Morbius [Grade: 75%]

Director: Daniel Espinosa

Story By: Matt Sazama & Burk Sharpless

Cast: Jared Leto, Adria Arjona, Matt Smith, Jared Harris, Tyrese Gibson, & Al Madrigal. 

* * *

Is this 2022’s version of Halle Berry’s “Cat Woman” in male form? (Though, for the record, I actually like Cat Woman LOL). 

* * *

Theme & Story: C

Pacing: C

Character: C

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Entertainment Factors

General Public: Wait for Streaming / Don’t Watch

Film Enthusiasts: Don’t Watch

Experience Seekers (via Visuals & Score): Don’t Watch

Marvel / Action Fans: Wait for Streaming / Don’t Rush

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1. A world renowned doctor and scientist dedicated to saving and curing lives goes though a life altering experience when a test for a possible cure to an ailment threatening his own life takes a dark turn, impacting his reputation, friendship, and overall existence. 

This is Morbius.

Thematically, the story is grounded on ideas of acceptance” and “life’s purpose.”

Act One was an interesting act in that it wasn’t “bad,” but it could’ve definitely been more effective than it was, especially for laying the foundation for the theme. There seemed to be too many ideas at the editing table for me due to the quick time period and location jumps within the first 10-15 minutes to just support 1. The bats, and 2. How Morbuis came to be vs understanding who Morbius was as a child in his particular living-context, and his emotional state while in this context that could later explain him as an adult. 

I also found it confusing determine which child was supposed to be who for a short moment. In all honesty, I think it took Act Two for me to actually make the connections. 

Once the Act found footing with being in present day, it seemed to just check off boxes to a rather simple exposition outline focused on the specific goal of our anti-hero. 

Act Two is where the theme, mainly the idea of “life’s purpose,” started to form thanks to the introduction of the best friend to Morbius. Through dialogue and most of Act Two’s screen time, I noticed more space given to Dr. Morbius’ relationship with his reputation vs his personal passions and goals with his gift. This Act is a good follow up to support many of the editing decisions in Act One. 

Act Three was the most visually engaging of the film, but a little odd story wise when compared to the first Two Acts. Yes the theme was possibly the strongest in this Act, but there was a hint of levity that wasn’t too overbearing, and yet definitely too present and unnecessary. I blame the pacing of the story in Act Three. 🥴

2. Morbius has a runtime of about 95 minutes, and though I appreciated how the film moved for attentiveness (like adult Cocomelon, but make it dark), it definitely needed to slow down just a bit for character development sake. I mean this is technically an origin story, so give this story space to originate itself. Something about the pacing felt like the team did an early inducing, and relied on the visual and special effects as a drug…especially in Act Three🥴

3. Speaking of the visual  and special effects, now THAT was well done. Just stunning. I mean, I was in awe at the first encounter and attack… gorgeous. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👍🏾

4. Jared Leto is one beautiful white man. Like, my goodness. 😩😍

5. UGH… I got tricked into seeing a film with Tyrese in it. 🤦🏾‍♂️🤬

6.  And speaking of Tyrese, both he and his side kick, Agent Rodriguez, felt thrown in the mix last minute to be the stock character type. They wanted to be the Commissioner Gordon of Morbius so bad… but I wasn’t really here for them. 🤷🏾‍♂️👎🏾

7. The character development for Morbius definitely needed more time in the oven, especially in an origin story. Luckily, his motivations throughout the story, stating in Act Two at least, aren’t wildly off…they were just safe. Additionally, his development was the strongest follow through with the thematic idea of “life’s purpose.” 

The WORST of the character developments… Milo. My goodness, Milo went 0-100 out of no where, and I didn’t like it/wasn’t sold on it at all. It made things feel rushed and a little lazy and sloppy in regards to the story, especially considering that Matt Smith gives a very strong and engaging performance—so you can’t help but take notice. It is his character development that really wished more time and consideration was taken in Act One to lay out the foundation for the thematic ideas, specifically “acceptance.” 🤦🏾‍♂️

8. I really loved the colors and music used for the opening title and credits, and the ending credits…. I just wish the film matched the same exciting energy. 👍🏾

9. Stay for the post credit scenes (plural). 👍🏾

10. Chile… that “give me your lab” scene… like, WHAT!? Where did that choice of behavior come from? I felt there were other logical ways to get the lab than that. 🤦🏾‍♂️

* * *

Overall #Morbius gives Halle Berry’s Cat Woman – meets Venom: Let There Be Carnage – meets Nutty Professor (without the humor) – meets Splice – meets Twilight

Is this a “bad” film? No. But it definitely built up regrettable excitement and expectations. Additionally, I found myself disappointed with the film’s representation of the disabled community. There are blogs and research that suggests the worst thing you could do in a fantasy/hero movie is to have a character who’s physical disability is “fixed” in order to take on powers and abilities. 

As I watched this movie, 2 things went through my mind: 

1. Why couldn’t they make this the first Marvel Halloween-horror adjacent anti-hero film, taken a little more time in the brainstorm tank, and released this in October? 

2. Does every Marvel comic need to be a full feature length? This could’ve been a fantastic series. 

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