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.

Baby Driver/Spiderman: Homecoming

There’s something to be said for the accidental double bill. Films that have nothing to do with each other but seem like they belong together anyway. The best example of this lately I feel is Spotlight and The Big Short. They came out at different times, and were about completely different topics, but tonally they felt very similar. There’s a similar feeling with these two films, only this time it’s actually a lot easier to quantify; they’re both modern films containing a slight throwback feel to them. Baby Driver is basically a modern car chase film, a twenty-first century Bullitt, whereas Spiderman: Homecoming is basically a John Hughes movie with superpowers. Both of them are throwback films for the modern age, you don’t lose anything going into them without knowing the history of their respective genre-homages, but you do gain if you’re aware of them.

So what were they like? I’ll start with Spiderman. I actually liked it. The plot was simplistic but it was still better than at least 50% of MCU films purely because it had a compelling villain. Michael Keaton’s character (he plays some sort of Birdman) makes sense. You’re not watching it thinking “what a terrible person, glad he’s not real”, you’re thinking “he’s actually making a lot of sense. I see where he’s coming from, and in a way, I agree with him”. He’s the most compelling villain in the MCU so far, and the performance matches the writing. A lot of comic book fans were disappointed that they changed his appearance for the films, I don’t particularly care about it to be honest, mainly because it would be really hard to take THIS seriously.

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I know that this talk about “taking it seriously” makes this sound like it’s attempting to be super serious and gritty, thank God they didn’t do that, this film is fun as hell. Even the colours are better than lots of superhero films. A lot of films have orange and blue as the main colours, but use them against dark backdrops, this uses those colours but uses them against light. It’s very summer-ey in appearance. It’s also really funny. The characters are well written and have great lines, Zendeya’s character in particular is a great collection of sarcasm and apathy which I really identify with for some reason. She has the best lines throughout and is one of the films many comedic highlights. In terms of comedy though, most of the best moments from the non-main characters belong to Jacob Batalon’s Ned, who absolutely owns his role as “guy in a chair”. He also helps provide an audience surrogate, since the film starts with him already as hero, many people expected the origin to either be ignored, or told in flashbacks. It did neither, it had Ned ask questions and we found out small details from that, not so much that we were re-covering old ground, and not so little that people new to the franchise were confused. So in summary; very good, very fun, and I think it’s safe to say that Tom Holland is the best Spider-Man, although part of that is due to the way he’s written, he’s actually written as an adolescent, the villains he faces aren’t ones who are going to destroy the world, the main villain is basically an unfriendly neighbourhood villain.

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This scene is genuinely one of the best written scenes so far this year

So, onto Baby Driver. If you’re interested in film you need to see this, a true masterpiece of film-making. Almost the entire film has music alongside it, it’s a film which you could put on in the background at a party and just listen to it, and it would work (I will prove that one day). Yes, the plot is wafer thin, but it’s so fun you don’t notice. You don’t sit there thinking “well I know how this story is going to end”, you think “oh my God! Did you see that?”. It’s a non-blockbuster version of spectacle cinema. Everything about the way it’s made just works, the way the music complements the action and vice versa, the way the car chases are impressive without being unrealistic, the fact that Jon Hamm and Kevin Spacey continue to exist.

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Even Jamie Foxx agrees

The most annoying thing about this film is that you will never see anything else like it, but lots films will claim to be like it. The love and dedication that goes into this is obvious. This was not “film by committee”, this was a true passion project, and it shows through every inch of the screen. It’s also surprisingly American. The open road, the American dream, diners with endless coffee are all essential to the story, so it’s weird that such an American film was made by a Brit, this feels like the film where Edgar Wright has finally stepped away from under the shadow of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. In an ideal world Scott Pilgrim would have done that, but at least it has finally happened. One of the best films I’ve seen this year on a technical level, from the opening scene right through to the closing credits it never stops impressing, never slows down, which considering it’s almost 2 hours long is incredibly impressive.

So that’s Baby Driver and Spiderman:Homecoming. Both flawed but worth a watch. Both destined to be movies people put on and watch in large groups. Both have been put on my “buy on dvd” list. So how can I end this? The same way I end everything; cover song! Here’s an acoustic cover of the Spider-Man theme song, enjoy, then check out their other stuff on the youtube and their twitter.