MUDDLED, with flashes of brilliance, but an overall sense of ‘why?’, Morbius is a film that isn’t so much bad or good, as confusing.
Dr Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) is a brilliant scientist, lauded for his work creating fake blood that can substitute for blood donations. But he hasn’t been able to crack the case he is most interested in solving; that of his own debilitating illness.
Both he and his best friend Milo (Matt Smith) are afflicted with a disease that shortens their lifespan and necessitates blood transfusions multiple times throughout the day. Morbius is indefatigable, however, in his search for a cure; so much so in fact that he enlists the help of his faithful colleague Dr Martine Bancroft (Adria Anjona).
Their efforts to cure his disease in international waters instead result in his acquisition of a form of vampirism – one that leads him to crave blood, gives him super strength, and a host of other superpowers.
As dead bodies start piling up, however, Morbius has to face the fact that his best friend might not have used the cure to the best ends, and that he may be the only one who can stop him.
Morbius is a strange beast. Much like the titular character himself, who can leap in fits and bursts of disembodied black tendril-like energy, the film lurches forward with rapidity before slamming to a halt almost at random.
We’re given the occasional deep introspection, and then thrown bodily into a CGI vampire fight that doesn’t make much sense. The start is unexpected and out of place; the end, when it comes, is sudden and rapid; the sequel set-up almost an afterthought, as if the creative team felt they had to do it, but didn’t really believe it would ever come to fruition.
Indeed, much of the film has this sort of lacklustre feeling as if it had to be made, but no one really believed in it. It’s like someone held a gun to the head of the entire creative team behind the picture, and made them create a generic CGI-heavy superhero origin story.
Everyone is going through the motions, but with the atmosphere of a ISIS-hostage video.
The CGI is the real killer of this piece. A lot of work has evidently gone into the facial transitions between normal human and vampire, and the switching between the two is occasionally well done, but the vampiric faces are just too much, too cartoony and destroy any sense of believability.
All that being said, Matt Smith has a ball in a role that calls for him to dance around half naked and wear a tie that matches the pattern of his shirt, and Jared Leto finds quiet moments of introspection to showcase his mammoth acting chops in yet another film that doesn’t deserve him.
Review by Jacob Richardson Creative Director | Film Focus www.filmfocusau.com