I encountered Dr. Michael Morbius first in Marvel’s non-comics-code magazine, Vampire Tales No. 1. He came gliding down from a rooftop, a modern vampire in spandex, pouncing on human prey. He was a striking figure, perhaps more terrifying in a black-and-white magazine than he would have been if I’d seen him first in Spider-Man.
A string of angsty adventures followed and established his guilt-ridden anti-hero status. I followed as he battled a dark cult bent on terrorizing a beautiful young woman named Amanda Saint. It was in Vampire Tales No. 5 that the Morbius origin story, reprinted from an issue of Spider-Man, arrived.
The Sony film adaptation, Morbius, directed by Daniel Espinosa (Safe House) and starring Jared Leto as the scientist plagued by a rare blood disease, focuses mostly on that origin story in fairly grand cinematic fashion. Though the anguish and regret are still in full force. It’s not a bad way to get back to Dr. M’s universe or to enter for the first time.
If you missed it in theaters, the Blu-Ray and 4K editions are rolling out, and the experience offers some rousing fights and action sequences and an iteration of Morbius I didn’t mind at all as a longtime fan. The look of the comic character is nicely realized and captures the dark spirit.
We received the Blu-Ray version, and that provided a crisp, theatrical experience with rich sound. (the 4K offers 2160p Ultra High Def).
Stunts and special effects are impressive and highly visual once Morbius’ scientific breakthrough at sea using vampire bats cures his lifelong blood illness but turns him into a monstrous living vampire with requisite cravings. Vampire flight, speed and transformations are all imagined in fresh ways.
Storywise, in this outing, Morbius has a childhood friend (Matt Smith) with a similar debilitating condition. Even though Morbius quickly realizes his scientific breakthrough has brutal consequences, Smith’s impatient Milo chooses to change as well.
A battle is inevitable, and serves up the conflict and tension of the film’s latter portion. It’s a reasonable and engaging story to set up the Morbius world, and it’s definitely important to sit through the credits for a cameo some have anticipated since the trailer. There are hints of future story possibilities as well.
Leto, with his penchant for offbeat roles, does an interesting job transforming into “the living vampire”. He goes from an emaciated figure on twin canes to a robust and revitalized figure.
Disc extras are a mix of short features with the requisite star interviews and behind the scenes footage of stunt work and special effects. It’s a nice exploration of the vision behind the adaptation.
All in all it’s an obvious choice to add to the disc library for Morbius and Marvel fans.
Wicked Rating: 9/10
Director: Daniel Espinosa
Writer: Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless based on the Marvel Comics character
Blu-Ray and 4K Release: June 14, 2022
Runtime: 1 hour 48 minutes