A character from the Spider-Man/Venom part of the Marvel comic book universe, Michael Morbius (Leto) is a genius doctor with a debilitating illness that he believes can be treated by mixing human and vampire bat DNA. Maybe he’s not so much of a genius, then.
Of course, after a few brief trials on mice he decides to test his radical serum on himself – with the help of fellow doc Martine (Arjona), who doesn’t seem too bothered that she’s breaking just about every medical rule by injecting him with his own cure on a boat filled with mercenaries in the middle of international waters (the location is so they’re not arrested for illegal experiments, the mercenaries are seemingly there so that when Morbius’s treatment makes him crave human blood, he has some morally dubious people to chomp on).
It’s all rather stupid as Morbius realises he has vampire traits (sonic hearing, pointy teeth, bloodlust and some astonishing cheekbones) when he is hungry for blood, and looks like an Abercrombie & Fitch model the rest of the time as the bat blood relieves him of his previous illness and makes him buff. He tries to survive on a blood substitute of his own invention but discovers the effect lasts for a shorter time each time he uses it (much is made of the four hour life span of the fake blood so you expect that to lead to some against-the-clock plot twist but it doesn’t).
Meanwhile, his childhood pal – extremely rich bloke Milo (Matt Smith, way better than the material) who has the same disease as Michael – wants to be cured himself and doesn’t seem quite as worried about the side effects or post-treatment diet.
With Arjona given little to do as the damsel who may be in distress, and Jared Harris even less as Michael’s mentor, it’s left to Leto to hold the movie together. Unfortunately his performance is bland, emotionless and pretty forgettable, and he is saddled with a dull script and predictable plot that borrows from 100 (better) vampire and comic book movies.
Even the action sequences are forgettable –a blur of CGI punches, grunts and building-to-building jumping sequences in which Michael leaves a colourful trail of wavy streamy ribbons in his wake that are supposed to show his flight skills but instead just look like the remnants of a retired cheerleader’s pom-pom.
Is Morbius suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
This movie is a 15 certificate in the UK and is aimed at older teens and adults. It does feature moments of horror and violence, including characters injured by claws and teeth.
Morbius’s treatment means he becomes a creature similar to a vampire. There are lots of scenes in which his face changes and becomes almost hollow, he gains sharp teeth etc and he does kill/drink the blood of people (though little blood is actually seen).
There are a few scenes featuring large groups of bats swooping, and a close up of a bat about to be dissected.
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