Morbius (2022)

Quick synopsis: After living his whole life with a dangerous blood disorder, Doctor Michael Morbius decides to try a radical approach, vampire bat blood. This turns him into a vampire of the non-sparkly variety.

This was originally supposed to be released in July 2020, and has been delayed multiple times since then. That kind of delay is never a good sign for a film, it usually indicates a lot of studio interference, which makes the film feel incredibly disjointed. That’s definitely the case here. It lacks a coherent vision. There are times when it feels like one of those assignments you had to do at school where one person would write a chapter, then someone else would write the next one etc. There are also quite a few moments where I felt like I missed something. A character is shown in hospital recovering from serious injuries, and in a pretty bad way. They’re established as being there in a lot of scenes, and then suddenly they’re being stalked by someone who is watching them through their bedroom window. When were they released? There wasn’t even much indication that they were getting better and suddenly they’re not only back home, but also completely recovered from their injuries, with no indication that they were ever hurt.

While that’s not shown, what is shown is not always needed. The bit in the trailer of him cutting his hand and then bats flying towards him? Not needed. That’s how the film opens, and it adds absolutely nothing. If we just saw the character in his lab with the bats, we’d know he got them. It’s even weirder that this scene is followed by a flashback of him and his “brother” in Greece growing up. I mean, it’s in Greece, but all the characters speak English, with American accents. Now you could say “oh they went there because it’s a specialist place that deals with those blood diseases”, but the bullies outside speak in English too. It feels lazy, and completely unnecessary. Just have the building in America. Yes, it changes the character backstory from the comics, but you’re doing that anyway. Fuck it, if it is important to you, if he absolutely MUST be from Greece, but you still want to cast an American, there’s a town in New York (Rochester, specifically) called Greece, just use that. Yeah, it’s cheating, but it’s not as though you’ve stuck to the comics with the rest of how you’ve treated him.

Now, onto the post-credits scene. It’s strange. The trailers featured The Vulture from Spider-man: Homecoming, so you knew he was in this film. Technically he’s not, he doesn’t appear until the post-credits scenes. So to clarify, they put the post-credits scene in the trailer. That’s really weird and also destroys the point of post-credit scenes, they’re supposed to be surprises. The nature of it just raises more questions. So for some reason, Vulture comes from the MCU universe to this one? He’s the only one this happens to. The only way this works is if he was originally from this universe, got transported to the MCU at some point, and then the events of No Way Home sent him back. Still requires explanation but still, it’s not as though that’s the only thing that raises questions (other questions, Morbius’s reaction to “I blame Spider-man” isn’t “who the f is Spider-man? Why would I blame him? This was all me”, where did Vulture get his equipment from in this new world? Doesn’t he miss his family? The prisons reaction to a stranger turning up from another universe is “meh, free him” rather than asking ANY questions about how he got there).

Now onto the absolute worst thing for me in this film, there’s a fight scene near the end which is among the worst I’ve ever seen. There’s a moment where there’s just an incomprehensible mess on screen for a few seconds, just a blur of brown and black. No need for that. That should not exist in a film this big and it’s a disgrace to modern cinema that it is. There are a lot of bad scenes in films this year, and there will be more, but that is almost a dead cert to win “worst scene” at end of year.

Now onto the good, the performances weren’t too bad, the character has clear motivations, the love interest doesn’t feel tacked on, and the music choices for the trailer were good. Although no matter how good Leto was in it, it has to be acknowledged he was a prick on set. He decided to method act, so would walk around very slowly using crutches, like his character. This meant his pee breaks took so long it was slowing down filming.

Congratulations Leto, you’re pissing off people who are working longer hours than you, for less money, and less recognition. I wonder whether his use of method acting is purely an excuse to be a massive prick to everybody. From what I’ve heard of his behaviour on Suicide Squad, seems the case. But it’s fan, the Hot Topic crowd love him. So films cast him, then make him ugly, but not TOO ugly, because they still want horny teens to buy tickets.

It’s a film you come out of thinking it’s stupid, although the more you think about it, the more you pontificate on what happened, the more you realise it’s actually INCREDIBLY stupid. And filled with characters who do stupid things. Like at one point he turns down a Nobel Prize because he was rewarded for discovering a new technique while trying to solve something else, so he sees it as being rewarded for failure. This is supposed to show him as dedicated and headstrong, in reality it just shows him as incredibly stupid. He is doing all this research work, seemingly with one other person. He’d have a much higher chance of success if he showed he was willing to work with others. So really the whole thing just makes him seem like a petulant dick, who is more focused on HIM curing the disease, than the disease being cured.

Prick.

5 Things Suicide Squad Did Right (And One Thing It Did Wrong)

1. The Look

In a world where the colour palette of superhero films can mostly be described as Fifty Shades Of Grey (only much more painful) it’s refreshing to see such bright colours in a film such as this. Pinks and Greens are all over the place, it’s like a film taking place in a neon nightmare, and it’s brilliant. It gives the film a unique look, you can take a lot of still photos from this and know that it’s this film.

2. The Performances.

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Shockingly, and I don’t think I’ve ever done this before, I’m going to have to praise Cara Delevingne, which is something I didn’t think I’d ever do for two reasons:

  1. Her performance in Paper Towns severely weakened the film.
  2. I can’t spell her name.

But her performance in the first half of this is superb. She plays the part of a woman who’s scared of her internal demons spectacularly. You really see her inner torment, and it’s just subtle enough to not be overbearing and too on the nose. She’s also involved in one of the visual highlights of the film when the thing inside her body starts to come out, and the hands wrap around each other, it’s simple but beautiful.It’s not just her though, Will Smith’s performance almost makes you forget about After Earth.

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Almost

3. The Characters

This is not an easy sell to casual theatre goers. The most well known characters in this film are Batman and The Joker, and they’re in it for a combined total of about 15 minutes. As such the film has to make sure the audience knows who the main characters are, which for an ensemble piece is not easy. Yet by the time the film ends you feel like you know the characters well enough that most of them have enough background that a solo film wouldn’t be out of the question. Special mention must go to El Diablo, as played by Jay Hernandez. He’s the only character I didn’t really know anything about, I knew about Harley Quinn from various Batman comics, Deadshot from video games etc. Yet his character is really smartly set up, his reluctance to fight makes complete sense  considering his back story. His character is one with real emotion and heart.

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4. Music

Iron Man changed the game when it came to music in superhero movies, when they used AC/DC it set a new standard for the genre; no longer could they slack off in the music department, they needed popular rock songs by established bands, and a few classic rock songs in their too. This was perfected in Guardians Of The Galaxy, which had one of the best soundtracks of 2014. This film continues in that tradition, with songs from Black Sabbath, AC/DC, The Animals, CCR littered throughout the film.

5. The Joker

Leto is completely terrifying in it. Just like the joker should be. He owns every scene he’s in and carries a genuine sense of danger and does it in a way that’s completely different to the way that Heath Ledger did it. Heath Ledger’s Joker always seemed uncertain in his own skin, like he was made by his vulnerabilities. Leto’s one is completely different, he’s confident, he’s calm, he’s in control of every situation.

The Bad

1. Yeah But….

Everything I mentioned on the plus side? They all come with caveats. The still shots look fantastic, but the way it’s edited? Holy hell do they make some of the most basic editing mistakes ever. The shots are not given enough time to leave an impact, there’s quick cuts between different things in scenes which should be slow paced. Whilst Cara Delevingne performance in the first half is awesome, the second half is awful. She seemingly forgets the meaning of “subtlety”, and she does a weird thing with her body that makes her seem like a wooden marionette. The characters bond and start talking about being like “a family” without any reason or bonding moment. Whilst El Diablo’s sacrifice (oh, spoilers), was noble, it made no sense, it would be like you sacrificing your life for your classmates on the first day. Yes there is a lot of good music, but there’s also A LOT of music. There’s so many moments where you sit there thinking “jesus, another f*cking song? We get it, you’ve got an impressive record collection. How about actually working out how to match the music to the scenes?” The Joker is good? Shame he’s only in it for about 10 minutes. Now I’ve seen people complain about people complaining about this. Saying things like “you could tell he was only going to be in it for an extended cameo”. Really? Tell the advertising campaign which was HEAVILY focused around him, or even the posters which had Jared Leto as the second billed actor. He was billed higher than almost all of the main characters. Now, if you were following press releases etc then yes, you knew he wasn’t going to be in it for long. But the majority of cinema goers aren’t people who spend all the time online looking for details about this film, they’re people who see the trailer, see the poster, and decide to see it.

And that, ultimately is the biggest problem, it’s hard to say something nice about this film without having to quantify it. And as with most modern films, the plotting is all over the place. The opening half hour is nothing but blatant character building, with someone sitting there literally telling you about the characters. There are way too many shots of Harley Quinn that are blatant fan-service (and a scene where an entire group of people manages to climb stairs quicker than a lift travels up 5 flights). That, added to the length equals a film which, despite being almost sold out when I went to see it, had nobody stay through the credits. The second the closing credits started,everyone left, and with a film like this that shouldn’t be the case, and it’s disappointing that it is

In Summary

If you go cinema a lot, go see it. If you only go to the cinema a few times a year, and going is a true event, then don’t make this one of your visits.