(Photo by ©Sony Pictures Releasing)
It’s no secret that Sony’s recent run of comic book movies based on characters related to Spider-Man — namely 2018’s Venom and its sequel — failed to impress critics, even as they struck a chord with audiences. So while it wasn’t surprising at all that the studio’s latest entry in the ever-expanding Spidey-adjacent-verse, Morbius, ultimately landed Rotten on the Tomatometer, few likely could have predicted exactly how Rotten it would be. Currently, with 205 reviews counted, Morbius sports a rather dismal 16% Tomatometer score, making it one of the worst-reviewed films to bear the Marvel insignia.
That’s still not worse than 2015’s Fantastic Four (9%), 2005’s Elektra (11%), or even 1986’s Howard the Duck (14%) — remember that little curiosity? — but it’s pretty bad. On the other hand, Morbius boasts a 70% Audience Score, and none of the aforementioned trio even comes close to that. In other words, this is exactly the kind of film our podcast was made for.
When you have a film whose Tomatometer is as low as Morbius’ score, it’s pretty easy to pile on the criticisms. The acting didn’t work, or the story was stale, or the special effects were subpar, or the dialogue was laughable, or the action was dull — these are all things that have been written about the film, albeit phrased in different ways and presented in varying degrees of subtlety. So as the discussion begins, it’s clear where most of the critics stand.
Ask the fans, and while you’re not likely to find too many who think this is some kind of masterpiece, there are plenty who are willing to be more generous to the film. Some enjoyed the horror elements in the story, acknowledging that this felt like a different kind of superhero movie, and that was refreshing. Others had nothing but praise for star Jared Leto’s performance in the title role. And still others felt it was a perfectly entertaining popcorn movie that kept a brisk pace from start to finish.
This week, as Jacqueline is taking some post-awards season downtime to herself, regular co-host Mark Ellis is joined by frequent Rotten Tomatoes correspondent, TV host, lifelong Rotten film fan, and Mark’s go-to burger recommender, Naz Perez. And joining the two of them is estemmed returning guest Coy Jandreau, talk show host, pop culture commentator, comic book obsessive, and creator of the CoyCast Podcast. As it happens, both Naz and Coy believe the Tomatometer is very wrong about Morbius; Coy had a genuinely great time watching the film, even if the post-credits scene brings it down a notch, and Naz thought it was a perfectly fine movie that utilized Jared Leto well, and definitely not an “I need my money back”/walk-out-of-the-theater Rotten film.
Check in every Thursday for a new episode of Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong (A Podcast From Rotten Tomatoes). Each week, hosts Jacqueline and Mark and guests go deep and settle the score on some of the most beloved – and despised – movies and TV shows ever made, directly taking on the statement we hear from so many fans: “Rotten Tomatoes is wrong.”
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Meet the hosts
Jacqueline Coley is an editor at Rotten Tomatoes, with a focus on awards and indie coverage but with a passion for everything, from the MCU to musicals and period pieces. Coley is a regular moderator at conventions and other events, can be seen on Access Hollywood and other shows, and will not stand Constantine slander of any kind. Follow Jacqueline on Twitter: @THATjacqueline.
Mark Ellis is a comedian and contributing editor for Rotten Tomatoes. He currently hosts the Rotten Tomatoes series Versus, among others, and can be seen co-hosting the sports entertainment phenomenon Movie Trivia Schmoedown. His favorite Star Wars movie is Jedi (guess which one!), his favorite person is actually a dog (his beloved stepdaughter Mollie), and – thanks to this podcast – he’s about to watch Burlesque for the first time in his life. Follow Mark on Twitter: @markellislive.