After the disappointing Venom 1 and 2, is Sony’s cinematic universe succeeding in reinventing itself? Morbius review with Jared Leto.
On the fringes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Sony is capitalizing on the heroes of the House of Ideas with its connected universe. The firm is interested in many glossy characters, and in particular those that revolve around the spider-man. It was therefore only a matter of time before the firm looked into the fate of Morbius, a dark anti-hero looking like a modern-day Dracula.
The plot follows Michael Morbius, a boy genius with an orphan disease. In a last hope to save all people suffering from the same pathology, he develops a cure from genes of vampire bats.
But his project will turn into a nightmare when, after inoculating himself with this mysterious remedy, he discovers an insatiable appetite for blood. Hunted from all sides, Morbius will have to face an enemy as powerful as him, and deal with his irrepressible desire to consume the blood of each person he meets.
Sony’s Spider-Man Universe is still in its infancy. The franchise was launched in 2017 with Spider-Man: Homecoming, where Spider-Man was played by a certain Tom Holland. Since then, thanks to the popularity of the web weaver, the character has become one of the biggest licenses at the box office; No Way Home reaching record amounts across the globe.
The introduction of Venom was more laborious, with two opuses of questionable scriptwriting quality. Nevertheless, the public seems to have been won over, the second part directed by Andy Serkis amassed no less than $502.1 million at the box office. The recipe is lucrative, so Sony is not going to change its tune.
Marvel blood for blood?
The myth of the vampire is not new to cinema, giving birth to fantastic masterpieces like Dracula by Francis Ford Coppola or even Interview with a Vampire by Neil Jordan.
Sony therefore arrives in minefield with Morbius, which intends to draw on the side of horror to distinguish itself from the watered-down productions of Marvel at Disney. A rather interesting starting point that promised to renew the genre a little. To do this, Sony is recruiting Daniel Espinosa, to whom we owe Life: Origin Unknown released on our screens in 2017.
After offering us an incursion on the border between science fiction and horror, the filmmaker tries to instill his mastery of the genre with controlled but too few horrific sequences. Because where he could have completely embraced the Gothic dimension of the feature film, Espinosa prefers to plunge us into a debauchery of dubious digital effects, in the heart of a modern and disembodied city.
Yes The Batman was keen to establish itself as an exercise in style, Morbius painfully reminds us that Matt Reeves’ film is an exception. In terms of digital effects, the film seems straight out of an episode of buffy the vampire slayer. The look of the characters, very faithful to that of the comics, does not work, worse it becomes almost laughable at times.
Autopilot staging continues to lock up Morbius in its coffin of clichés, nothing will obviously be able to save this feature film from sinking. However, we can not neglect the action scenes, which are rather well made. Not everything is to be thrown away.
Garlic, garlic, garlic it stings…
This intertitle isn’t just a dodgy joke about the creature that’s based on Morbius, but rather the sad acknowledgment of a missed opportunity. Staging antiheroes, at the limit of the antagonist, is a big challenge for the studios; they will not be able to raise it. Morbius would have flourished more in a monster film, Sony preferred to play it safe by ultimately deviating very little from its specifications.
In its construction, Sony’s new beast has many shortcomings. Already, because she tries to draw her inspirations almost everywhere, without ever succeeding in hatching a grandiloquent entertainment as she aspires. But also and above all because it never pays homage to the genres that infuse it.
Thriller meets fantasy and horror, but mayonnaise doesn’t take. The fault with a lacunar construction and a concern for rhythm. Never really choosing a guideline, Morbius does not avoid leaving the road.
With the help of big screenplay strings to bring us closer to the final fight, the film written by Burk Sharpless and Matt Sazama brushes aside all the elements that could have made it more interesting.
The main issue of this mutation, the irrepressible desire to drink the blood of poor innocents, finds its resolution from the first moments. Morbius will not become a ruthless bloodthirsty killer, he created blue blood a few months before.
However, the introduction is far from bad. We also take more pleasure in seeing him fight against his new impulses than against his antagonist, embodied by a Matt Smith who had accustomed us to better.
Let’s get along, it’s still better than Venom: Let There Be Carnage, but it is far from being enough to convince us. Fortunately, Morbius has a solid asset in its pocket: its reduced duration of one hour and forty minutes.
Morbius Horror Picture Show
Jared Leto changes creamery. The actor, who has many great roles to his credit, was no doubt hoping to make people forget his sadly flouted Joker in front of David Ayer’s camera at DC.
And we can say that its incarnation is not devoid of interest. The actor navigates as best he can in this ocean of inconsistencies and scriptwriting facilities, even if he is not helped by the dialogues which are sorely lacking in density.
Around him gravitate actors of his caliber, at least on paper. Matt Smith, who recently admitted not having understood everything about the character he plays, stands out as a big, caricatural and very talkative villain.
Jared Harris is meanwhile unfairly relegated to the background, when he deserved more light. Adria Arjona in the shoes of the scientist and collaborator of Morbius is doing quite well. The other actors are confined to the roles of extras, like Tyrese Gibson and Al Madrigal who play the two police officers.
It remains to be seen how the public will react to Morbus. Faced with the overpowering, and it must be admitted effective, Marvel recipe at Disney, Sony is struggling to establish itself as a reference for lovers of superheroic productions.