Morbius lacks bite

Sony Pictures’ ‘Morbius’ (2022), directed by Daniel Espinosa, is based on the titular Marvel Comics vampiric anti-hero. Having been delayed multiple times, the film that was finally released in theaters is an overall mediocre experience, with moments of greatness.

However, the film is plenty watchable thanks to the performance of Jared Leto, who delivers a solid portrayal of the titular character, even when he is hindered by a subpar script. Leto’s costar, Matt Smith, plays Morbius’s eccentric childhood friend, Milo, which Smith relishes.

However, for as much fun as Matt Smith’s performance provides, it also highlights one of the key problems with the film. This is due to Smith’s character being more comedic and over-the-top, which provides one of many instances of tonal whiplash in the movie.

The film is ultimately unable to decide what kind of movie it wants to be, trying to come across as self-serious, a comedic, an action and a horror film. In trying to shift between these tones, the film fails to successfully capture any of them, despite moments of greatness.

However, the moments of greatness do highlight the potential of the movie. For example, there are two sequences in which the movie successfully leans into its horror inspiration, with an action scene on a boat and a chase in a hallway. Both of these scenes succeed in keeping the audience on edge, but the movie mostly ditches its horror elements after these two fairly early sequences.

The film also features an interesting display of Morbius’s powers, as he leaves a trail of smoke after using them. However, spotty visual effects cause this to often come across as confusing for the audience, especially in the film’s messy finale.

Overall, the movie suffers from underdeveloped characters, as only Morbius comes across as having any real development. On top of this, all characters outside of Morbius and Milo are blandly written cliches, despite the work of their actors. While good moments and the performances of Leto and Smith make the movie worth viewing as a matinee or once it hits streaming, they can’t save Morbius from being an otherwise uninspired film.

By Ryan Abraham