To learn about humanity, sometimes you need a vampire or two.
That’s proven by “Morbius.”
The Spider-Man spinoff from Marvel Studios and Columbia Pictures stars Jared Leto as Dr. Michael Morbius, who has a seemingly incurable disease.
Undeterred by his physical disabilities, Dr. Morbius serves humanity by creating artificial blood. In the course of his research, he discovers the healing power of blood from vampire bats and does research with it to find a cure for himself and his friend Milo, played by “Doctor Who” star Matt Smith.
Dr. Morbius succeeds, but at a price. The cure turns him into a vampire, and he can only survive for a few hours on artificial blood. But he must resist the urge to drink red blood, a path that would make him a killer.
The movie poses the question of whether Dr. Morbius is a hero or a villain, but the word “anti-hero” might best describe him. He’s working to save Milo while trying to find a way to sustain his new strength without becoming a monster.
The movie succeeds and is actually a better film than the trailers suggest. A lot of the credit must go to writers Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless, who created a compelling, yet easy-to-follow, narrative (with some surprises). Director Daniel Espinosa keeps the action going at the right pace.
And Mr. Leto does one of his best acting performances in showing Dr. Morbius’ humanity, even in the face of becoming a monster.
Mr. Smith does his usual great job with a character full of surprises, which won’t be spoiled here.
Adria Arjona uses an effective, straightforward approach to play Martine Bancroft, the physician helping Dr. Morbius in his research.
And there’s a great economy to this movie. The effects are strong enough to tell the story without distracting from it. The dialogue is effective but never wordy.
Ultimately, “Dr. Morbius,” which topped the box office last weekend, is a fun ride, but as always with Marvel movies, be sure to watch for extra scenes when the end credits roll. There’s a treat.