Film review: ‘MORBIUS’ by Nick Gardener from ‘Built For Speed’


The latest in the apparently never-ending procession of marvel films, Morbius (although this one is Spiderverse rather than MCU) is more like a DC Batman film than a typical Marvel movie. Not only does the title character have an obsession with and the powers of a bat but this film at least attempts to be as dark and intense as a Christopher Nolan Batman film. There’s no wisecracking, motor mouth Tony Stark or pisstaking Taika Waititi here. Unfortunately, this emo vampire snoozefest has nothing like the artistry, depth and detail of the Nolan Dark Night movies.

In fact, this is also possibly the most thinly plotted Marvel-related film. It’s an origin story and not much else. Jared Leto plays genius medical scientist Dr Michael Möbius who, much like his childhood friend Milo (Matt Smith) suffers a rare and debilitating blood condition that threatens to eventually take his life. After decades of experimentation, Morbius has developed a possible cure but a small, unexpected side effect is that it turns him into a vampire. Suddenly going from being barely able to walk to having superhuman speed and strength as well as vampire bat-like echolocation abilities seems like a godsend at first but as his new condition includes a thirst for human blood as well as unsightly mottled skin and demonic fangs, he realises it’s more of a curse.

Having established its premise and thrown in a battle with a surprise vampire adversary, little else happens here. This film is essentially half an hour of plot stretched to 114 minutes.

There is the usual quota of action sequences, some featuring vigorous and vertiginous shots of Morbius and his vampire opponent flying through the city battling each other and smashing into buildings. Unfortunately, chaotic editing, murky cinematography and an irritating effect involving visible sound waves, largely obscure this action.

There’s a brief attempt to parallel Morbius and his fellow vampire with gay men who are treated as other (a little like Interview with the Vampire) but what could have been an interesting theme isn’t explored in any depth.

Leto, who looks like a muscly Jesus, gives Dr Morbius intelligence and conviction but in large part due to the script, he has little emotional range; he’s either dour and dull or a snarling, neck-chomping monster.  Matt Smith brings some intensity and imposing arrogance to the role of Morbius’ adversary but the script also doesn’t  given him a lot to work with.

With none of the quirky humour of The Avengers and Thor films and much less thrilling action than the recent Spiderman films, the torpid Morbius is unlikely to become a superhero fan favourite.

Nick’s rating:   1/2.

Genre: Superhero/ action/ sci-fi.

Classification: M.

Director(s): Daniel Espinosa.

Release date: 31st Mar 2022.

Running time: 104 mins.

Reviewer: Nick Gardener can be heard on “Built For Speed” every Friday night from 8-10pm right here on 88.3 Southern FM.  Nick can also be heard on “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly Film Show” podcast.


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