Jared Leto‘s second attempt at portraying a comic-book character, Morbius, has been met with poor critical reception. Based on over 5o reviews collected on aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a dismal 20 per cent rating. The movie hits theatres on Friday.
The film was delayed multiple times due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and Sony, the studio behind the movie, saved it for the big screen. Morbius is the third entry in Sony’s universe of Spider-Man films (which, mind you, does not include Spidey yet). The other films released before this one are Venom and its sequel.
Directed by Swedish filmmaker Daniel Espinosa and written by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless, Morbius stars Leto in the role of Dr Michael Morbius, a brilliant, award-winning scientist who undergoes a dangerous, experimental treatment involving the use of vampire bat DNA to cure a rare blood diseases. Instead of being cured, he turns into a monstrous being with pseudo-vampiric abilities like superhuman strength, super-speed, accelerated healing abilities, flight and so on.
Matt Smith, Adria Arjona, Jared Harris, Al Madrigal, and Tyrese Gibson also star in Morbius.
Here are some of the major reviews:
Globe and Mail’s Barry Hertz is so annoyed with the film in his review that he hopes, “Morbius will be retconned to the margins of superhero cinema history. If the film doesn’t bury the genre alive first, that is.”
The Times’ Kevin Maher called the film “the cinematic equivalent of Murphy’s Law” and said the film is an “appalling superhero snooze-fest. It’s a movie without dramatic jeopardy, originality, narrative coherence, compelling characters or a single even vaguely human performance.”
Vanity Fair’s Richard Lawson was mixed about the movie, and said, “Morbius does eventually become a cluttered slugfest, as all things must. But for much of its run it is a stylish, intriguingly toned story of a man trying to thwart mortality.”
IndieWire’s Kate Erbland wrote, “Mostly, the film occupies a strange no-mans-land of the sprawling Spider-Verse, not charming like the Spider-Man films, not funny like the Venom films, and certainly not technically impressive like the animated “Into the Spider-Verse.”
Screen International’s Tim Grierson wrote one of the few positive reviews. “A monster movie with a little bite, “Morbius” is elevated by some spirited performances and director Daniel Espinosa’s sure hand with familiar comic-book material,” his review read.
One other favourable review came from JoBlo’s Movie Network’s Chris Bumbray. “A modestly scaled launch for the character that succeeds thanks to Leto’s performance,” it read.
Negative reviews, it must be noted, are par for the course for Spider-Verse movies. The first Venom movie was panned by critics (30 per cent) and the second one’s critical reception was more mixed (58 per cent).
Meanwhile, Kraven the Hunter is the next movie in Sony’s Spider-Man universe, starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson in the lead role. It releases on January 13, 2023.