"Morbius" Film Review
By: Nathaniel Simpson
Almost every Marvel fan has heard about the fight between Sony and Disney for the rights to use Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After lots of negotiating and a drunk phone call from Spider-Man himself, Tom Holland, the two bickering studios finally came to an agreement that would benefit both of them greatly - Disney will get to use everyone's favorite web-slinger in its multi-billion dollar superhero universe, and Sony gets to keep the rights to Spider-Man and his whole universe of supervillains. This prompted Sony to release the Jared Leto-led film "Morbius", which is a total misfire on almost every level.
The movie follows Michael Morbius (Leto), who is a doctor that was born with a very rare blood disease. Because of this, he devotes his whole life to trying to find a cure for this horrible disease, causing him to test unnatural and dangerous medicines on different animals. Yet, when he thinks he finally figured out the way to cure himself using the DNA from bats, he creates a monster that he didn't know was possible.
To start, Leto is a good choice for this role. He has the look and the personality to match the character of Morbius, and he does a pretty good job of portraying a sort of compelling anti-hero. However, the rest can't be said for the rest of the cast. The film does feature some pretty good actors, who unfortunately give mediocre to bad performances. Take Matt Smith, for example. He is widely known for portraying Doctor Who in the television show of the same name, as well as giving excellent performances in other critically acclaimed TV shows and his most recent film, Edgar Wright's "Last Night in Soho". Unfortunately, due to the direction by Daniel Espinosa, Smith's talent was wasted on this film, and he gave such a cringe-worthy and hard to watch performance. There is even one specific scene in this film that mirrors a cringe-worthy Tobey Maguire in Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man 3".
It is hard to blame the actors however, as it seems like the filmmakers had no clue what they were doing when making this film. The movie is sloppy and all over the place, and it sadly seems like a movie Sony just threw together to retain the film rights to Spider-Man. One of the most significant of its failures, however, would have to be the choppy and downright disgusting editing job. If there was a Razzie category for worst editing, this film would take the prize. It is all over the place, and it seems like the editors just threw in random scenes that don't fit or make sense. Furthermore, the final battle sequence was shot using mostly CGI, but the editors and the filmmakers crafted it in such a way that you have no clue what is going on for the entire fight sequence.
The one good thing I could say for the editing department was that the CGI was on point. Even though it is very distracting and poorly done in the final fight sequence, everything leading up to it was spot on, like many modern Marvel movies that have come before it. The scenes that deal with Morbius in his vampire form are awesome to watch, and are able to capture the viewer in the moment of these scenes. Consider the scenes where he is using his new echo-location abilities or using his teleportation skills to maneuver from one place to another. It is all very well crafted and executed, making this one of the best things about this film. In many cases, the CGI shouldn't be the best thing about a movie, but it thankfully does for this horrendous film.
To match the sloppy editing, you also have to have a sloppy story to go along with it. The movie has a hard time finding its tone and structure, usually diving into unimportant aspects for long periods of time and rushing the important bits of the movie. It doesn't know the exact story it wants to tell, nor does it reflect on the characters and the reasoning behind their actions. It's confusing and hard to follow as well, making the viewer feel three steps behind the story after they feel like they have caught up to speed.
The influence from Disney's MCU is definitely there, but perhaps Sony should just leave it to them to make films this size and about these comic book characters. Sony is embarrassing themselves by being greedy and only caring about the money that the Spider-Man movies will bring in. They would rather sully their good name by releasing less than mediocre films to audiences, not only disappointing fans, but ruining their chances about growing their own Spider-Man universe outside of the MCU.