Geek Review: Morbius

The Sony Spider-verse, or whatever the studio is calling its little cinematic universe that includes characters related to Marvel Comics’ web-slinger, is quickly expanding outside of the fan-favourite wall-crawler, from violent anti-hero Venom, to violent anti-hero Morbius.

A member of the Midnight Sons, along with a certain Strange doctor, Morbius isn’t exactly the best choice to lead a spin-off film, but when you have Oscar-winning actor Jared Leto, it’s become a sure bet right?

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Not unless you walk in thinking you’re at a Dallas Buyers Club, but instead, you’re some poor Joker that won’t get the last laugh. Ever since Sony’s smashing Spider-Man: No Way Home, fans have been on a high for more Spidey content, but Morbius sucks the life out of you after the first 30 minutes and you’ll end up getting drained by the end of the film.

Morbius is an origin tale, explaining how a young Michael Morbius, born with a genetic defect, ends up in a medical facility with other young patients suffering the same debilitating condition, and it’s there that he meets his best friend Milo (Matt Smith). It helps that Milo is rich, and Morbius is smart, so one sick rich friend funds the other sick smart one, who eventually becomes a famed geneticist working to find a cure for their blood disease. With the help of scientist and eventual romantic interest Dr Martine Bancroft (Adria Arjona), Morbius does the inexplicable – he splices vampire bat DNA with a human subject (himself) and creates both a cure that not only makes him stronger, but also a curse that transforms him into an uncontrollable blood-sucking killing monster.

Soon, a dead nurse at the facility he works at points the authorities towards Morbius, who soon realises there’s another killer on the lose. Actually, he starts thinking that the cure he created causes him to have memory loss, so he doesn’t remember his actions when he loses control, but no sooner does the movie make you think that, before it simply reveals who the other killer is.

If you think it’s Milo, it’s not because the viewer is smart, but because the movie only has a small handful of characters and even then, director Daniel Espinosa cannot seem to juggle the simple narrative he has been handed over. 

The difference between Milo and Morbius is that Milo sees his new vampiric abilities as power, a new sense of self and identity after years of being frail, and having close encounters with death. Morbius sees it as a curse – which to be fair to Milo, isn’t really his problem that Morbius is incapable of controlling himself. Sure, Milo didn’t need to kill his first victims, but we found ourselves empathising with him a little bit, which brings us to the nex bits that the movie lacks – acting and characterisation. 

Leto’s Morbius is gloomy and serious, and he takes it up several notches, turning the serious doctor with special abilities into a complete bore to watch. Compare this to Tom Hardy’s campy portrayal of Venom (which many fans have come to adore) and you have a completely unrootable main character. Leto makes Robert Pattinson’s Batman feel like a happy clown at a child’s birthday party. Even as a broody hero, Battinson still managed to win the hearts of fans but Leto just made us wish he would cut the crap. 

Smith, on the other hand, is an absolute star. Milo is flamboyant, confident and so good at being bad, that he steals every scene he’s in but also because Smith is hamming it up. Anytime Milo waltzes onto the screen, your attention perks up because his overwhelming desire to live and be seen are far more engaging than Leto’s dreary performance of Morbius’ “Boohoo, I’m a monster. A rich and very smart monster” shtick. Literally, suck it up. 

Arjona’s Bancroft serves nothing else but to be a love interest of Morbius who aids him in escaping the police. She goes all “Morbius, it’s me!”, “Morbius, this isn’t you!” every time he misbehaves but comes across as pretty, and pretty one-dimensional, such that we forgot that it’s 2022, and female characters are not just pretty vases. 

As if it couldn’t get any worse, Morbius is a blurry eyesore. Leto’s chiselled cheekbones get turned into an angular, skeletal scowl when he’s all ‘Vampire Mode’ and he’s always trailed by a spectral mist of visible, moving sound waves when he’s lunging, dashing or flying. There were certain scenes that felt like a missed opportunity – case in point: the first scene we see of him flying. Remember what an experience it was when we saw Batman fly for the first time in The Batman? We wanted that for Morbius too. We really wished Sony and Espinosa had put more cinematography into the action scenes.

It’s such a shame because Morbius is a unique character that we’ve not yet seen in recent superhero films and even if the characterisation was poor, they could’ve at least delivered with the action. The first time we saw Morbius use echo-location was cool, sure, but he doesn’t really do much with that ability. Every other action sequence from then on became so monochromatic that it’s easy to lose visual interest. Morbius flies past New York City skyscrapers like Spider-Man learning how to web-sling for the first time, except there’s nothing aerially spectacular. 

A crime we hold Espinosa to is that he completely ignores all the horror and gothic aspects of the comics. There was only one particular scene that had horror elements to it (and even then we learn it’s not Morbius) and it was a short scene too. Perhaps, if Morbius was helmed by a different director, one who maybe had a love for horror, we might get a grand gothic gesture in cinematography. At this point, a horror, goth remake is what Morbius deserves. 

Pace wise, Morbius moves quickly, squeezing a lot in under two hours but for a supposed origin movie, Morbius doesn’t give viewers time and space to grow a connection with him. It just hurries us along – which is why it’s so hard for us to root for him, especially in his crusade against Milo. 

In all, Morbius feels churned out of a superhero movie factory. It feels like a movie that was made purely to serve (hopefully) a greater purpose or to move things along. At this point, our hopes for a third Venom movie and a solid Kraven the Hunter movie are dwindling.

Oh, and don’t expect too much from the movie’s pair of post-credit scenes. The movie insults our intelligence by making us sit through this film, and then takes that insult and smacks us twice on the face with it.



Morbius is a bloody mess that’s all fangs and no bite. A victim of a typical superhero storytelling formula, we beg that this character gets a gothic-horror remake it deserves one day.

  • Story - 5/10
  • Direction - 5/10
  • Characterisation - 4/10
  • Geek Satisfaction - 3/10