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‘Morbius’ Is Worth It Only For Matt Smith Dancing

Matt Smith as Loxias Crown in Morbius walking on the subway

I went into Morbius with one thing in mind: Matt Smith was in this movie. Yes, I know it might be surprising that the number one Spider-Man fan at The Mary Sue (that would be me) didn’t care about a Spider-Man villain movie outside of Matt Smith’s involvement. But it’s the truth. Morbius, which was delayed a zillion times and stars everyone’s least favorite extreme method actor Jared Leto, never enticed me with its marketing or premise.

This instinct appears to be correct: early Morbius reviews were resoundingly awful, and the Internet has been tearing the movie gleefully apart. And so my interest remained solely dedicated to the Matt Smith of it all. I loved the idea of the former Doctor Who star running around in this mess of a film, because Matt Smith always understands his assignment. That’s all I really cared about.

Turns out I was right in this prediction. Famously, I love most movies. Not because every movie is brilliant, but because many people work hard on them, and even an objectively terrible movie is still an Experience. I try to find something to like in most movies and elements that I want to celebrate (while still calling out the bad things that are harmful). In Morbius, there’s nothing particularly harmful. It’s just a film that exists and it is extremely not great but isn’t the worst movie I have ever seen either. It’s, as the kids would say, “mid.”

But Matt Smith? He’s on some other level here. Our Chelsea Steiner wrote The Mary Sue review of Morbius, begging us to do something else with our precious time rather than see this film. Fair. But I wanted to talk about this particular love of my life and how Matt Smith seems to be the only person who grasped what kind of movie he was in with Morbius.

It’s not that I think the movie is totally unwatchable even when Matt Smith is offscreen. I had fun and was laughing at things that were probably meant to be serious, but I went in with the mindset of “I’m going to laugh” and had a grand ole time. Do I think that some of it takes itself too seriously, much like Jared Leto takes himself too seriously? Yes, but Morbius did at least harken back to the Spider-Man villain’s origins where they’re in a lab and chaos happens to turn them into whatever villain Peter has to face off against. That felt familiar and right, so I did like that about it. And I, of course, loved everything Matt Smith chose to do. He appeared off-screen first, and I heard his voice and yelled in my screening. That frisson of excitement made Morbius worth seeing for me.

Smith brings the camp

Smith’s character, Lucien (who just accepts that Michael Morbius changed his name to Milo without any kind of qualms), is the person who funded most of Michael’s work and was constantly supporting him. Then when Michael turns himself into a vampire, Lucien is suddenly pushed out of the way and told he can’t also be cured of his afflictions with vampirism. So this film is also Lucien’s villain origin story. He grew up with the “hero” here and they thought of each other as brothers. But when Lucien feels betrayed, he dives into the villainous deep end.

I love that Matt Smith’s take on this character comes with him sitting around in beautiful robes, making jokes about himself, and then when he does become a vampire, dancing around shirtless and having the time of his life. Matt Smith knows that he’s in a trash fire of a movie, and he is happily hamming it up on his way to a paycheck. This is the correct way to take on these roles.

The dancing. This sequence was put into this movie for me and me alone. While I recognize that other fans of Matt Smith will also like it, I’m still staking (get it?) my claim here because he’s in a Spider-Man adjacent movie dancing shirtless. I deserve this happiness. No one can take Matt Smith dancing as a vampire sans shirt in the Marvel universe away from me.

Is this movie worth watching for Matt Smith alone? Yes. Am I the one you should be asking about this? Probably not. If Matt Smith made a movie about paint drying, I would watch it in a heartbeat. (Before you ask, yes I have seen the movie he did with Eva Green called Womb.)

Morbius is, surprisingly, a real movie that exists even if it did come out on April Fool’s Day and feels kind of like a joke. But Matt Smith’s performance is an absolute delight. He understood the assignment he was given, and if they decided that his character needed 8 movies about him in all different realities and universes, I would watch it because he’s the only saving grace of Morbius.

(image: Marvel Entertainment)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.