Reviews of ‘Morbius’: Spider-Man spin-off is bad

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Jared Leto plays Michael Morbius in Sony’s Morbius.


It’s never a good sign when a critic says your movie “could have been better summed up in a two-minute trailer,” but sadly that’s the case for Sony’s latest Marvel movie “Morbius.”

As Detroit News’ Adam Graham points out in his review of the film, the studio’s desire to expand its Spider-Man knowledge is understandable. Without Disney’s steady hand, however, Sony seems to be struggling to take its villains from the comics to the big screen.

Graham is not alone in his assessment of the Jared Leto-led film. The film, which premieres Friday, has received bad reviews across the board, recently sitting at 16% on Rotten Tomatoes from 134 reviews.

“Morbius is a perfunctory, sloppy attempt to remind the public that Sony owns the rights to these Spider-Man villains and that they’re going to use them,” Kyle Anderson wrote in his review of the film for Nerd.

While the two Venom movies were theatrical success stories for Sony, they weren’t considered “Fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes either, meaning they don’t have a score of 60% or higher on the site.

In the film, Leto portrays biochemist Michael Morbius, who tries to cure himself of a rare blood disease. However, when an experiment goes wrong, he accidentally infects himself with a form of vampirism. While seemingly cured of his illness, gaining strength and speed, he also craves blood.

He is reluctant to give in to his newfound urges, but his friend Milo, who also had the same blood disease and took the same ‘medicine’, enjoys his newfound power and has few doubts about what it takes to maintain his new form.

“‘Morbius’ just isn’t right,” Anderson wrote. “There’s no two ways about it. It just feels lazy and unfinished.”

Sure, some critics saw virtues in the film. “Morbius has a sense of place—and interest in places of interest—that sets it apart from the shiny, faceless Atlanta pop of so many other superhero movies,” wrote Richard Lawson for Vanity Fair. Manohla Dargis of The New York Times praised the “restraint, sensitivity and gestural expression” of Leto’s performance.

Other than that, though, there aren’t many voices standing up for ‘Morbius’. Here’s what critics had to say about the film ahead of its Friday debut:

Kristy Puchko, Mashable

“‘Morbius’ can be skipped entirely,” Kristy Puchko writes in her review of the film for Mashable, describing the film as “tiring” and so fast it’s dizzying.

“Perhaps the fast pace is to make up for the lack of verve of the cast, many of whom speak in a weary tone as if they were dragged out of bed just before the shoot – or perhaps the hope is that if the plot moves fast enough, don’t you have time to notice how painfully predictable each beat is and how two-dimensional each character is,” she wrote.

Likewise, she said the costumes were “forgettable” and the creature’s designs were “unimpressive,” calling the computer-generated prosthetics “neither fresh nor scary.”

“Morbius”, which seemed to profile itself as a horror film with a thriller undertone, has little in the way, according to Puchko. She also warned that the public should temper their expectations for important connections with other Marvel entities.

“Don’t be fooled by the trailers featuring Venom, Spider-Man street art in the background and Michael Keaton’s return as The Vulture,” she wrote. “Eddie Brock and his symbiote bestie are only mentioned as ‘that thing that happened in San Francisco,’ and as an inexplicable joke, with Morbius identifying himself as ‘Venom’. That’s it.”

Read the full review of Mashable.

Jared Leto plays Michael Morbius in Sony’s Morbius.


Emily Zemler, observer

“In 2004, ‘Morbius’ might have been a pretty good movie,” Emily Zemler wrote in her review of the film for Observer. “Today the comic book spin-off feels… dated and aimless.”

“If this were a Disney Marvel Studios property, rather than under the Sony umbrella, you’d be watching ‘Morbius’ on Disney+ this weekend as part of a six-part limited series that traces the origins of the haunted, blood-sucking villain. rather than feeling compelled to pay for a big screen experience that doesn’t require a big screen,” she added.

Zemler pointed to the lackluster special effects, one of many who say it resembles a poorly executed version of the vampire prosthetics seen on the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” show in the early s.

She also noted the lack of commitment. Derived from the literal universe-bending events of “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” the Leto movie is “a pinprick,” Zemler wrote.

“Unless your ticket is free, don’t bother,” she wrote. “This film is as lifeless as the bodies Morbius sucks and throws to the ground.”

Read the full Observer review.

Charlotte O’Sullivan, The Evening Standard

“It’s actually ironic,” writes Charlotte O’Sullivan in her review of “Morbius” for The Evening Standard. “There were rumors that Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield could make an appearance in ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home,’ but the cast and crew denied it.”

“No, no, no, they said. Fans shouldn’t expect extra treats. Then—ta da!—treats abounded,” O’Sullivan continued. “With this Sony production, the third feature in the SSU (Sony’s Spider-Man Universe), director Daniel Espinosa suggested there might be something tasty. And – ta da! – we get nothing. At press screenings, films related to Marvel comic book characters generally get a round of applause. ‘Morbius’ was really booed.”

For O’Sullivan, the script “got dumber by the second,” with little logic to match the leaps the film made in science or motivation. There are no characters or even imminent danger to worry about and the romance between Morbius and his girlfriend Martine just keeps sizzling.

“While Morbius is endless, it also feels like large pieces are missing,” O’Sullivan wrote. “My jaw dropped when I realized a particularly bland kerfuffle was the final fight. A mid-credits scene, starring Michael Keaton as Adrian Toomes/Vulture (last seen in the Sony/MCU collaboration, Spider-Man: Homecoming) , is the final insult. It. Makes. No sense.”

Read the full review from The Evening Standard.

Clarisse Loughrey, independent

“Somewhere in the middle of ‘Morbius’, a movie about a Spider-Man villain that doesn’t feature Spider-Man, I was ready to tap out,” Clarisse Loughrey wrote in her review of the film for Independent. “To get up and leave. Move to a mountain cabin in Switzerland and just never get involved in Sony’s Spider-Man-less Spider-Man Universe again. It takes too much effort, for too little reward.”

Like many critics, Loughrey noted that “Morbius” acts more like a prelude to a post-credits scene than a fully-featured movie. She called the film “tacky” and “sloppedly written”, explaining that “Morbius” has no real ending, it just ends.

“All in all, ‘Morbius’ is a film that is more frustrating than gleefully awkward,” she wrote. “And if superhero movies are really going to dominate modern cinema in the next decade, we need at least some healthy competition between studios. I hope Sony can put up a better fight than this in the future.”

Read the full Independent review.

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