The Movie Guru: ‘Morbius’ a boring mess, but ‘The Bubble’ offers laughs
The Movie Guru
Morbius (in theaters)
I don’t like feeling bad for Jared Leto.
When I watch “Morbius,” though, it’s hard not to. Opening in theaters this weekend, the movie is a poorly-written, poorly edited, incredibly boring cash-grab attempt masquerading as a Spider-verse tie-in. The only two spots of light are Matt Smith, who clearly went to the Tom Hardy school of making enjoyable camp, and poor Leto. The man dedicates every ounce of his obsessiveness and talent to making an entirely serious movie about a struggling scientist who accidentally turns himself into a vampire, and if he were in an even slightly better movie, it might pay off.
For those not familiar with the comics, Dr. Michael Morbius is a brilliant scientist with an incredibly rare blood condition he’s trying to cure. He thinks he’s found it, but when he tests it on himself he becomes suspiciously vampiric. When a friend who underwent the same treatment starts to use his powers for evil, he must decide whether to use his powers for good or give in to his own baser impulses.
Advertising for this movie promised a lot of tie-ins to “Venom” and various Spiderman movies, but almost all of those ended up on the editing room floor. The few that remained are so brief they’re easy to miss, or credits scenes that make so little sense they’re an embarrassment. Unless you’re desperate to see Michael Keaton’s face, do yourself a favor and don’t bother staying.
The Bubble (Netflix)
This is the silliest movie Judd Apatow has made in years, but you have to have a certain amount of background knowledge to get the joke.
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“The Bubble,” which premieres on Netflix this weekend, is a parody of post-COVID Hollywood, Hollywood in general, quarantine, the “Jurassic World” movies, and a very specific moment in time that has already passed us by. A lot of the jokes are on point, some of which merit real laughs, but if you’ve been ignoring entertainment news the past few years more than a few of them will probably pass you by. While that still means it’s more accessible than a lot of the stuff Apatow has done over the past several years, it also leaves the movie with something of a short shelf life.
The movie follows the cast of the fictional movie “Cliff Beasts 6” through the majority of the shoot, clearly set during the early days of COVID. The cast suffer through both quarantine issues and the usual Hollywood dramas, including poorly-thought-out adoptions and exes that won’t leave your house. As the situation escalates, will everyone stay sane long enough to make sure the movie gets made?
Even if you don’t know the specific background to some of the jokes, there are charms to be found. Pedro Pascal gets more room to flex his comedy chops than ever before, and Leslie Mann and Keegan-Michael Key are always fun. The supporting cast is even funnier, including Vir Das, Harry Trevaldwyn, and “Our Flag Means Death’s” Samson Kayo. You can also get a pretty good game of “spot the famous faces who Zoomed in,” none of which I will spoil here.
Jenniffer Wardell is an award-winning movie critic and member of the Denver Film Critics Society. Find her on Twitter at @wardellwriter or drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.