Rotten Tomatoes is an inaccurate metric for judging the quality of movies. The way it works is by having reviewers and audience members alike give a “Rotten” or “Fresh” rating to a movie. These Rotten and Fresh ratings are then compiled and averaged to give the percentage that is presented on the website. That percentage of Rotten or Fresh is just an average of viewers being forced to judge a movie on a binary rating system of good or bad.
What does a review on Morbius have to do with Rotten Tomatoes math? Well, suppose one has been keeping up with the coverage of the film. In that case, they’ll know that it had a 17% rotten score from critics before the film was released to the public, effectively destroying its reputation before audiences had a chance to judge for themselves. So, does Morbius really deserve the 17% Rotten rating? No. Morbius is not a 1.7/10 film. That number only means that 17% of verified critics thought it was just bad enough to deem it Rotten. Film is a very difficult medium to critique objectively, and one shouldn’t trust any critic’s opinion without question. Now, here’s an objectively accurate review of Morbius written by a published film critic.
Morbius, the second bat-themed superhero movie to release in 2022, is another Marvel movie. If one hates Marvel, then they’ll hate Morbius like other Marvel movies. If one is open to Marvel movies or enjoys Marvel movies, then Morbius might be a pleasant surprise that subverts the expectations caused by the abysmal ratings. Morbius effectively introduces the character to audiences as a fairly unknown Marvel character. After the first 30 minutes of the film, audiences know who Michael Morbius is, what he wants, and his morals. The film starts strong in this sense.
Jared Leto, another aspect of the film that deserves more praise than critics have given, portrays a convincing Michael Morbius. Michael Morbius is an altruistic physician who has devoted his life to curing a fictional rare blood disease that he is afflicted with. After he tests this new treatment on himself, he is turned into the pseudo-vampire advertised in the trailers. He obtains an insatiable lust for blood, and his vampire alter ego kills after his initial transition to satiate this bloodlust. Leto plays a convincing heroic character. Leto convinces the audience that Michal does the right thing for the right reasons, which helps the audience get on board with his character.
Adria Arjona plays Leto’s physician coworker and eventual love-interest, Martine Bancroft. Martine is a very active character who truly cares for Michael while also standing on her own as a character. Martine is smart and driven, qualities that Arjona conveys to the audience. Throughout the film, she is Michael’s only true confidant, and Arjona gives a real performance rooted in empathy for the Michael character.
Matt Smith, who most notably portrayed a recent iteration of Doctor Who, plays the villain, Milo. Milo’s motives and means may be subject to question, but that’s an issue with the writing. Smith’s portrayal of Milo, aside from the writing, is menacing and Smith works well with the script that he is given. Smith is so convincing that the viewer may even ignore the virtually non-existent motivations for Milo’s character.
The surprise standout in the film is Al Madrigal as Officer Rodriguez, the comedic relief for the detective duo chasing Michael. Although sometimes a little cringey, somehow, his jokes never failed to elicit a laugh from the audience. His character just worked. He’s a comedic light in an otherwise dark movie.
The film is shot in a very dark manner coinciding with the vampiric theme of the whole film. It features a lot of blacks, greys, whites, purples, and blues. It’s a pleasing color palette that makes the film pleasing to the eye.
The story is mediocre at best, and the aspect of the film falters the most. The first half is a classic superhero/supervillain origin story. Michael Morbius accidentally turns himself into a pseudo-vampire while trying to cure a debilitating disease that afflicts him and his best friend, Milo. After the accident, he observes the after-effects of his transformation and tries to learn to live with his new condition—the first half-tracks for the most part. The second half is where things start to fall apart.
After Michael has learned to deal with his condition, he realizes that he now has to stop his best friend, Milo, who took the cure for himself from wreaking havoc on New York City. The reasoning for Milo’s murderous rampage is little more than a mix of his own bloodlust and a desire for revenge on others for not having to live as he did. It’s understandable that Milo would envy others’ ability to live everyday lives, but such envy and resentment do not warrant mass murder. Milo so easily embraces this shift in attitude that it makes his villain as a whole completely unbelievable.
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Overall, Morbius is a pleasant surprise within the context of the poor coverage, which resulted in rock-bottom expectations. The audience score for Morbius is 70% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes at the time of publishing. It just goes to show that one shouldn’t trust film critics or Rotten Tomatoes. Upon seeing another Marvel movie on par with Thor: The Dark World or Iron Man 2, the low expectations for Morbius are narrowly subverted. Morbius is a dark yet fun Marvel movie with what one would expect from a Marvel movie, a classic origin story along with some cringe quips thrown in at inappropriate times. Morbius is just another lower-tier Marvel movie if one enjoys Marvel movies. If not, then it’s just as bad and mainstream as the rest of them.