Morbius is being slammed as the worst Marvel movie ever

Jared Leto in Morbius
(Image credit: Sony Pictures / Marvel Studios)

There’s no simpler way to put this: Morbius has been annihilated by critics. 

After the phenomenal success of Spider-Man: No Way Home, it was hoped that Sony’s next Marvel movie might inherit at least some of the webslinger’s magic – but, instead, reviews suggest Morbius could be among the very worst films of the year. 

Before diving into those reactions, though, a brief synopsis: Morbius stars Jared Leto as a scientist-turned-vampiric anti-hero who must come to terms with his newfound lust for blood. The movie takes place in the same universe as Tom Hardy's Venom, and hits theaters worldwide on April 1 (UK audiences can catch it a day earlier on March 31).

Let’s kick off with the Rotten Tomatoes overview. According to the review aggregator site, Morbius currently wears a heavy 19% critics rating – based on the reactions of 63 accredited journalists – around its neck. For context, that number puts the movie in a worse position than 2019's X-Men flick Dark Phoenix and even 1995’s Judge Dredd on the site’s ranking of the worst-reviewed superhero movies ever. Ouch.

Digging into the reviews themselves, the language used is even more damning – but let’s start with the nice ones (relatively speaking…). 

The AV Club’s Todd Gilchrist labelled Morbius “a bland, competent, and safe superhero adventure that seems destined to be forgotten before its end credits finish rolling.” Similarly, Variety’s Owen Gleiberman said it’s “close to being a generic Marvel movie” but is ultimately little more than a chance for “Leto to punch the clock and get on the comic-book train.”

Vanity Fair’s Richard Lawson praised the movie’s “seriousness of intent” when it comes to its lack of cringey humor, while IGN’s Matt Donato said “audiences are fed exactly what they’re most likely expecting from this bargain-bat origin.”

That, though, is about all the semi-positive reception we could find. Other critics, like Playlist’s Jason Bailey, didn’t hold back: “Morbius is bad, yes, but it's not even fun-bad, like the Venom movies; it's just kind of depressing.”

The Independent’s Clarisse Loughrey was equally scathing, calling the Spider-Man spin-off “too flavourless to even be the wild, untethered disaster some were secretly hoping for,” while The Times' Kevin Maher decried Morbius as “an appalling superhero snooze-fest [...] without dramatic jeopardy, originality, narrative coherence, compelling characters or a single even vaguely human performance.”

Can it get worse than that? It sure can. Film Stories’ Tom Beasley said “the gonzo chaos of Venom gave life to a franchise but [Morbius] has, appropriately enough, sucked it all out.” IndieWire’s Kate Erbland wrote that “even the most basic elements of the film are incomprehensible.” 

But it’s Rolling Stone’s David Fear who delivered perhaps the strongest criticism of them all, describing Morbius as “the single most anemic Marvel movie ever made.”

Analysis: a bad start to a (hopefully) good year for Marvel 

By the sounds of it, then, Morbius hasn't come anywhere close to replicating the heroic delights of December's Spider-Man: No Way Home – a fact likely to affect Morbius' box office performance. 

Marvel fans should, however, take comfort in the knowledge that Morbius exists outside of Marvel’s Phase 4 universe. On that front, the superhero studio has three bonafide entries arriving throughout the year that are sure to fare better (with both critics and audiences) than Jared Leto’s titular vampire. 

A promotional image for Doctor Strange 2 with the Sorcerer Supreme front and centre

Doctor Strange 2 exclusively hits theaters on May 6, 2022. (Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (May 6), Thor: Love and Thunder (July 8) and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (November 11) count among the many new movies coming to theaters in 2022 – all of which look likely to drive the MCU forward in meaningful ways. 

But that's not all that Marvel has in store for its fervent fanbase. There are three MCU Disney Plus shows on the way in 2022, too – Moon Knight being the first of those, with the Oscar Isaac-starring TV series making its streaming debut on March 30. You can check out our spoiler-free review of the show, if you haven't already.

Ms Marvel will follow Moon Knight on June 8, while She-Hulk will make her live-action debut sometime in late 2022. Secret Invasion, which sees Samuel L Jackson reprise his role as Nick Fury, is rumored to be coming this year, too, but its launch is still up in the air. There may even be a second season of Marvel's animated What If...? anthology series this year, but that remains to be seen at present.

Marvel fans, then, will be dining on new MCU productions for some time yet. Critics, though, appear to have had their fill of Morbius. With the movie out now in theaters, general film fans can see for themselves whether those reviews are over-the-top or spot on.

Axel Metz
Phones Editor

Axel is TechRadar's UK-based Phones Editor, reporting on everything from the latest Apple developments to newest AI breakthroughs as part of the site's Mobile Computing vertical. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion.  Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned an NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme.