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Morbius Is a Fun Introduction to a Horrific New Superhero

It’s tough to believe we’re still getting movies that were supposed to come out in 2020, but it’s true. Morbius was originally scheduled to hit theaters in July of 2020, and now, after almost two years and about 500 pandemic-related release date changes, it’s finally here.

Morbius was directed by Daniel Espinosa, and it stars Jared Leto, Matt Smith, Adria Arjona, Jared Harris, Al Madrigal, and Tyrese Gibson. It’s a superhero movie about a brilliant scientist named Dr. Michael Morbius who’s struggled with a debilitating blood disease his entire life, and when he finally finds a cure for his condition, it has some very unexpected side effects.

Dr. Morbius gains superhuman abilities like increased speed and strength, echolocation, and the ability to fly, but his cure also comes with a downside. He experiences an almost uncontrollable desire to drink human blood, so he has to find a way to satiate his vampiric thirst without turning into a serial killer. On top of that, there’s also a new superpowered villain in town, and as the bodies begin to pile up, the good doctor has to find a way to stop this new threat as well.

If I’m being objective, I have to admit that Morbius isn’t a great movie. In fact, it’s not even particularly good. For starters, the plot follows the standard superhero origin formula pretty much to a T, so it doesn’t really do anything we haven’t seen a million times before. It’s super predictable, and even when it tries to throw a few twists and turns at you, you can see them coming from a mile away. The best I can say is that the plot is just good enough that it doesn’t ruin the movie, so if you’re looking for top-notch genre storytelling, you’re not going to find it here.

Morbius attacking someone
Morbius (Jared Leto) in Columbia Pictures’ MORBIUS.

Along similar lines, the characters and the performances in this film are also pretty lackluster. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not exactly bad, but they’re not particularly good either. Like the plot, they’re just decent enough that they kind of fade into the background and let the movie’s strengths (which we’ll get to in a bit) do all the heavy lifting, so just like with the plot, if you’re looking for compelling characters you can fall in love with, Morbius is simply not the film for you.

However, there are two exceptions here. Most notably, Matt Smith is fantastic in this movie. His character was an absolute joy to watch, so pretty much any time he was on screen, I perked up a bit because I knew the movie was going to get a lot better. The marketing for Morbius didn’t reveal much about this character, so I can’t say more than that without getting into spoilers, but trust me, Matt Smith is hands down the MVP of this entire cast.

On a more surprising note, we have Al Madrigal. He plays a detective who investigates a string of murders that he thinks are being committed by Dr. Morbius, and much like Matt Smith, he’s also super fun to watch. As you might expect, he provides a bit of comic relief every now and then, but even when he’s not being funny, he still brings a certain charm to the role that made me smile pretty much every time his character did or said anything.

Moving on to the horror, this is where things start to turn around. Granted, Morbius is rated PG-13, so it’s not filled with blood and guts, but it has its fair share of violence. In particular, when the titular hero’s bloodlust gets the better of him and he goes on the attack, it’s a real joy to watch. He goes all-out on his victims, so even though we don’t see these attacks in all their bloody glory, we see enough that I for one was pretty satisfied.

Two detectives standing in some fog
Agent Stroud (Tyrese Gibson) and Agent Rodriguez (Al Madrigal) in Columbia Pictures’ MORBIUS.

Similarly, the villain also provides us with some really cool horror scenes, and when he and Morbius clash, it’s a lot of fun. Admittedly, their fights are little more than just empty popcorn fun, but if you’re like me and you enjoy that kind of stuff, I think you’re going to have a good time when you see these two horrific characters go toe to toe.

On top of all that, the way the film visualizes Morbius’s powers is also really cool. Just like we saw in the trailers, the air around him shimmers and takes on a different hue when he uses his vampiric abilities, and it looks just as great in the movie as it did in the marketing. It’s a really nice touch that I don’t recall ever having seen before, so it sets this film apart from the rest of the vampiric pack.

And at the end of the day, these positives outweighed all the negatives for me. Sure, like I said before, if I’m being objective, I have to admit that Morbius isn’t a particularly good film, but I had a ton of fun with it nonetheless. While the characters and the plot weren’t all that great, they were just decent enough that they didn’t get in the way of the movie’s fun horror action, so when the credits began to roll, I was pretty satisfied. And if this sounds like your kind of film, I think you’re going to like it too. As long as you keep in mind that it’s a style-over-substance funfest, you should be able to enjoy it for what it is, and you’ll walk out of the theater just as happy as I did.

Morbius is playing in theaters right now.

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Written by JP Nunez

JP Nunez is a lifelong horror fan. From a very early age, he learned to love monsters, ghosts, and all things spooky, and it's still his favorite genre today. He blogs at Embrace Your Fears.

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