Saturday, September 10, 2022

Morbius • Review by Karen & Bruce Bethke

Karen was adamant. “I know you promised to stop running movie reviews,” she said. “But you have got to review this one. You need to warn people. They need to know just how bad it is.”

Seriously? You think this one is that bad? How so?

“It’s banal,” she said. “Trite. Insipid. There isn’t one scene or line of dialogue in this movie that doesn’t feel like it was lifted from a different and better movie. They didn’t write a script for this one. They put a half-dozen other scripts through a shredder and then glued the pieces back together.”

I’ll admit, in the scene where the cops are grilling Morbius and he says, “Don’t make me hungry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m hungry” — well, I did chuckle a little at that. And that scene where Morbius is threatening some bad guy, and the terrified bad guy gasps, “Who are you?” and Morbius switches to his CGI goon face and growls, “I’m... Venom!” in exactly the same menacing way Kevin Conroy delivered, “I’m... Batman!” Okay, I did actually laugh out loud at that. But I’ll concede that all the big CGI fight scenes did look like they were lifted from a Matrix movie, except for the ones that looked like they were lifted from Batman Begins.

“Matt Smith is wasted in this one. Just squandered. He actually made me feel sympathetic for the kids who were beating him up when he was a kid on crutches in the childhood flashback scene.”

But… But that’s the patented Marvel formula for creating the protagonist/antagonist relationship! The ultimate worst bad guy is always the hero’s childhood friend, or brother, or favorite teacher or late father’s business partner or something like that, who acquires exactly the same powers as the hero only stronger, but who always has some character flaw that turns him to evil and ultimately leads to his defeat. We saw that in Ant-Man, Iron-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Winter Soldier, Thor, Venom… 

“Yes yes, exactly. We’ve seen it before. Over and over. Now show me a new idea. Even for a Marvel movie, this one was an unimaginative recycling of old ideas.”

Well, to be fair, this one isn’t properly a Marvel movie. It’s a Sony/Columbia movie, made using Marvel intellectual property Sony acquired as part of the Spider-Man deal. It’s more like Venom in that regard. The people who made the Avengers movies weren’t connected to this one.

“That’s a shame. The people who make the Marvel movies at least know how to make likable characters and create romantic interest. There is zero romantic chemistry between Morbius and Martine.”

Wait a minute. Weren’t you the one who started cooing “Beel!” and “Soooookie!” whenever those two were on screen together?

“In fact, the only likable character in the entire movie was that Hispanic cop—”

You mean FBI Agent Rodriguez?

“Who was the first one to figure out and accept that they’re dealing with an actual vampire, and respond accordingly”

That was amusing, the way the other cops reacted to him when he started showing up at crime scenes with holy water and silver crucifixes.

“But Agent Rodriguez is it. Beyond him there isn’t one character in this movie that you like, identify with, or even care about. Especially not Morbius. And when you don’t care about what happens to the central character in the movie—whether he lives or dies, succeeds or fails, finds love or has his heart broken—you’d better have something else really interesting going on around him to make it worthwhile. And Morbius doesn’t.”

Well, there you have it. Our resident expert on vampires and vampire movies—she has an enormous collection of vampire movies and an encyclopedic knowledge of them all—has weighed in, and found Morbius wanting. You have been warned. 

—Bruce & Karen Bethke

“P.S.” she adds. “That whole business with vampire bats acting like little flying piranhas and Morbius being able to control them the way Ant-Man controls swarms of ants is just ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. Do I need to explain why?”


Pete Wood said...

I had no plans to see this movie for two reasons.
One, the plot sounded idiotic. Two, Jared Leto. Seriously, I was ruminating today if Jared Leto has been good in any film other than Dallas Buyers Club. He almost ruined Bladerunner 2049 and Suicide Squad. I couldn't think of anything where I actually liked him except for his Oscar winning role.
So, I had no plans to see it. Then your review clinched it for me.