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As yet another Spider-Man villain origin story without the Web-Head, Morbius begins at a point of intrigue in the Costa Rican rainforest and then jumps back in time. From there, we go through all the familiar beats. First we meet Michael as a young boy as he dreams of one day doing great things after being born with a disease of the blood that leaves him pale, limping, and staring down the barrel of a short lifespan. As a kid, he also meets his instant best friend at a clinic, “Milo,” who conveniently has money and a devil-may-care attitude that perhaps covers up a dark side. Surely, that will not be relevant later.

When the boys grow up, Morbius is now a bearded Leto while Milo is a callow malcontent played by Matt Smith. Both are still desperate to find a cure as time is running out. Luckily, Michael is close to cracking that miracle drug alongside Dr. Martine Bancroft (Adria Arjona, wasted) at a lab Milo is funding. So once Michael realizes the cure may lie with splicing their DNA with that of vampire bats, well, what could go wrong? Just hire a team of blood bags security personnel and conduct the experiment in international waters.

Faster than you can say Tobey Maguire, Leto is showing off a shirtless physique post-transformation, even as the film attempts to hand-wave away that he has to trip over more and more dead bodies to stay ripped.

A film that’s been delayed and delayed again, Morbius belatedly arrives with a lot of curiosity and perhaps a fair degree of schadenfreude. But truth be told it’s not any worse than last year’s audience darling: the wretched Venom: Let There Be Carnage. Both movies are produced by Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach, and both feel like relics from the archaic days when mediocrity was treated as “good enough” by the fanboy community. Think Ghost Rider (2007) or Elektra (2005). And honestly, Morbius might be marginally better than that lot, including Venom 2, if only for not being quite so visually garish.

However, the key reason audiences seem to have responded to both Venom mediocrities isn’t due to the prowess of storytelling or even the strength of shoddy CGI; it was to gawk at whatever the hell Tom Hardy was up to while playing to the cheap seats. Unfortunately, Morbius has no such ghastly-yet-entertaining performance to hold up this house of sticks.

Perhaps remaining a wee bit sensitive due to the fair criticism aimed at his ambitious but flaccid Joker performance in 2016’s Suicide Squad, Leto plays Morbius relatively straight. He is neither fish nor fowl as a protagonist whom the audience is meant to root for as he searches first for a cure to his illness and then for his vampirism. But the role of a sympathetic vampire demands something of the operatic: a Jonathan Frid flash of charisma if not Tom Cruise’s full wattage. Instead Michael Morbius is, much like everything else in his film, perfunctory. Which leaves audiences with nothing to cling to as the monotony drones on courtesy of a tedious script that collects banalities as if they were seashells.

Source: Den of Geek

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