‘Morbius’ Movie Review: Jared Leto Stars in Marvel’s Most Flavorless Installment Yet

Morbius is Sony’s superpower follow-up to the wildly entertaining and crowd-pleasing Spider-Man: No Way Home. It seeks to bring another one of Marvel’s anti-heroes to the silver screen after the massive financial success of Venom. However, Morbius lacks a personality that defines the film, as it tries to force its way into the Marvel Cinematic Universe canon in an unnatural way.

‘Morbius’ brings a vampiric anti-hero to Marvel movies

'Morbius' Jared Leto as Dr. Michael Morbius with vampire teeth in front of a rack full of blood bags
Jared Leto as Dr. Michael Morbius | Sony Pictures

Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) is a biochemist with a rare blood disease. However, he has his similarly sick best friend, Milo (Matt Smith), and his father figure, Emil Nikols (Jared Harris), to confide in. Morbius has a brilliant mind and intends to put it to use to find a cure to all of their problems. He will stop at nothing to save his life and advance the possibilities of medicine.

Everything begins to change when Morbius discovers a potential answer to his disease. However, he realizes that the highly experimental process has its share of risks associated with it. Morbius injects himself with a form of vampirism that gives him the life that he always wanted, but at a steep price. Now, he craves human blood and no one around him is safe.

Director Daniel Espinosa combines an origin story with another step forward in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Morbius momentarily takes the audience through a few times from the title character’s life. He’s constantly looking death in the face, but this weakness ultimately proves to simultaneously be his strength. Morbius has a lot to say about mortality and the moral choices that must be made as a result. It’s not a far cry from the usual vampire flick.

Espinosa makes it abundantly clear that Morbius is a part of the MCU. He instills various references that relate back to characters such as Venom, Spider-Man, and the X-Men. However, none of them are substantial or contribute much to the overall narrative. Morbius is an origin story that simultaneously seeks to tell the audience that the overall Phase Four arc is moving forward.

The character of Morbius combines elements from the typical vampire movie and the MCU. His powers include bat radar, super speed, and super strength. Morbius doesn’t always have total control of his powers, causing him to lash out. However, he’s an anti-hero who blurs the moral line a bit more than upstanding MCU heroes, such as Spider-Man.

‘Morbius’ makes blood-sucking vampires bland

'Morbius' Jared Leto as Dr. Michael Morbius with white eyes looking from under his brow wearing a black hoodie
Jared Leto as Dr. Michael Morbius | Sony Pictures

Espinosa combines a horror movie aesthetic with the MCU in a way that allows it to stand out from other superhero flicks, but not always for the right reasons. Morbius captures the same fictional version of New York that audiences already associate with other superhero movies, although it adds a slightly darker aesthetic to it. There are several jump scares, but it could have pushed the envelope much further.

Similar to Venom, Morbius’ nature lends to a much higher potential for violence than most of the MCU. Espinosa tip-toes around the R-rating by committing to gross-out sound effects and steering clear of visual gags, but it’s still very much a PG-13 rated superhero flick. If Deadpool proved anything, the studios shouldn’t fear going all-out when the source material calls for it. A good movie will get audiences in seats regardless of rating.

Morbius is Marvel’s most flavorless installment yet. The CGI-filled action sequences are bland, muddled, and there are way too many bad CGI screeching faces to fill screen time. Leto’s over-the-top style in House of Gucci is gone, as he’s incredibly muted here. The antagonist’s motivations don’t make sense and the audience is never given a reason to care about the stakes. Morbius severely lacks energy and excitement, which shows in the final product.

Morbius opens in theaters on April 1.

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