Sony’s Spider-Man Universe has given us a charming Venom origin story, a rather less charming Venom sequel, and now another film about a well-intentioned man inadvertently possessed by something that demands he feed on humans. In Morbius, Jared Leto’s brilliant scientist finds a cure for the blood disease that has tormented him and his best friend throughout their lives – except that it comes with a side of vampirism.
In short, Morbius is not a success. José describes it as what people who claim to hate Marvel, which has produced some very good films, truly do hate. It’s as blunt, CGI-laden and uninvolving as that kind of criticism implies. Mike tries to be fair to it – the hallway bit isn’t too bad – and we agree that there’s one actor to like in it, although we disagree on which one that is. José accuses the film of failing to appreciate that one thing a star should deliver in this type of work is physical appeal; Mike accuses José of shallowness.
But as fun as it is to tease José, Morbius is not a fun film to have to sit through in order to get to do that. One to avoid.
Venom returns after his surprisingly enjoyable, if trashy, 2018 solo debut, but we don’t find much of a way to have fun with this sequel. Its cast is underserved by both the direction and screenplay, Tom Hardy appears to want to be seen as a slob, there’s not a memorable shot throughout, and most of the comedy, while promising in principle, falls flat. Mike asks where the real carnage even is, the film scared to show anything even cartoonishly gory, while José decries the carnage generally present in American cinema in general, this film, like so many, unable to conceive of a way to generate excitement without blowing things up and causing destruction.
Woke up thinking about Venom. It’s not been well-reviewed, and with reason. But we found it very entertaining. I particularly liked the look of it, the special effects, the use of San Francisco, the chase scenes. And Tom Hardy’s performance is so original and inventive. He starts as someone madly in love, content, socially engaged; then he does something unethical and is cast out. The rest of the film is him, suffering, shivering, longing, wanting, and then with a body that’s infected and out of his control, a body he’s at war with it and one that gets flayed, shocked, beaten, pierced. If this film had been made twenty years ago I would have taken it, lazily perhaps, as an AIDS metaphor; as is, it’s a most original representation of a masculinity at war with itself. Podcast will follow from Eavesdropping at the Movies.