The newest superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is neither super nor a hero in the conventional sense, but he has an ailment and a unique skill set that make him different from regular mortals. Morbius is his name, and while watching him, you may start to think wires got crossed somewhere in the multiverse.
In the opening scene of the film, a helicopter flies to a misty island that looks like it could be home to King Kong. But Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) has his sights set on a smaller game as he approaches the cave’s mouth, hobbling with difficulty on two crutches-like canes.
He slices open the palm of his hand, and, as a roar of bat wings echoes from inside the cave, he murmurs to the pilot of the copter, “if you’re going to run, do it now.”
Rare blood disease treated with bats
Although it is tempting to say “consider yourself warned,” the first hour or so of the film is decently crafted, despite its unremarkable nature.
Michael Morbius has worked on two things his entire life – a cure for his rare blood disease, and origami paper edging. Of course, he folds bat DNA and human DNA together.
He and his co-researcher Martine (Adria Arjona) are in the company of eight mercenaries who look like bloodbags, and once they have injected Morbius with bat DNA, it’s only a matter of time until things go awry.
Dabbling in “chiropter-y” may have some less ghastly side-effects than others. It is obvious that bat DNA results in great cheekbones and abs, as well as increased strength and speed.
In addition to the more salutary effects, his gums sprout fangs with decades of decay baked in, and his fingers sprout claws. Sure, why not? But this is a man whose hair gleams from being brushed three times a day.
Furthermore, he is now required to drink human blood every six hours. In order to avoid declining a Nobel Prize, Dr. Morbius created “artificial blood,” though this only fooled his system temporarily.
Jekyll and Hyde smoke effects in color
What Director Daniel Espinoza and his writers have produced is more of a horror movie that features Marvel bells and whistles than a conventional Marvel movie.
Leto’s Morbius gets purplish smoke effects to go with his snarls as he rides air currents in tunnels, while Hyde is played by an amusingly drugged-up Matt Smith as an adult with blue-ish vapor trails and snappier lines.
However, their story lacks tension. It lacks logic. A fake-bill machine looks like an artificial-blood machine when Morbius overhears counterfeiters passing fake $100 bills. Just as counterfeiters pass fake $100 bills, Morbius commandeers their printing press to make it. Comic books would be better for this storyline.
Bat guys everywhere you look
From vampire-teen to Bat-man, announcing that Twilight star Robert Pattinson would play The Batman in the DC Extended Universe seemed like a joke. It seems like the casting may have been reversed had Leto gone full Dracula in the Marvelverse.
Leto is haunted by the darker side of vigilantism just as Pattinson was, and as a consequence of corporate positioning, may be more determined to avoid being a villain. The Amazing Spider-Man comics first introduced Morbius as a bad guy back in the 1970s, like Venom. If he is to become a franchise, he must become an anti-hero.
But who’s to say the bad guy/bat guy is bad? It has been revealed from the trailers that another DC bat-guy, Michael Keaton, will appear in his non-batty villainous Marvel persona Adrian Toomes, just to throw everyone off.
But bloodlines will have to be clarified in mIt has been revealed from the trailers that another DC bat-guy, Michael Keaton, will appear in his non-batty villainous Marvel persona Adrian Toomes, just to throw everyone off.