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Morbius (2022) review - a failure in the fundamentals of filmmaking

An example of all that is wrong with comic book movies, Morbius is formulaic, cringeworthy, and just downright poor filmmaking in every single way

Morbius is a failure in the fundamentals of filmmaking

Our Verdict

A car-wreck of a movie that isn't worth anyone's time

Well, after years of delays and the whole world wondering whether the Morbius movie ever even existed at all, it is finally here. Truth is, many of us, myself included, would probably rather it didn’t exist. When Morbius was just in my head, it was a hell of a lot more fun. I had a morbid curiosity about what could possibly unfold in this comic book horror movie, but the reality is Morbius is a mess.

The latest instalment in the Sony Pictures universe of Marvel Characters, or SPUMC as Sony insist on calling it, sees Jared Leto play the titular character. Michael Morbius is a renowned biochemist, who suffers from a debilitating blood disease. But if anyone can find a cure, it’s him! And that he does, by infecting himself with the DNA of a bat. As you can imagine, this doesn’t exactly go to plan, and while he is cured of his disease, he now has the abilities, and uncontrollable blood-lust, of a bat.

The trailers for Morbius looked wild and chaotic, but kind of fun. With an appealing runtime of just 104 minutes, too, there was an outside chance that Morbius could be the perfect case of a movie being so bad it’s good. Turns out, it’s just plain bad.

I don’t really know where to begin in breaking down the many failures of this movie. What can you say about a movie that gets pretty much every single fundamental element of filmmaking so painfully wrong?

My main issue with Morbius really, is in the technical side of things. The director, Daniel Espinosa, should know what he’s doing. The evidence of his alien movie Life would suggest that he at least knows how to navigate a story, and certainly how to frame some fairly effective shots. That’s not the case here.

I’m struggling to think of a movie that sabotages its action set-pieces as much as Morbius does. The choice of camera angles, camera movements, and shot composition throughout make it so difficult to see what is happening.

Excessive use of shaky cam, extreme close-ups, and slow-motion are so detrimental to creating a cohesive cinematic experience here. Even a bad comic book movie usually has exciting visuals, but Morbius tarnishes the few rare moments of success in this department, with its overzealous, thoughtless execution.

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The visual effects work too, is almost laughable at times. You would think that in 2022, on a movie with a reported $75 million budget, the character design and effects would at least be a positive, but you’d be wrong. For the most part, Morbius looks like a PS3 game on the big screen, with just a few moments of serviceable graphics.

But hey, at least you can rely on the star power of Jared Leto to salvage something from this car wreck? I’m not the biggest fan of Leto’s work usually, but to be fair to him, he does the best he can with a poor script, and I’d go as far as to say he is one of the strongest elements of the movie.

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Matt Smith on the other hand, who plays Morbius’ old friend Milo (who is actually called Lucien), is almost unbearable to watch. Smith hams it up, and while you have to respect anyone who goes all in like that for a role, there’s only so much cringe-worthy dancing and over-excited yelling one can handle.

It’s safe to say most people wouldn’t expect miracles when it comes to the script here, but it’s worse than we ever imagined. The origin story narrative is incredibly cliché and formulaic, with offensively on-the-nose dialogue, and plot holes scattered throughout like a minefield. I’m no expert, but I definitely have some doubts about the science behind Morbius’ transformation.

At least the filmmakers, or more specifically the editors, had the good grace of mercy to trim the movie down to its more digestible form. The third act, which historically in Marvel movies can be quite bloated, is over before you know it. Usually, a sudden conclusion leaves me wanting more, but in this case, I was relieved.

Honestly, Morbius is the kind of movie that makes me reconsider my whole investment in comic book movies, and particularly the idea of shared universes. If this is the future of the superhero movie, I don’t want to be a part of it. Morbius is lazy, cheap, tactless filmmaking, and it should be buried and forgotten about for a long time. I know I certainly won’t be thinking about it again.