Sorry! We Missed It is a new Substream column where we’ll be looking at some movies and television shows from the beginning of the year. Life happens, you know? So, sit back and play some catch-up with us.
Making a shared universe between two movie studios is extremely hard. All the story pieces have to be in the right place, and creatives must be on the same page. Disney and Sony’s joint agreement to include Spider-Man in the MCU has proven to be a fruitful and profitable union. But that doesn’t mean every project would fit under the same umbrella. Sony’s Spider-Man Universe (SSU) has already immersed itself in the anti-hero territory of Venom and the beautiful animation of Into the Spiderverse. The studio was seeking to do the same with Morbius — at first; it has some interesting plot points of friendship through disability and scientific integrity. Not to mention, the character of Morbius is a vampire, something not seen yet in this iteration of recent films.
However, whatever interest the film garnishes, Morbius quickly unfurls, not committing to any aspect that would make it complete. Once the film concludes, you feel that there’s so much more to be told. Odd, considering the movie is slightly over the hour and a half mark. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) is a brilliant scientist with a rare blood disease who is up for the Nobel Peace Prize for his artificial blood invention that has saved “more lives than penicillin.” This is a bit of the “physician heal thyself” irony considering the disease he’s inflicted with. But, Michael has been working on a potential cure (which may be both illegal and unethical) involving fusing bat and human DNA together. (what could go wrong with that?)
Dr. Martine Bancroft (Adria Arjona), Michael’s working partner and maybe romantic interest, declares her concerns. Still, Michael promised his lifelong friend Milo (Matt Smith), who has the same disease and is filthy rich, that he’d find a cure. With Milo’s money and an experiment on a mercenary ship across international waters, Michael becomes his own test subject — which goes completely wrong for the men in the vicinity in a bloody, vicious fashion. Mostly, Leto’s portrayal of Morbius is one of a person who is highly conflicted about what he has done. His cure is a curse, and for most of Morbius, Michael is wallowing in it when he’s not having a video-game-style tutorial of his new powers.
Matt Smith seems to have the most fun in his portrayal of Milo — yet the film gives his character little to latch onto concerning his motivations. Is Milo jealous of the hinted romance between Morbius and Martine? Is the new DNA only enhancing the downright lousy person and the ugliness inside him? Well, it’s not so clear. The only brief flashback we get of young Milo and Michael has them getting separated because Michael gets into a medical school in New York. As Michael leaves, Milo gets bullied once, but there seems to be no resentment — that seems like a missed opportunity to establish conflict.
Morbius’s supporting characters seem to be there to take up time. Emil Nikols (Jared Harris) serves as the father figure for both Michael and Milo, but is aside from scenes at the beginning of the film; he is primarily absent until the “what have you become” monologue. Tyrese Gibson and Al Madrigal play FBI detectives Simon Stroud and Al Rodriguez, who either show up at a crime scene or briefly interrogate someone. The quality of action scenes and computer graphics also taper off as the film continues. In the beginning, Morbius’s first transformation looks good, and the horror style of his first kills displays an interesting template the film could build upon. Unfortunately, that’s where things end — the facial transformations leave much to be desired, and the bullet-time usage seems a little dated.
After-credit scenes rarely make or break a film. Morbius’s choice to include the two doesn’t make much sense in the whole grand scheme of the multiverse and its rules. If there even was any to begin with. Sony could have dove into the premise’s campiness and handled some of the stories with care. In the end, Morbius feels like a rush to cash in on the strides the studio made with its more impressive features.