“Morbius” fails to deliver a memorable origin story

The latest Sony film is an underwhelming and forgettable experience


Photo | Sony Pictures Entertainment

Michael Morbius possesses the ability to transform into a vampire.

By Minjae Kang, Monta Vista High School

Marvel Entertainment’s classic villain Morbius makes his live-action debut in Sony’s latest film. Directed by Daniel Espinosa, “Morbius” tells the story of doctor Michael Morbius, (played by Jared Leto) who suffers from a rare blood disease and is attempting to find a cure using vampire bats for both himself and his friend Milo (played by Matt Smith). Through the process of searching for a cure, Morbius and Milo gain supernatural abilities similar to those of a bat, but conflicts arise as the two friends disagree on how to approach using such abilities.         

While many past Marvel films, especially those that were produced during the pandemic such as “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” have been criticized for their imperfect CGI, such criticism does not apply to “Morbius.” The CGI effects of Morbius’ powers are visually stunning: Morbius’ bat sonars cause ripples that engulf his surroundings, and the water-like textures of the ripples, along with their transparent, light blue colors, are very pleasing to the eye. Additionally, the purple and orange smoke trails that Morbius creates when flying fits well with the blue-colored ones of Milo, and both color schemes blend beautifully into the backdrop of the New York City nighttime. 

Morbius attacks the crew of a ship after first acquiring his powers. Photo | Sony Pictures Entertainment

Jared Leto’s successful portrayal of Morbius further adds on to the engagement of the movie. Due to his prior experience in acting out a character with personality disorders with his performance of the Joker in the 2016 film “Suicide Squad,” Leto delivers a high quality performance of Morbius and his mentally unstable vampire persona. Matt Smith also manages to incorporate a diverse range of personalities into his character Milo, ranging from empathetic and comical to disturbing and even psychotic.  

In some aspects, “Morbius” distances itself from other superhero genre movies by incorporating unique elements into its plot. For instance, the film succeeds in striking a balance between action and horror, with a great portion of the movie consisting of suspenseful scenes full of jump scares and blood. The soundtrack of the film also helps create a tense mood, as the music is slow, quiet and even nonexistent in moments meant to be nerve-racking.  

Yet, the main storyline of “Morbius” is generic and full of clichés, ultimately failing to deviate from Sony’s other recent superhero movies. The film follows a very similar structure to Sony’s “Venom” and “Venom: Let there be Carnage,” with the antagonist of the film having similar, if not identical powers to the protagonist, leading to a lack of varied action cinematography. Additionally, the story is extremely predictable due to the presence of clichés in multiple plot points, such as the reason behind Milo’s villainous deeds and the event that provokes Morbius into hunting down Milo. 

The flow of the plot also suffers as a result of unnecessarily fast pacing and a lack of organization. Multiple scenes and information crucial to the storyline are frequently rushed and glossed over, causing moments in the film to be less impactful, and failing to add depth to each of the characters. Similarly, the film overutilizes time jumps, leaving audiences confused about the movie’s progression, and eventually leading to the conclusion of the movie being unsatisfactory. 

Overall, despite certain strengths, “Morbius” falls short in terms of originality and cohesive plot, ultimately failing to leave a mark on the current cinematic universe of superheroes. While fit for a movie that can be used to kill time, those expecting a solid superhero origin story will find themselves disappointed.

This story was originally published on El Estoque on April 13, 2022.