In this edition of The silver liningwe will cover Daniel Espinosathe recent comic book adaptation of MorbiusWhich one is now available in 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and digital.
Of Adventures in the unknown at Tales from the Cryptcomic books were a popular source of horror stories until the Comics Code Authority began cracking down on material intended for adults in the mid-1950s. The organization even specified a blanket ban on “all horror scenes” and images involving “walking dead”, fearing that these scary stories could have a negative effect on children.
Luckily for genre fans, these regulations became more lax in the ’70s, leading to a resurgence of monstrous characters in comic books. Among the spooky creations that rose to prominence during this period were Morbius the Living Vampirea sci-fi take on a classic nosferatu. Initially appearing as a tragic Spider-Man villain, the character would eventually embark on his own anti-hero adventures, becoming more popular in the ’90s alongside the similarly-themed Blade.
Now that the Venom the movies have proven that audiences are inexplicably hungry for stories that only indirectly relate to Spider-Man, so it makes sense that Sony would try to replicate the success of Lethal Protector with another pissed off vigilante. This is how we could see the years 2022 Morbiusanother origin story of the villainous Spidey without the iconic web-slinger.
Curiously, a solo Morbius the film has actually been in the works since the late 90s. The project was trapped in development hell because a rights issue prevented the character from appearing in Guillermo Del Toro. Blade 2, with the Living Vampire even having a cameo appearance in a deleted scene from the first film, played by director Stephen Norrington. The solo project was finally revived when Jared Leto took an interest in the character, recommending Daniel Espinosa (who previously directed 2017 Extraterrestrial-inspired Life) to direct the image after the two meet at a Thirty seconds to Mars round.
While this is where I usually talk about how audiences had high expectations for the picture, I think readers are well aware of the film’s questionable reputation ever since the first trailer dropped at the start of 2020. Following the brilliant Dr. Michael Morbius as he accidentally transforms into a super-powered vampire after trying to cure his debilitating blood disease, the film promised audiences another origin story in numbers for a character who doesn’t didn’t exactly boast a massive fanbase.
Even so, after a series of changing release windows, Morbius finally hit theaters nearly two years after its initial release. And the internet would never be the same again.
SO WHAT WRONG?
With just over $163 million out of an $83 million budget, it’s clear that Morbius did not exactly reach Venom levels of box office success. Adding insult to injury, the film currently sits at 17% on Rotten Tomatoes, with most critics agreeing that the inconsistent storyline and bizarre attempts to establish a cinematic universe with leftover IP resulted in poor introduction to this supposed Marvel legend.
Digging a little deeper, you’ll find that the picture’s messy story is largely down to aggressive behind-the-scenes tinkering, as at least four writers were involved in the script while only two were credited. The film has also been re-shot and re-released in hell during the pandemic, with the ever-changing wave of superhero movies influencing Morbius‘ place in the Spider-Man universe offered by Sony. There are also rumors that executives and test audiences reacted negatively to some of the plot excesses, which may have resulted in some neutralized action/horror scenes as well as a series of abrupt cuts and of abandoned plot threads.
In reality, Tyrese GibsonOriginally, Simon Stroud was meant to have a much bigger role in the story, with his character given a high-tech robotic arm and more action scenes in the original cut of the film. JK Simmons was also set to reprise his role as J. Jonah Jameson, though he ultimately had to be dropped from the film (alongside several other Spidey references) once producers realized that Morbius couldn’t take place in the same world as the MCUs Spider Man movies.
This kind of legislative mess is normal in Sony’s Marvel adaptations (which is why Tom Hardy’s incarnation of Venom lacks the character’s iconic spider logo and explicitly villainous origins), but the real problem with Morbius That’s how it ended up being less interesting than the sum of its parts.
THE SILVER LINING
It would be truly dishonest of me to sit here and try to convince readers that Morbius is kind of a misunderstood masterpiece, but I honestly think critics went a little too far when they complained about this scary superhero movie. In a world ruled by episodic blockbusters that try too hard to cram multiple sequels into a bloated runtime, a fast-paced, standalone origin story can be a breath of fresh air (even if it features the one of the most gruesome post-credits scenes in recent memory).
Despite being surprisingly faithful to its source material, I would say that Morbius is more fun if you enjoy it as a B-level vampire movie rather than a run-of-the-mill comic book adaptation. In fact, the film feels like a more kid-friendly version of those action-horror hybrids that were so popular in the early 2000s. While it doesn’t feature the entertaining gore and monster effects of those films, there are certainly elements of underworld and even Blade run through Morbius‘ veins.
It’s also worth noting that Jared Leto made a surprisingly convincing effort to bring this tortured vampire to life, going so far as to slow down production by insisting on using his character’s crutches whenever he needed to go to the bathroom. . Regardless of what you think of the actor’s controversial methods and off-screen persona, there’s no denying that he’s a talented comedian and took the role seriously.
Matt SmithThe campy portrayal of the villainous Milo was also an unexpected delight, with the actor clearly having the time of his life as a desperate millionaire who found a new lease of life after embracing vampirism. Smith even admits to channeling a bit of Kiefer Sutherland in his hammered performance, inspired by the 1987s antagonist. the lost boys.
Speaking of classic vampire movies, I think horror fans will appreciate the subtle genre references sprinkled throughout the film. Not only does the freighter at the start of the film bear the name of FW Murnau (director of Nosferatus), but there are also several allusions to the mad science of popular Gothic literature, as well as nods to Bram Stoker’s earlier adaptations Dracula. On an unrelated note, I also really enjoyed Milo’s ridiculous vampire dance, which should be a campy treat for everyone. Doctor Who fans there.
Morbius may not be as fun as Venom, but there’s enough thrills here to appease vampire lovers despite an unfortunate lack of bloodshed. While I admittedly appreciate the tongue-in-cheek memes that have overtaken the film online (I have a soft spot for the absurd “it’s morbin weather”), it’s a shame so many people missed out on this thankfully brief blockbuster that reverts to simpler times when comic book movies were allowed to be a little dumber.
Watching a bad movie doesn’t have to be a bad experience. Even the worst movies can boast a good idea or two, and that’s why we try to look on the bright side with The silver liningwhere we spotlight the best parts of traditionally maligned horror movies.