Movie Review | Morbius: Engaging Despite Being A Generic Origin Story

Movie Review | Morbius: Engaging Despite Being A Generic Origin Story


‘Morbius’ is the origin story of the vampire super villain, brooding antihero, and frequent Spider-Man foe, and is the third entry in the Spider-Man Universe, after ‘Venom’ and ‘Venom 2: Let There Be Carnage’.

The film begins with Jared Leto sporting his signature beard and long silky black hair parted down the middle- alighting from a helicopter in the mountains of Costa Rica. Hobbling around with a pair of forearm crutches, he enters a cave to capture a flock of bats whose DNA he plans to extract to create a powerful new serum. He is playing Dr Michael Morbius.

We are then transported, twenty-five years earlier, to a sanitorium in Greece which is overseen by the kindly Emil Nikols (Jarid Harris). Here we are given a glimpse of Michael’s early childhood, where he is plagued by a rare- and fatal blood disease. This propels him to become a doctor – Dr. Michael Morbius, the world’s foremost expert on blood diseases.

Working with his loyal assistant Dr Martine Bancroft, Michael conducts experiments on artificial blood that could be ethically challenged. In his desperation to excel, he conducts a bold experiment- on a cargo ship off the coast of Long Island, with eight mercenaries in tow. This experiment, though successful – goes awry.

Powered up with super speed, strength, and echolocation (“Bat radar for the uninitiated”), the experiment transforms him into a powerful being but thirsty for blood. This leaves him to battle his urges and deal with Milo (Matt Smith), his sickly British boyhood friend from the sanatorium in Greece, who has no compunction to quench his thirst for human haemoglobin from the unsuspecting public.

Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe may get disappointed with the film, but for others this film, directed by Daniel Espinosa from a script by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless works wonderfully as the narrative is engaging with a moderately paced plot, thrilling moments, and gravity-defying stunts.

While Jared Leto is competent and delivers a reasonably good performance, it is Matt Smith who, as Milo gives a toxic magnetism to the character. There is a scene that begins on a promising note with Milo all dressed up and strutting in front of the mirror, then moving towards the bar suddenly feeling like a superman, this brief moment is exciting but dies down soon, as the narrative is not about him, but Michael.

Similar is the case with Adria Arjona, who essays the role of Dr Martine Bancroft. She is good, but her scope is limited by the script.

Overall, the film is well-made with ace production values, sleek CGI and excellent VFX.

Film: Morbius
Director: Daniel Espinosa
Cast: Jared Leto, Matt Smith, Adria Arjona, Jared Harris, Al Madrigal, Tyrese Gibson
Duration: 106 minutes

–By Troy Ribeiro