Dueling Reviews: Morbius

I have a confession to make: before going to see “Morbius” in theaters, I did what I never do before seeing a film I need to review. I looked at what other reviewers were saying about the film, and, from my understanding, I was walking into the worst movie of the year.

I spent about half of the film with the back of my mind working hard nit-picking for details that would qualify for such harsh reviews. Finally, I had an epiphany. The answer swooped toward me like a bat to blood: Nothing. There is nothing horribly wrong with this film. 

In fact, I would even venture to call it good and thoroughly enjoyable, and I am willing to risk the torches and pitchforks of the entire film review community to make that claim.

Of course, this begged the question: why did people hate it so much? I suppose I could understand how some people might have disliked the effects – for example, it took me a while to get used to the way they portrayed Morbius’s echo-location abilities, using what looked like colored campfire smoke that wafted off most of the objects in the film during action sequences. But nothing in the effects category made it an unwatchable mess.

So, perhaps the plot? If you accept that Marvel-affiliated films always stretch the science a bit (after the nightmarish plot holes initiated by time travel in “Avengers: Endgame,” I don’t think we can complain about anything in the realm of scientific believability), it is not difficult to get behind the general idea of a brilliant doctor tortured by a terminal disease coping with a recombinant DNA experiment gone wrong. 

The backstory gave us just enough perspective into his past to understand his life mission as well as his deep friendship with Milo.

Overall, the action sequences were enjoyable, and the fact that the antagonist focused mostly on targeting those close to Morbius offered a twist that I think Marvel badly needed. It was refreshing to see a smaller-scale conflict rather than the I-need-to-save-the-entire-world-from-certain-destruction trope that Marvel has favored in many of its mainstream films. Sometimes smaller is bigger.

So, it must be the cast. But, overall, the performances were done well. Matt Smith injected a much-needed playful dance-alone-in-his-house personality into the character of Milo that served the flow of the movie well and nuanced the villain character. I also have few complaints about Jared Leto’s performance as Morbius, which offered us a sarcastic, slightly bitter, slightly brooding controversial hero that the Marvel side of superhero-ism desperately needs. He killed people, he isn’t a saint, but we are still on his side.

Sure, some of the dialogue was a little flat, and some of the side characters (the detectives, in particular) added absolutely nothing but faces and minor plot points to the film. But it was far from the worst film of the year (please remember that “Uncharted” came out only a month and a half ago). 

If you like superhero movies and want to see something a little different, ignore the poor reviews. They’re wrong.

3.5 out of 5 stars – Emily McGinn

“Morbius” is such a pointless movie that the endeavor of putting thought into why it is a pointless movie requires more effort than the entirety of the movie’s screenplay. 

Sitting down to write a review of “Morbius” inherently requires more focus, imagination and determination than writing the screenplay. The smart thing to do would be to write “BAD” and move on with our lives. A movie best seen on the darkest projector possible, so that way you don’t actually need to see it.

What this movie boils down to is scenes that feel like they are missing a previous scene of context, dialogue that is so bafflingly on the nose and characters with all the likability of a Thirty Seconds to Mars album. “Morbius” is a trite journey into patience, and if you come out alive you are a brave soul that can endure most forms of torture.

That being said, it is a hilarious movie – unintentionally for the most part. 

Characters investigating a crime that happened on a boat constantly reiterate to other characters that the crime happened on a boat. There are jokes in the script, but do they land? Hardly. A light chuckle or a pained face contortion that could be considered a smile is all the movie will get from this reviewer.

The cast sleepwalks their way through this tale of neck romancers— seriously, “Morbius” contains a gratuitous amount of sexual tension between everyone you would least expect.

Especially since the lead “romance” between Martine (Adria Ajona) and Morbius (Jared Leto) has all the romantic chemistry of two action figures being smashed into one another to kiss. 

More believable is the sexual tension between Morbius and Milo (Matt Smith). Better yet is a scene near the end of the film where Milo and Dr. Nicholas (Jared Harris) argue like an old married couple and whisper sweet nothings into one another’s ears before the former disembowels the latter.

It is a series of consecutively poorly written and edited scenes that amount to a pot-roast of imperfection called “Morbius.” The gravitas with which the character is handled is truly bewildering, as things just happen and occur rather than build and paramount with conflict and stakes (pun intended). 

The action is weirdly composed – if you understand what is going on in any given action sequence you should be awarded a Bachelor’s in geography. CG-blobs battle and flail, fall and sometimes fly into bigger blobs.

By the end of a movie such as “Morbius,” one may wonder if movies were a mistake. Yes, you read that right. By the time the credits roll and you are forced to sit through several nonsensical credits scenes, you will lose faith in the ability of filmmaking. 

Why are movies made if we must endure ones like “Morbius”? Is it truly that bad? Dear reader, do you really want to call my bluff if it means sitting through the movie? You may like it. Or, you may find dear reader, that I am right. The choice is yours…

In the end, the real “Morbius” was the necks we bit along the way.

No stars to give – Josiah Murphy

Leave a Reply