MORBIUS: 2 STARS. “Morbius sucks… more than just blood.”
Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.
In “Morbius,” a new shared universe of films inspired by Spider-Man characters, and now playing in theatres, Jared Leto plays a doctor who takes the old phrase, “Physician, heal thyself,” a little too far.
Jared Leto is Dr. Michael Morbius, Nobel Prize-worthy biologist with a medical degree in hematology. His field of work is personal to him. Since childhood he and his best friend Milo (a preening Matt Smith) have battled a rare blood disease that drains him of his energy. As an adult Michael searches for a cure.
“I should have died years ago,” he says. “Why am I still here if not to fix this?”
He devises a cure, but it is it a cure or a curse? He will live, and maybe even thrive, but his life will be forever changed.
“I went from dying to being more alive than ever,” he says after going “batty.”
The cure has transforms him into a transgenic vampire, a being with superhuman strength and speed, heightened senses, accelerated healing “and some form of bat radar,” but none of the usual weaknesses associated with vampires. Bring on the garlic and crosses. But, like traditional vampires, he now must drink blood to survive.
“I have powers that can only be described as superhuman,” he says. “But there’s a cost. Now I face a choice, to hunt and consume blood or die.”
He chooses life, but his tolerance for artificial blood is lowering and soon he’ll have to break everything he believes in and drink real human blood, a choice he loathes.
Milo, on the other hand, chooses a darker path, pitting friend against friend. “All our lives we’ve lived with death hanging over us,” Milo says. “Why shouldn’t we enjoy life for a change.”
It can only be said one way. “Morbius” sucks… more than just blood. Likely undone by a PG-13 rating that must have shaved off some of, what could have been, effective horror elements, it’s a defanged vampire movie with no bite.
A generic story and dated special effects—the bullet time gag was fresh when we first saw it in “The Matrix,” but that was then and this is now—and the whole turgid affair culminates in a murky CGI climax that is visually hard to follow. You know where this story is headed, you just can’t tell what, exactly, is happening on screen.
Leto is the above-the-title star, but his bland work is over-shadowed by Smith who at least seems to be having fun as the bloodthirsty Milo.
There are two after credit scenes in “Moribus” that promise more stories with the batty doctor, but the franchise needs a serious transfusion before continuing the story.