• by Wes Singleton

Morbius - C-

Rated PG-13, 104 minutes

The dour, disappointing new superhero film "Morbius" tells the backstory of Morbius, "a living vampire," the Marvel comics antihero and vigilante in the same universe as Spider-Man and Venom. The joyless, overly earnest film tells the backstory of Morbius, and much like the first "Venom" film, it has a dark, visual flare yet lacking in a coherent storyline that will only please comic book fans.

Biochemist Michael Morbius (Oscar-winner Jared Leto) tries to cure himself of a rare blood disease, but when his experiment goes wrong, he inadvertently infects himself with a form of vampirism instead, unleashing a darkness that could be harmful to mankind. Things further go awry when his fiance, Dr. Martine Bancroft ("6 Underground's" Adria Arjona) and his surrogate brother Milo ("Dr. Who's" Matt Smith) get involved.

The modestly entertaining "Morbius" by Daniel Espinosa ("Safe House") boasts strong, energetic visuals and a game, stylish-as-ever Leto, but the superficial story is too predictable and the audience isn't given much time to establish an emotional connection with the character. Leto, who usually casts a slightly dark presence in real life, is good as the "living vampire" whose purpose is a murky one, but the script from Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless never gives him a true shape. It also doesn't help when your villain, the uber charming Smith from the current iteration of "Dr. Who," is more fun to watch than Morbius.

It's all rather unfortunate, given that "Morbius" could've been a great deal of dark fun, but it's lack of coherence and a strong tone gives the sense that it's unsure what it wants to achieve. There's some entertaining visuals along the way, and Leto is indeed frightening under all that makeup, but we can only hope that future films give him greater purpose. This is alluded to in the two stinger credit scenes, which feature another well-known character from this universe. Outside of a stylish Leto and some decent visuals, "Morbius" is a forgettable misfire.