book die-hards. He’s a C-list Spider-Man villain who doesn’t even have the cult following of characters like “The Superior Foes,” and whose entire deal boils down to being a vampire created by science instead of magic.
That’s unchanged here, with Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) accidentally turning himself into a vampire while attempting to develop a cure for a blood disease he and his best friend Milo (Matt Smith) have been suffering from since childhood. Then Matt Smith also turns into a vampire and they fight.
No really, that’s it. The disease Morbius is working to cure is completely abandoned as a plot point, and the rest of the movie is mostly just a bizarre slap fight between Leto and Smith with no coherent themes to provide depth, and just as much in the way of compelling characters.
Morbius himself has been advertised as blurring the line between hero and villain, but in the movie he’s perfectly decent. His most villainous act is killing an absolutely anodyne group of mercenaries the film is desperate to frame as scumbags.
Smith’s Milo can be fun at moments though – his weird, off-kilter energy definitely picks up the slack of Leto’s autopilot performance.
In truth, there are definitely worse ideas for comic book adaptations that have turned out well.
Someone decided to make an Iron Man cartoon where Tony Stark was a teenager and it was somehow pretty good.
And to be fair, the whole “science vampire” idea does have an inkling of promise. But “Morbius” wasn’t made because someone had an idea that would bring an obscure character to life – it was made because Sony needs to squeeze their Spider-Man license dry.
Even if it means insulting the very concept of cinematic storytelling via what might be the worst comic book movie cameo ever.
See, at the tail-end of the movie, Michael Keaton’s Vulture is warped from the Marvel Cinematic Universe into Sony’s universe of Spider-Man supporting characters for reasons that don’t make sense, just so he can tease a team-up with Morbius for reasons that somehow make even less sense.
That’d be a spoiler if not for the fact that Keaton was all over the film’s trailers in a desperate attempt to raise hype by association with the most profitable film franchise of all time, alongside teases that Spider-Man himself existed in this universe.
Hilariously, most of these were edited out of the final cut.
Now, I’m not opposed to everything Sony has been doing with their license. “Into the Spider-Verse” remains peak fiction, and “Venom” is eminently entertaining on account of its pure absurdity.
Unlike Venom, however, Morbius has no memorable stories to his name aside from “Rise of the Midnight Sons,” and that had Blade and Ghost Rider.
Sony can’t even commit to a new Spider-Man to fight all its Spider-Man villains. And it’s not like there aren’t options for heroes other than Peter Parker or Miles Morales.
How about Gwen Stacy? Mayday Parker? I’d even take Spider-Woman, and she has nothing to do with Spider-Man.
The closest thing this franchise has to a hero seems to be Silk, in the form of a far-off Amazon Prime Series. But considering that the next film on Sony’s docket is “Kraven the Hunter,” they’ll be lucky if people still care about their brand by the time it comes out.
In short, I cannot formulate a single reason to watch “Morbius” beyond morbid curiosity. The most entertaining thing about it is the fact that anyone thought it was a good idea.
F, an utterly toothless waste of time