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Morbius (Christian Movie Review)

Overall

2/5

Final Verdict: A joyless throwback to the time when comic-book movies were terrible.

About The Film

Remember that time when an awful sickness spread from a bat, causing doctors to rush to find a cure while people fought over the best way to contain it? No, not that time. I’m talking about Morbius, of course! In this comic book villain origin story, Doctor Morbius (played by Jared Leto) is willing to do whatever it takes to find a cure for a disease that has been slowly killing him since childhood. Some science mumbo jumbo leads him to mix vampire bat DNA with human DNA and inject it into himself. The good news? The cure works! The bad news? It also turns him into a blood-thirsty vampire (oops!).  

They say you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet—unless the internet is telling you that Morbius is a really bad movie. You should most definitely believe that. The bad buzz about this film unfortunately proves to be well founded. Morbius is a throwback to the days when comic book films were notoriously awful and nobody took them seriously.  

Jared Leto does his best to elevate the film. He is joined by other talented actors in Matt Smith and Jared Harris. Unfortunately for them, no amount of echolocation can help the filmmakers find a good script. The main challenge of all villain-centric stories is to get audiences to invest in non-heroic characters. It can be done, most recently with Joaquin Phoenix’s Oscar-winning performance in Joker (2019). While Jared Leto is a capable actor, his character is simply not interesting enough. He is too selfish and unlikeable to cheer for and too boring to be captivated by. As a result, Morbius becomes a gloomy, joyless, and tiresome film where bad characters do bad things.

Despite being a vampire movie, Morbius is not a vampire in a traditional “demonic” sense. The vampire abilities are manufactured by science in a laboratory, rather than by any dark, cultish ritual or power. Tonally, however, it is still a grim film without many crowd-pleasing or light-hearted moments to piece the darkness.

If the bad script wasn’t enough to clip the wings of this glum movie, the goofy special effects may be final nail in the coffin. The closest the movie comes to earning a laugh from the audience is in how unintentionally silly the vampires look, more akin to a cheap CW television show than a high budget blockbuster. In the end, Morbius is perhaps best served as a case study for how to not make a good comic book film. Despite an uncommonly (and blessedly) short runtime, Morbius still manages to sink its teeth into audiences and drain them any lasting interest or enjoyment.

On the Surface

For Consideration

Profanity:  1 F-bomb and a fair amount of other minor profanities.

Sexuality: None.

Violence: While not over-the-top gory, there is plenty of violence. Characters are killed in various brutal ways, including having their throats cut and necks punctured.

Beneath the Surface

Engage the Film

War Against the Sinful Flesh

The movie is a typical Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story. Morbius is a doctor who wants to help people, but he has a “monster” or “dark side” inside trying to break free. Although by no means a simple Christian allegory, the story reflects biblical truth about sinful human nature. The scripture that came to mind while watching was Romans 7:

 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

Like the Apostle Paul, Morbius finds himself unable to do the good he desires, or avoid the evil he hates. He wants to help people, but there is carnal violence within him craves blood and death. Unlike Paul, however, Morbius wages the war entirely in his own strength.

The movie does not necessarily mock religion, but it presents a story where science is raised up as the answer to the evil dwelling inside. Any time the movie alludes to spirituality or religion, it is done for humor and quickly dismissed. For example, a police officer is ridiculed for bringing “holy water” into an interview with an imprisoned Morbius. Later, Morbius’ colleague and ally (played by Adria Arjona) finds a collection of open books in his apartment detailing religious or superstitious solutions to the vampire problem, but both characters dismiss them as pure desperation. Nevertheless, this is a villain origin story, so as you might expect, it also rightly depicts how ineffective man is as his own savior.  

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