For those that aren’t familiar with the phrase “bait and switch,” here its meaning.
The action (generally illegal) of advertising goods which are an apparent bargain, with the intention of substituting inferior or more expensive goods.
In social media times, you may be more familiar with the term “clickbait.” Where the headline leaves out a lot of context of the article but forces you to click to find out, clickbait, in my opinion, isn’t always a bad thing as long as you aren’t outright lying in the headline, and that is the major problem with Sony’s “Morbius.”
Morbius probably wouldn’t be seen as a bad movie to someone who knows nothing about the MCU, Spider-Man, or Venom. If you woke up from a coma last week and decided to go to the movies, Morbius is a perfectly good Friday night date movie.
Very similar to the Sony Venom movie, the plot is thinner than the meat on a McDonald’s cheeseburger, but the plot itself is very straightforward.
Dr. Michael Morbius has an incurable genetic disease that he tries to cure dangerously and illegally. This isn’t uncommon in the comic book world, and you have to really have to suspend disbelief that Morbius, a world-renowned doctor, would be able to do these secret experiments in plain sight at the hospital he is working at.
Whatever the case, the experiment while curing him also turns him into a vampire, not a traditional one, because he can go out in the sun. Morbius’ best friend, who shares his incurable disease and has been financing his research (they never explain how his friend made his money), doesn’t care that the “cure” turned him into a murderer, so he decides to take it himself. How he got the cure is never shown, it is implied he stole it.
You can figure out the rest. Morbius has to stop his best friend, who is killing everyone and framing Morbius for it. It should be noted Marbius indeed murdered eight people, but no one cared because they were mercenaries even though they were mercenaries that were helping Morbius.
The action sequences are a half Nightcrawler from the X-Men and Neo’s bullet time from The Matrix. There is nothing you haven’t seen before. There are some excellent performances in Morbius that could have been better if they were more fleshed out. Tyrese Gibson as FBI Simon Stroud, Matt Smith as Milo Morbius, and Adria Arjona as Dr. Martine Bancroft all do well with what they were given, but it seems if they were fleshed out a little more, it might have provided the movie a little more weight. The big problem with origin story movies is that by the time the origin is done, the movie often is halfway done, and there isn’t enough time to flesh out the cast. The Batman and the Tom Holland Spider-Man movies worked because they don’t mess around with an origin story; they just jump right in.
I am not an advocate of making long movies. Just for the sake of making long movies, I am generally against it, but an additional 20 minutes probably would have been very beneficial to Morbius and would have allowed the McDonald’s cheeseburger to be more of a Big Mac and helped plug some of the gaping plot holes we were left with.
Overall if you liked the Venom movies, you will likely like Morbius, and maybe if they had just connected them to the Venom movies, it would have been fine, but here in lies the problem.
Almost all the promotion about the film has connected it to the MCU. Some version of Spider-Man and Oscorp were in the trailers were nowhere to be seen in the movie. It isn’t unusual for parts of trailer not to be in a movie, but if you drop a Spider-Man in your trailer you better follow that up in the movie. The trailers seem like a totally different movie than what became of the final cut.
Many people will be baited into the movie, assuming it will have some MCU connections, but it doesn’t. If you are going to look for all the MCU and Marvel Easter Eggs, there aren’t going to be many. They tried to scrap together an end credits scene to make those connections, but it only made things more confusing.
It isn’t a bad movie, but look at it like this. Imagine if Rogue One did all that teasing of Darth Vadar but never included that scene with him in it?
Morbius was built off the connections to Spider-Man, the MCU and the Spider-Verse and none of that is present or mentioned in the film which will be a letdown for fans.
If Sony had marketed this more around the Venom universe the expectations would have been different but more accurate to the presented film.
In the end, the worst than that happened to Morbius was that it was delayed so many times Spider-Man: No Way Home was able to come out before it and therefore set an expectation now that in the Sony universe, there is a Spider-Man and if one doesn’t show up that is going to be a problem for people.
Morbius is a movie that likely will get better over time as standalone film, but that is only if you look at it as such.
6 BSO stars out of 10.