Marvel Comics kicks off the month of April introducing us to a new character- Morbius. Suffering from a rare blood illness, young boys- Michael Morbius played by Jared Leto and Lucien played by Matt Smith- become inseparable like brothers during their treatment in a hospital in Greece. Soon, Michael is sent to medical school while Lucien, or ‘Milo’, as Michael fondly calls him, continues his treatment.
The story fast forwards to twenty-five years later when Michael publicly rejects a Nobel Prize for his work with synthetic blood. Morbius has also secretly procured a colony of vampire bats from the deep jungles of Costa Rica in an attempt to conduct genetic experiments to cure his condition. Morbius informs Milo and their adoptive father- Nicholas (Jared Harris) of his plans to test the cure on himself. Even though the process is illegal, Morbius receives sufficient funding from both of them and sets out on a private mercenary ship on international waters with his colleague Dr. Martine Bancroft (Adria Arjona). The cure seems to work at first. Things go south when the cure turns Morbius into a bloodthirsty vampire. The crew attacks the monster out of fear but Dr. Bancroft is injured in the process, which triggers Morbius and he ends up draining the entire crew of their blood. After regaining consciousness, Morbius is appalled by the heinous crime he has committed. He wipes the camera footage of his actions and dials 911 before he flees the ship.
Morbius is no longer the skinny, pale walking corpse with crutches. Rather, he emerges as a strong, healthy man with superhuman speed, reflexes, and echolocation just like a bat. There is just one problem. He has to feed on human blood to survive. Morbius tries to keep his bloodlust under control by feeding on synthetic blood but it slowly becomes insufficient for him. Milo finds him in his lab in New York. He is ecstatic that his brother is cured but Milo spirals into a rage when Morbius refuses to cure him. When authorities investigating the incident on the ship find another victim- a nurse- drained of blood in the same hospital where Dr. Bancroft is being treated, they suspect Morbius and he is arrested. Milo visits his friend and offers to use his influence to get him out. Morbius realizes that Milo stole what was left of the cure and used it on himself and that he was in fact the one who killed the nurse. Milo encourages Morbius to embrace his powers- the good and the bad. The story follows Morbius as he confronts Milo before he attacks anyone else, especially anyone close to him.
The movie serves as an excellent introduction to the character whom people might have only seen in the comics so far. One might note the generally unfavorable reviews the movie has received on various websites. However, we can praise the excellent performances of Jared Leto and Matt Smith. The actors hit the right note of intensity bringing in emotions of fear and longing. Not to mention the engaging and meticulous graphics and cinematography the movie showcases. The movie is a small segue into the upcoming phase four movie Dr. Strange: Multiverse of Madness. To understand why this is, be sure to catch both the post-credits scenes after the ride of mayhem that is Morbius.
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