MORBIUS – Review by Susan Granger

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Just how bad is the Marvel origin story of Dr. Michael Morbius, the conflicted scientist with a rare blood disorder who mixes his plasma with that of vampire bats? Pretty bad…

Michael (Jared Leto) and his best friend Milo (Matt Smith) share this mysterious illness which has left them debilitated, forced to walk with canes. Determined to find a cure, Mobius takes off for Cerro de la Muerte in the misty mountains of Costa Rica, where thousands of vampire bats dwell.

There’s a flashback to Greece – 25 years earlier – recalling frail, young Michael (Charlie Shotwell) in a children’s clinic under the care of sympathetic Dr. Nicholas (Jared Harris). That’s where Michael meets a wealthy British lad, Lucien (Joseph Esson), who suffers from the same malady. Nicknaming his new friend Milo, Michael compares them to the Spartans: “We are the few against the many.”

Cut back to Morbius’ New York-based Horizon laboratory, where he stuns his colleague, Dr. Martine Bancroft (Adria Arjona), by turning down the Nobel Prize for his development of artificial blood because he feels that’s just the beginning of his life’s work.

Instead, Michael uses a centrifuge to combine his DNA with that of Costa Rican vampire bats. Since this kind of experimentation is unethical and illegal, he takes Martine with him on a cargo ship that sails off the Eastern Seaboard.

Once they’re in international waters, Martine injects his concocted serum into Michael’s spine. Suddenly, he grows fangs and razor nails as his body contorts, becoming bat-like, and he’s ravenous for the taste of human blood.

Milo then wants in on the violent vampire carnage. In their final battle, Milo insists their new condition is not a curse but a gift – just what the Green Goblin said in “Spider-Man: No Way Home” (2021).

Flimsily scripted by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless, the formulaic saga is directed by Daniel Espinosa, who stages overly shadowy action sequences. Plus, there are two post-credits ‘teaser’ scenes.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, Morbius is a miserable 5. Ghoulish gothic gloom.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.