A Stylish Bore
Simply tearing this film apart would just not be productive. There was real potential with this film and visually, it is a wonder to see. Jared Leto gave an interview and was asked about the stuff of nightmares, the horrifying hand or Morbius from the cartoons. His response ignored the question and instead he went on about the style of the movie.
Well, the film certainly is stylish. How the vampires move and how we see their senses work is a true delight and the VFX team should be proud of their work.
The acting talent in this film is also something special. And while my thoughts on Leto’s acting, in general, is not particularly high, with talent like Matt Smith, Adria Arjona, Tyrese Gibson and so on, there is all the potential of a really good film.
However, there are a number of things that run against it and one of them being the same as Venom. The script is very very thin.
The opening scene- while showing how Morbius got the special bats, is a wasted scene. It doesn’t show us anything worth seeing. It doesn’t show us anything about the character that we should like or warm to and that could be this movie’s biggest problem. As an audience member, there is nothing to really like about, Jared Leto’s character.
Instead, if they had the opening title spliced in with stills of Morbius getting the bats, it would have relaid the same information and the film itself could have started with the boast scene as Morbius and Martine cure him.
Then we could have had flashbacks to scenes with them as children.
Showing Child-Morbius studying the machines that keep him alive and then introducing “Milo” so that when the machine fails, Morbius has worked out what to do, rather than just knowing because that’s what the script says.
This is also where we would need to change Milo.
A spoiled brat with money is fine for a shallow villain, but would could have had so much better.
Instead of him being a legal student drop out, why not show that he is a mind to rival that or Morbius, just with a different focus.
Instead, let’s have Milo grow up being fascinated by detective work. A keen and sharp mind that more than compensated from his physical debilitations.
Using his wealth and family influence would could have not only seen the relationship with Morbius grow, but also seeing Milo becoming a part of the NYPD as a criminal consultant.
This strengths the character as we see someone who while having a temper and feeling bitter about the hand he was dealt, someone who ultimately wanted to do good. On an intellectual ground, this puts him on the same level as our main character and with a few mysterious deaths, we as the audiences wouldn’t be sure if it was Milo or Morbius.
It would also raise the threat to Morbius. A villain that is stroke is fun to see. A villain that is smart is always the real threat and a villain with an emotional connection to our lead character, intelligence and strength is one we can really fear.
This movie tried to tell a story through two characters but we didn’t see a great deal from Milo and that is what we needed more of- but without the straight jump to villain.
Milo could have taken the cure- but not just used it on himself, but used it on a third party as well.
Having Matt Smith bring in Jarad Leto’s character with Tyrese Gibson would have added a lot more weight to the scenes where Leto is doing is typical ‘quite broody’ style.
Smith’s ability to act cruel, angry, scared and light-hearted would have added so much more depth to this film. And that is something that was desperately needed.
Replace the fight between Smith and Leto in the subway with Leto and a random vampire that is clearly evil, and it makes Morbius grow, learn and get stronger. Having Matt Smith fighting in that scene made no sense. And this is not just a problem with this film but with a large number of superhero films out there. “I don’t want to fight you,” said by the one who doesn’t need to throw a punch at all, but then does throw a punch and makes the fight happen.
A scene like that makes it hard for us to think that Milo and Morbius have any real friendship especially as we don’t really see a friendship. We see circumstances that made the two meet, but not something that makes them life-long friends.
But throw in a vampire that attacks Morbius and keep Milo’s hands clean until the end and he is revealed to be the mind behind the attacks, the chaos and the horror and we have a much more substantial film that is worth watching more than once.
And not having Leto fight Smith until the very end. The very end. The end where Leto finds out that Smith’s character has taken the cure.
The final battle having perhaps two vampires fighting for Milo would show a good reason to why Morbius was so weak during the final battle.
Then showing Morbius’s ability to call the bats and that would be the tipping point of a fight.
A three-on-one fight shows the struggle to our would-be-hero rather than that is just what the script calls for.
Watching the final showdown I couldn’t help but wonder why Morbius was just so weak. Sure he was drinking the fake blood rather that the real stuff, but it seemed like Leto was weak in this scene just because that’s what the script said.
There was real potential for this film. Visually it was beautiful but there was no substance. All style, no bite.
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