[Header Image: Jared Leto as Michael Morbius | Sony Pictures Releasing]
The overwhelmingly negative response I’ve seen for this movie has been partially hilarious to witness. Let’s make it simple, is Morbius worth spending money on in order to see it on the big screen? Perhaps not. I saw it at the cinema and I certainly don’t regret it but, unfortunately, there’s nothing particularly special or stand-out-ish about it, so skipping the trip and watching it in the comfort of your home won’t result in any feelings of missing out.
As I mentioned, there’s nothing about it that particularly stands out. Morbius essentially does what it says on the tin but doesn’t try too hard to move beyond that. If you know the basic plot, the genres, the themes, and other such details you can probably guess what’ll happen in this movie. It definitely hits all the appropriate markers but as I said before, it doesn’t try to do much more beyond that. There are so many opportunities throughout in which it could have gone that little bit harder but instead, it seems to stick to doing the bare minimum.
Generally, the pacing of Morbius was fairly good but the structure could have been a little better. There are bits and pieces throughout that could have been cut or shortened and that time, instead, could have been used at the end of the movie. It seemed to end a little abruptly and there wasn’t really a strong sense of closure. It mostly felt like the movie ended with not enough satisfaction which is unfortunate because just a few extra minutes could have made all the difference (and really, the overall length of the movie didn’t have to change for that).
As harsh as that sounds, it’s not all bad. For the most part, the acting was enjoyable even if some characters felt a little underdeveloped. The movie is also entertaining to watch, especially if you’re willing to accept that this is not a masterpiece or anything close to that. I particularly enjoyed the special effects, an element that I’m sure others will be divided on. The use of visuals (including lights and colour) and sounds, with occasional slow motion, in order to show off Morbius’ powers was very fun. Were they a bit over the top? Possibly. Were they necessary? Eh, not really, but regardless, I liked when they were used. There is a good chance it would have worked better if they were used a little more sparingly but I found that with how often they were used — and when specifically — it felt purposeful and like it was a part of the movie instead of something just slapped on for the sake of it.
One of the major flaws of Morbius is that at times it felt like it was trying a little too hard and taking itself too seriously. Those aforementioned special effects are a little gimmicky sure and like I said, possibly a little unnecessary but they’re a nice little addition and I wish they’d leaned into that a bit more. There’s also a scene where a character (I won’t say who) is dancing in front of the mirror while getting dressed and it’s so silly and over-the-top (with how it’s acted out) but once again, it was fun, and it would have been great to have seen a lot more of this.
Really, as a whole, Morbius needed to lean more into that over-the-top, funny, and slightly weird vibe or go in completely the opposite direction and go full thriller/horror. Even a slight combination would have worked but instead, while the movie does feel like a blend of those, it also feels too flat in places.
Another major issue — and also one that could still be fixed — is that Morbius is so very clearly a first movie, a start of something. The story doesn’t feel as tight as it could be mostly in part because there’s clearly a path being opened up for future movies (and crossovers). There is every chance that some issues in this movie, particularly with undeveloped characters and the flat plot, could be covered more deeply in future movies, but that doesn’t stop the fact that this one suffered a pretty significantly.
In the end, if you want to see Morbius, I won’t say avoid it. Definitely tamper down your expectations and just try to have some fun with it. It does have some good qualities and it’ll definitely occupy a couple of hours of your time. I found it easy to sit through and it kept my attention the entire time. I’m still intrigued to see where things go from here for Morbius. Both in terms of the movies and the character. It’s certainly nowhere near as bad as some have made it out to be but it really comes down to what you personally enjoy and whether its level of entertainment is enough for you to sit through.
Rating: ★★★ /5