No spoilers for the movie Morbius will be covered in this post. No purposeful spoilers, at least. I want people to experience this without knowing anything going in.
Morbius(2022) stars Jared Leto, Adria Arjona, Michael Keaton, Matt Smith, Jared Harris, and Tyrese Gibson. It was directed by Daniel Espinosa, and the screenplay was written by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless, the writing duo behind other instant classics like Dracula Untold, The Last Witch Hunter, Gods of Egypt, and the 2017 Power Rangers reboot.
So today is a big day in terms of posts. A few short hours ago I released my fiftieth(!!!) post. Which is exciting. And usually I don’t release two posts in one day. But last night I watched Morbius, and as soon as I left I knew I had to tell as many people as I could as soon as I could. It might end up affecting my views, but I know that talking about this movie is equally important. Oh, and I would also like to say that I know it’s April 1st. The realization came to me earlier this week, and I did consider doing some dumb joke post. A few of my friends said I should denounce Paul Rudd and then say psych at the very end. But that’s not really something I want to do? I’ve never been a big fan of the way that people on the internet handle April Fools’. Usually the “jokes” include tricking people into thinking they’re going to have something they like taken away, get a cool new thing that turns out to be fake, or some company pretends to make a ridiculous product and everybody yells at them. I don’t really see the point anymore, especially when the world is already dealing with enough bullshit. And I kind of rely on the internet being a safe space free of trickery and unnecessary arguments. Can we not ruin that, please? Even for one day? So despite the fact that I’m releasing two posts on April Fools’ Day, neither of them will be a prank or joke in any way. I apologize if you were wondering what kind of dumb thing I had planned for today. You’re gonna have to settle for the regular levels of idiocy that I operate on 90% of the time. Anyway, now that that’s out of the way, let’s get into my review of Morbius!
I haven’t exactly been secretive about my hatred of Sony and the movies they make. Specifically the Spider-Man and Spider-Man adjacent movies they produced without the help of Marvel. Except for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, but that movie is only good because a lot of incredible creators who actually care about these characters got together and made a genuinely fantastic movie despite the money-hungry f***heads in charge of the company that released it. There were five solos Spidey movies released after Sony bought the film rights to the character, I liked exactly one of them: The Amazing Spider-Man. And Spider-Man 2 is also fine, I guess? It’s the most tolerable of that horrible trilogy. None of what I just said is a joke, but don’t come at me saying I’m wrong. I haven’t seen either Venom or Venom: Let There Be Carnage. Sony lucked into owning the rights to one of the most popular characters of all time and then ruined it right away. I have no interest in watching them mooch off the goodwill garnered by Marvel’s take on the character to make money off of his least interesting villain. Another thing I haven’t been secretive of is my dislike of Jared Leto as an actor and as a human being. I also never liked Morbius as a character. There are no good Morbius storylines in the comics, and I thought for sure this was going to yet another soulless cash grab. He isn’t even a particularly beloved character. So as you can tell I was locked and loaded to despise and mock the shit out of this movie.
And I can’t tell you how much it pains me to say that I can’t mock this movie. Because it isn’t bad. Not even slightly. This may very well be the best superhero movie that I’ve ever seen. It may seem like I’m kidding. But I’m not. This is not only a fantastic comic book movie, but a fantastic movie in general. Before I saw Morbius my favorite comic book movies included Thor: Ragnarok, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, The Batman, Avengers: Endgame, The Incredibles, and Spider-Man: Far From Home. Compared to Morbius? Those are complete shit. This film takes every comic book movie trope I’ve ever seen and perfectly distills it into a one hour and forty-four minute masterpiece.
Another thing I don’t want to say, but I have to: Jared Leto shines as Michael Morbius. This is the role he was born to play. The way he portrays a brilliant scientist who’s spent his whole life struggling with illness… it’s inspiring. There’s so much nuance to be found in every line he speaks, in the way he awkwardly stumbles across the screen. And they found the perfect counterpart for him in lifelong friend Milo, played by Matt Smith. Their chemistry is heartbreaking and electric. I take back every bad thing I’ve ever said about Jared Leto. I get it now. He’s incredible.
There really isn’t a bad performance to be found in this. Matt Smith, as I already said, is excellent as always. Jared Harris, who I thought was going to be a villain based on the trailers, plays an incredibly inspiring and emotional father figure for Morbius. He was probably my favorite character in the whole thing. Tyrese Gibson and Al Madrigal are great secondary antagonists. They play FBI agents trying to track down Morbius. The two of them have perfected the gruff cop/wise-cracking cop dynamic, and it’s so much fun to watch the two of them on screen. I thought from the trailers that Al Madrigal’s character was going to be grating and hard to watch, but that is not the case. His little quips are a highlight in an already excellent film. And Tyrese Gibson gives a terrifically nuanced performance as well. His character is torn about whether to arrest Morbius or not, as Morbius’ artificial blood saved his life many years prior. You can see the struggle within him, and it’s just perfectly executed. Oh, and Michael Keaton is excellent, as always. But I can’t really get into that. I guess you’ll have to watch it to see his scenes.
Another career-defining performance is put in by Adria Arjona, who plays Martine Bancroft. Martine is Morbius’ coworker at Horizon, and the bitingly sarcastic dynamic between the two of them is just so great. The chemistry between those two actors is electric, and I’ve never seen a better female protagonist in a superhero movie before. None of the others have been portrayed with such a badass and nuanced nature.
The effects are fantastic and so painlessly beautiful. Between Leto’s performance and the amazing CGI, I actually forgot that Jared Leto wasn’t really a vampire. The plot is succinct and picks up speed as it goes, culminating in a fantastically executed finale. And after some of the coolest animated credits I’ve ever seen, we’re treated to two post-credit scenes unlike anything I’ve seen before. Not only do they tease the exciting things to come, but they tell a narrative separate from the rest of the film.
And the action sequences. Oh my god, the action sequences. This movie blends classic vampire horror elements with action so well, and the suspense in each scene is just used so well. Watching Jared Leto rip through a room full of people is almost operatic in the way it’s choreographed. And when Jared Leto finally turns into Morbius for the first time? I almost stood up and cheered, it was such a great scene. They show it in the trailer; he rips through a whole boat full of hired mercenaries like they’re paper. And when he’s done and he turns back into a regular man… The way he shows the audience that he’s struggling so much with the remorse that he feels is just beautiful. He really is the best actor working out there today. I just rewatched Suicide Squad, and I can confirm that I’ve been oh so wrong this entire time. That movie is SO MUCH BETTER than the shitty James Gunn one. I don’t know what I was thinking. And Jared is easily the best part.
I also really appreciated the choice to make Morbius turn back and forth from human to vampire, instead of just being a vampire all the time like he is in the comics. Because they changed the dynamic we get to see him struggle against his inner demons made physical, rather than just always being the demon. It’s Shakespearean, really. There are several points throughout the film where he almost changes, but doesn’t, and it really signifies the bloodlust that’s always just on the brink of taking over.
I’m really sorry, guys. I wanted to hate this film so badly, but it really is just so fantastic. It caught me off guard how much I liked this movie. Don’t believe the negative reviews, go out and see this as soon as you possibly can. Morbius is true cinema, and it needs to be seen to be believed. I really hope that the people who wanted to hate this(like me) don’t stop it from making money, because after this? I cannot wait to see what Jared Leto can do with this character next.
Overall Rating: 10/10(I can’t properly state how good this movie is. I’m definitely going to see it again, and you should all see it too!)
Leto Rating: 11/10(As I said above, this is a career-defining performance. If Leto doesn’t get an Oscar for this, I’ll riot. I won’t make a tasteless joke or slap somebody, but I’ll riot.)
I hoped you enjoyed this bonus post! Come back on Wednesday for a very special Ruddtrospective!