Morbius Finally Sees the Light of Day
Like a lot of films that had been planned for release in 2020, Morbius had been delayed multiple times and even got pushed back from a release date earlier this year where other movies had been coming out as planned by then. Once it did release, there were a lot of negative or mediocre reviews of the movie. Some people didn’t like Jared Leto playing the role after the way his Joker character went in Suicide Squad. Honestly, you can’t blame him to that. Yes, the character was a travesty, but Leto didn’t write the script, design the costume, or plan out the make-up. There’s only so much that even any actor, no matter how good, can do with a badly written and directed character. Other people didn’t like that it was a Marvel movie but came off as a generic vampire movie. This I can understand. Given the character’s link to Spider-Man and some of Marvel’s supernatural characters (despite not having any actual supernatural nature himself) in the comics, Morbius’ story seemed to be separate from the other Sony features and really lacked the comic book feel. Morbius is not a well known character and that lack of connectivity really hurt him. (I hope that they link Kraven to Spider-Man more whenever that movie comes out so he doesn’t have the same problem.) Despite all of that though, I enjoyed the movie.
While the details of the process differs from the comic, the story of Dr. Michael Morbius trying to find a cure for a rare blood disease sticks with the character. One nice thing about using a more obscure character is that fewer people know or care about some of the details. In the movie, Michael spends part of his childhood with Loxias Crown who he calls “Milo”. For some reason, Loxias starts going by Milo and other people start calling him that too. This part really never made any sense, especially as an adult. All I can think is that people behind the movie wanted to use the character Loxias Crown but didn’t like the name Loxias. I’m not sure why it even mattered though because he is an exceptionally obscure comic character named Hunger whose creation was linked to Morbius. (I had to look it up myself since even I’ve never heard of him.) At some point, it appears that they connect back up because Milo is somehow backing the research for the cure to the disease they both have. It’s never explained how Milo came into this money though he does mention something about gambling with a mobster so you can only guess it has something to do with that. There’s too many gaps in Milo’s story for him to be anything more than a plot device. Even as the impending bad guy, he’s not really likeable as an adult or character in general. The fact that he’s played by Matt Smith who I’m using to seeing as Doctor Who makes the situation even weirder. (I really just wanted to put a fez on him.)
They do a good job with Morbius after the cure. Beyond the improvement in physique (Jared Leto definitely looks better shirtless after that point.), they show an increase in speed and strength as well as echolocation. The effects used for his abilities are great, especially the morphing of the ears and the changing of his eyes as he switches between sight to the echolocation.
There are some other characters of note as well. When Morbius is on the run due to both the initial murders after his turned and the ones that Milo actually committed, it’s good to see him working with Martine who stood by him from the start. I really liked the character but am not sure where they are going with her after this movie given the way they left her when you last see her. There’s also Simon Stroud who is one of the officers investigating Morbius’ case. In the comics, he’s just a cop but he seemed to be something more than that in the movie. At one point, he ended up on the roof of a building way faster than he should have been. There were little things throughout the movie that had me watching for some sort of revelation that never came to be. I’m not sure if this was because of sloppy storytelling, ideas that never ended up getting used for the movie, or what. Given that the movie is less than 2 hours long, making it ones of the shortest comic based movies in recent years, they really could have added more to it if there was more to add.
And then we have the stuff at the end of the movie. Out of nowhere, Adrian Toomes (the Vulture) appears. The cause seems to be the portal from Spider-Man: No Way Home. The problem is that the portals drew others to the MCU and not characters out of that world as far as we knew. Also, once it closed, everyone went back to where they were. In the last scene, Toomes is in his Vulture costume. Given that Toomes has no personal resources in this world and that the costume wouldn’t have been easy to create when he did, he must have been in this reality for a while and the portal would definitely have been gone. Then, there’s the comment he makes to Morbius about becoming heroes. It was a very strange exchange that I can only assume was to mislead Michael and get him on board for whatever the Vulture is planning. There was a lot of set-up for what could only be expected to be a sequel, but I really don’t see that happening after the way the movie was received. Given that they’re in an alternate universe from the MCU, I’m not sure how they would grow this world or integrate the characters into a different movie/universe.
Yes, I know I’ve pointed out a number of holes in this movie. I did say that I enjoyed it, not that it was incredible. The movie needed more than just the Vulture at the very end to connected it to the comics and make it more than the “just another vampire movie” as a lot of people have described it. Personally, I think it’s worth checking out to make your own decision though. You may be pleasantly surprised.