Morbius, Spider-Man’s nemesis who, like Venom, gets his share of action in his solo films, is a no-nonsense film. In 104 minutes the audience is invited to get acquainted with the main character, why he wants to carry out illegal experiments, why he ends up fighting with his best friend and how he ends up becoming a bloodsucking human. Everything is wrapped in a film that is very aesthetically stylish. And with Jared Leto in the lead, you’d expect this to be a trailer for the Met Gala. The film opens in the jungles of Costa Rica where Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) who suffers from a blood-related disease, is looking for a blood-sucking bat that he thinks will be the key to saving everyone who has the same disease as him. After this we then retreat to meet the childhood Morbius with his best friend Milo (his real name is Lucian) in Greece. Their bond was fast and effective, so the two ended up staying close even when they were adults.
Back in the present in New York, Morbius (2022) continues his experiments with Martine Bancroft (Adria Arjona), a scientist and doctor like Morbius. He knew of Morbius’ secret experiment without even revealing it to his partner. Thanks to Milo’s help, they finally go to international waters to carry out the Morbius experiment: combining bat and human DNA to treat his rare disease.
All superhero movie viewers (especially Spider-Man) know what’s going on. Morbius not only recovered from his illness but now he has bat-like abilities. He can fly. He has extraordinary hearing. And more than that, Morbius who was once very frail now immediately has a six-pack stomach and muscles that only people who diligently go to the gym can have. Everything seems fine and according to plan. It’s just that this experiment has one minus: Morbius is now bloodthirsty.
Written by Matt Shazama and Burk Sharpless, many things make Morbius seem generic. The story is very standard. If you didn’t know that Morbius would later become Spider-Man’s nemesis, you might be wondering why this film was made. The dialogues are also very generic. There’s a plot about detectives investigating Morbius also feels like pointless.
Even so, I really enjoyed Morbius. One of the reasons is that director Daniel Espinosa directed this film with a burning passion. He knows how to present this one anti-hero to the community so the film is very fun to chew from start to finish.
Unlike the first Venom movie, where it wasn’t clear what he was going for, Morbius (2022) knew what he was (though lacking in totality). Espinosa knows how to maintain the mood and tone of this film with a strong gothic atmosphere so that from the start of the film, the audience knows what kind of film Morbius is. The choice of Jared Leto as the main character in my opinion is also not a coincidence considering he is one of the gothic icons with his band 30 Seconds To Mars.
This gothic mood is not only limited to the color scheme and makeup of Dr. Michael Morbius (in the beginning when Morbius was sick, it was like watching an old Jared Leto video clip) but also down to production design to the selection of Morbius costumes. Espinosa is also painstaking enough to take the mood of the film so seriously that it feels like a parody in the best possible sense. Due to the tense atmosphere, his very dry humor becomes a pleasant entertainment in itself.
What I also really like about Morbius is its very unique visual decisions. Oliver Wood’s camera combined with the help of good CGI makes this film feel very fresh. The shots shown are also unique. I don’t even talk about spectacular scenes like when Morbius and Milo fight and shock the public. I’m talking about simple chat shots and Oliver Wood can provide interesting scenes to watch.
Jared Leto plays pretty well and has a strong charisma to be Morbius. Even though Adria Arjona doesn’t have a three-dimensional character, he has enough chemistry with Leto so that their relationship is easy to support. But it was Matt Smith as Milo who stole the show. Smith who looks like a vampire without makeup appears very convincingly as an enemy of Morbius (2022). With a convincing backstory, Smith and Leto have thick enough flesh to make their scene full.
Halfway through the film, when Espinosa shows who the real villains are that makes Morbius feel like an adaptation of a gothic novel, I feel that this film has the potential to become a sensational film. All the formulas are already there but are hindered by the rating. In a spooky sequence in a hospital hallway, Morbius will become a perfect horror (something the creators of The New Mutants coveted) if he commits to the horror tone he carries. It’s not that Espinosa can’t do that, especially if you look at his film Life. I’m sure if this film is given an adult rating, Morbius will be much more fun. But for now, Morbius is more than enough to make me curious about what he will do in the next films.