Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) possesses a brilliant mind. But a rare blood disorder has left him crippled and in agonising pain. Under the watchful eyes of his consulting physician Emil Nikols (Jared Harris), Morbius befriends a new patient Milo (Matt Smith). Early on, Morbius helps save young Milo’s life when the machine he is attached to fails. After that incident, Dr Nikols pulls some strings to get Morbius into a prestigious New York school so he can reach his full academic potential.
Morbius goes on to become the leading authority on blood disorders, all the while trying to find a cure for his debilitating condition and that of his best friend Milo. Milo finances his research where Morbius works alongside colleague Martine Bancroft (Adria Arjona). Unknown to her, Morbius has been trying to perfect a highly controversial treatment involving vampire bats – one that combines human DNA with that of the creatures. When … finally that works on mice, Morbius decides to inject the serum into his own veins. Suddenly he turns into a vicious blood sucking vampire. He’s no longer afflicted, rather possessing superhuman strength, speed and echolocation – the power to “see” objects by harnessing the sounds around him. The transition only lasts a few hours before he once again has to find a way to satisfy his blood lust. So, importantly, he has to learn to control his dangerous impulses.
Milo, still in agony, sees for himself what Morbius has been up to and, unlike Morbius, is more than happy to give himself over to the dark side. A clash of these titans is inevitable.
I liked the back story by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless (the set-up was compelling) based on the Marvel antihero. Still, once the transition in Morbius happened, the narrative arc went down a fairly predictable route. There are no real surprises, save for the introduction of a new character, pointing to a sequel, as the final credits roll.
Jared Leto does a good job channelling both sides of Morbius’ character. Adria Arjona is pleasant and likeable as his admiring colleague and love interest. Matt Smith has no trouble adopting the persona of the crazed villain in the piece. The make-up to create the hideous personas is highly evocative.
I was certainly engaged to a point, but could have done with some more plot twists to maintain involvement.
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Alex First is a Melbourne based journalist and communications specialist. He contributes to The Blurb on film and theatre.