20 April 2024

Film Review – Morbius (2022)

It has taken me a few days to allow my brain and writing capabilities to calm down after watching Morbius on Wednesday evening. If I was writing for a big newspaper, they’d have been really mad at me for not handing over my copy before the film’s release yesterday but, as Reviews Editor of this wonderful site, I allowed myself an extra day of solemn reflection, analysis, catharsis and calm to try and comprehend what I had just witnessed. I even took time to think about my decisions, to question them in case I was too angry, too quick to pass judgement, too quick to condemn. That time was well spent and drew me to one simple, clear conclusion: Morbius isn’t just the worst superhero film I have ever seen, it is also one of the worst films I’ve ever seen period. And here’s why.

Some may scarper at that comment of this being, at the bare minimum, the worst superhero/comic-book film I have ever seen – and of course, this is just my judgement – but simply put I’ve never sat in a cinema watching such an effort and been so flabbergasted at the choices made throughout this one. No-one sets out to make a bad film, ever, but this one is. Yet this doesn’t necessarily seem like the fault of director Daniel Espinosa – although he isn’t entirely free from sin – or star Jared Leto (and by extension Matt Smith, Jared Harris, or Adria Arjona). It starts out at a fairly decent pace as we are introduced to a young Michael Morbius as he starts his journey to cure himself of the rare blood disease coursing through his veins, but soon it quickly descends into farce.

And we’re not talking farce like some people label Batman & Robin, a film that knows it’s a massive pantomime: this one becomes more and more ludicrous with each passing moment but without any hint of the fun that should come with it. Told seriously, aiming to echo the dark subtleties of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy (even ripping off of the trilogy’s most spectacular and important images), Morbius finds itself with about as much subtlety as an early Farrelly Brothers film, and without an iota of their humour.

What is abundantly clear when watching the film, though, is just like some of the victims of the “living vampire”, it has been slashed to within an inch of its life and brings back memories of Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four (sorry, Fant4stic) reboot that was similarly treated, rightly or wrongly. The delays due to the pandemic and the interim colossal success of Spider-Man: No Way Home weren’t ideal, of course, but much if not all of what has ended up on screen is frankly an embarrassment to all involved. Who wanted to release this in this state? Who went against those supposed earlier versions and thought “lads, this is the one”? One person does spring to mind who will remain nameless, but suffice to say this isn’t the first time he or she has been guilty of such sins. The film reeks of both studio interference and nerves like the original film has been shredded up beyond all recognition only for someone to want to use sellotape to put the shards back together again. And, of course, don’t forget the now rampaging IP/interconnection monster tearing through the world of superheroes that must be obeyed at all costs if there are to be sequels and crossovers. Like the multiverse, it too has seemingly ripped holes in what modern audiences (myself included) have come to expect, and serious consideration to closing it for good, no matter the cost, can’t be far off.

But for all the shenanigans mentioned above, the sheer facts are that Morbius is a poorly conceived, constructed, and executed film in its own right, regardless of the horrific shoehorning or poor “up top” decisions. Most origin stories are derivative in nature these days but surely they could be better than just painted by numbers? Surely a different swing for the fences for a character that is unique in comic-book lure would have paid off? Look at, say, Ghost Rider, another “out there” anti-hero that, while not particularly great, at least shows some ambition and allows Nic Cage to go into full-on crazy mode. Imagine Leto being allowed to do something like that. Imagine a talented director like Espinosa being allowed to take some risks that are against the norm. Things were simpler in 2007. Instead, the film follows the ridiculous, messy, morbid blueprint of Venom and its sequel because, ta-da, they made lots of money. Poor effects, hopeless dialogue, horrific editing (but you know why), lacking any shred of depth or thought, it is magnificently dull. At least Batman & Robin KNEW what it was and what it was doing, for better or worse. Safe to say, its “worst ever” crown has a new home.

The dialogue will continue to rage about IP, franchises, the need for everything to be connected (it doesn’t) and to always leave fans wanting more (of course we want more, but it doesn’t mean you have to give it to us, try to surprise us!) and Morbius is another victim of everyone involved being led by other things and misguided in their approach to the detriment of the final product. This is a bad film on so many levels and shows the worst of Hollywood and the current state of the industry, and only lends more credence to Martin Scorsese’s opinions on these films’ value and existence. Don’t worry, Marty, this has all the excitement of sitting on a see-saw by yourself in the rain. And even then, we know what we’d prefer to be doing.

No stars.

Comic-Book, Action, Thriller | 2022 | 12A | Sony Pictures | Dir: Daniel Espinosa | Jared Leto, Matt Smith, Adria Arjona, Jared Harris, Tyrese Gibson

Discover more from

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

Did you enjoy? Agree Or Disagree? Leave A Comment

Discover more from

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading