Morbius Broke Me?


Morbius is crazy. Morbius is unlike just about any movie I’ve seen. Certain scenes just defy comprehension the way they’re put together. This is a disaster, but somewhere in this mess of a movie, deep, deep inside, there’s (barely) an interesting vampire movie about a terrifying transformation from a morally upstanding doctor to a blood-sucking beast. I have to imagine something got lost in translation here because the idea that a filmmaker working with this kind of budget and level of talent in front of and behind the camera and putting out a movie this lifeless, soulless and without any real identity breaks my brain.


Jared Leto plays Dr Michael Morbius, a world-renowned scientist who’s changed the world with his advancements in medicine, we meet him as he rejects the Nobel Prize. He suffers from a rare genetic condition that threatens to kill him and has left him walking on crutches his whole life. Funded by his childhood friend who suffers from the same illness, Lucien, who he dubbed “Milo” as a child, Morbius works with his lab partner and colleague Martine in hopes that he can cure the illness he, his best friend and thousands of others have to live with. He fuses bat and human blood that he injects himself with and like that, he’s a living vampire, who struggles to balance the strength of his ethical standards as a doctor with a rabid thirst for blood. His friend Milo gets hold of the same formula and he and Morbius become brothers in vampiredom, but Milo has far less qualms giving into his vampiric desires. Soon, Morbius finds himself facing off against Milo to stop his killing spree, both pushing the boundaries of what they can do with their newfound abilities.


Jared Leto is almost notorious for his commitment to method acting wherein while making a movie, whether the cameras or rolling or not, he is playing his character. It has been reported that Leto was so immersed in his role in Morbius that he would take bathroom breaks on the crutches his character sports in the movie. These breaks took up so much time that the decision was then made to have someone wheel Leto to the bathroom to expedite the process. This has been rightfully the subject of much online ridicule, I find this process extraordinarily pretentious, but if it works, it works. Jared Leto is an Oscar winning actor, so it’s got to be worth something, right? Leto’s performance as Michael Morbius is so bad because it’s so clear he’s not interested in what’s going on here. Have fun with it Jared! You’re playing  a vampire, not a drug addict. It’s that disconnect between the movie Leto’s trying to create and the ultimate movie that really tanks it. Matt Smith is fun though, he’s the villain and lets loose, dancing and almost cackles with glee at multiple points about getting to play the heel, it’s great.


Morbius lacks conviction everywhere it goes. It’s not brutal enough to work as a vampire story, the horror of turning into this unrecognizable monster who can’t resist his own hunger for blood is a terrifying arc, but beyond a few awkward twitches as Dr. Morbius struggles to ignore his vampiric instincts, you don’t get the sense that this guy has been changed at all by this ultimate transformation. 


Morbius has about every quality I could hate in a movie, it’s lazy and contrived and unimaginative and yet, I don’t hate this movie. It’s clear that this got muddled along the way and at some point, there was a really haunting story about a guy, in a desperate quest for more life becoming this harbinger of death. A movie that subverts what we expect from the next great Marvel legend, a little like Venom, but instead this is just more of the same and frankly, worse than the established standard for this kind of movie. Shame on you, Morbius.