Editor’s Note: The Michigan Daily Sports section was not involved in the creation, production or publication of this piece.
I gave “Morbius” everything I had.
I nearly got killed on the side of a highway while walking to the movie theater, pushed off homework due that night (which I probably could’ve done the day before, but that’s beside the point) and even dragged along a friend. Most importantly, I suffered through incredulous comments from my fellow film writers who said “Morbius” was going to be awful and that I pretty much have bad movie taste for wanting to watch it.
Through all of this, I held on to the slight possibility that “Morbius” might be secretly amazing. Sometimes, you just have to give the benefit of the doubt and take a chance on something that could be amazing (even if it is highly unlikely).
For the first (and probably last) time ever, my blind optimism paid off; I got to watch “Morbius” in a movie theater packed with the entire Michigan football team. Yes. The room reeked with a pungent dude-smell that was honestly kind of gross, but I’m not complaining. I was totally freaking out on the inside: racing heartbeat, texting five million people at once, unsuccessfully trying to work up the courage to say hi — the works. Definitely among the top five most surreal experiences of my life.
And it sure was a good thing they were there, because the movie was absolute trash. I was genuinely impressed — I didn’t know a movie could be so terrible.
“Morbius” is the second film franchise in the Sony Spider-Man Universe (SSU), which includes the Venom series and is weirdly connected to Tom Holland’s Spider-Man franchise within the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) — it’s a whole bunch of legal technicalities regarding film rights and whatnot. So far, the SSU has had an incredibly average beginning; the Venom franchise is neither hated nor adored. I didn’t think that was a good thing until I watched “Morbius.”
This film follows the Marvel character Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto, “House of Gucci”) as he unintentionally becomes a vampire in an effort to cure his own rare blood disease. If I actually listed out every way in which this movie shoots itself in the foot (not to mention every other available body part), we’d be here all day. So I’ll spare you the pain and skip to the flops that are at least a little bit amusing. Consider these the highlights of the lowlight reel:
First, the way Morbius gets his powers really sets the tone for the rest of the film. He sets up an experiment to blend bat and human DNA and voila! It works on the first try. Thank you, Sony, for exercising our suspension of belief muscles; we’re clearly out of practice.
Another instance that’s particularly bad: There’s a part in the “Morbius” trailer where the bad guy asks, “Who are you?” and Morbius says, “VENOM. I’m just kidding. It’s Dr. Michael Morbius at your service.” But somebody in editing really messed up here, like bad. In the actual movie, Morbius says, “VENOM.” And that’s it. No explanation or joke, he just carries on fighting the bad guys. I’m pretty sure somebody should get fired for making Jared Leto look like he doesn’t know what movie he’s in.
Every time someone important dies, it’s super bizarre. They just kind of sit there for a couple of seconds and then … bleh. Dead. Morbius isn’t even that sad, and neither is anyone in the audience because there is absolutely no character development in this entire film. All the characters are like wet cardboard, except for Morbius’ best-friend-turned-antagonist Milo (Matt Smith, “Doctor Who”) — who is too murderous for us to like, but too ridiculous for us to fear.
At this point, my advice would be to make like “Pacific Rim” — give up on the script and overcompensate with awe-inspiring action sequences and an epic soundtrack. But nobody asked me, so “Morbius” has the most pathetic fight scenes I’ve ever seen. It hurt my eyes. The sequences were messy and the choreography essentially nonexistent, so it was impossible to tell what was actually happening. The visual effects looked like they were straight out of a CW show.
Weirdly enough, I spent most of the film thinking about how it copied other movies. The “vampire mode” concept in “Morbius” is a blatant copycat of “The Vampire Diaries” — except it looks fake and cringey, and I was actually kind of grossed out by it. At one point, Jared Leto tells his love interest to stay away because he can’t control his bloodlust — this was taken straight out of “Twilight,” and we all know that’s never a good thing. Whenever the vampires fly, they have a stream of smokey stuff coming out behind them, which made me think of the Death Eaters in Harry Potter — except the color of the smoke is dependent on what the vampire is wearing, so an orange prison jumpsuit equals orange smokey stuff (that part made me laugh, it looked so ridiculous). The overall dramatic, emo tone of “Morbius” paired with an obsession with bats is like writing “WE WATCHED THE BATMAN” in neon lights.
The creators of “Morbius” must’ve been all out of original ideas for the day, because there’s absolutely nothing new in this movie. It’s pulled in a million different directions with ideas from a myriad of other movies — and the end result is the messiest film I’ve ever seen.
As the end credits started rolling, the movie theater erupted in emphatic applause and whoops from the Michigan football team (I’m 85% sure it was ironic, but honestly, who can say?). We filed out of the theater, and all thoughts of the horrible movie were temporarily dropped in favor of staring open-mouthed at the greatest (and only) college football team I will ever root for.
So yeah, there’s a reason why “Morbius” was released on April Fools’ Day — it’s a truly terrible movie. But 104 minutes of awful filmmaking is a small price to pay to see the Michigan football team in real life, and I will definitely be telling this story to my future grandkids.
Daily Arts Writer Pauline Kim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Correction: An editor’s note was added to this piece after its original publication to clarify its independence from The Michigan Daily Sports section, and the title was altered to reflect that separation.