With quirky Oscar-winning actor Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club) getting his teeth into this Sony Spider-Man Universe anti-hero – it was exciting to see where he would take the character.

Answer? Not very far.

Even with Leto executive-producing, this is the most basic A to B superhero flick in years. Really simple, really predictable. Just ho-hum throughout, despite a seemingly intriguing villain with a conscience.

Leto’s Doctor Michael Morbius has been looking for a cure to his blood illness that will eventually kill him – and also his surrogate brother Milo (played as an adult by Matt ‘Doctor Who’ Smith).

One of his ‘hunches’ leads him to Costa Rica to capture vampire bats in the hope – alongside his willing colleague/love interest Martine Bancroft (Adria Arjona) – of splicing genes to eradicate his condition.

But alas, things go wrong, and he literally turns into the character tagged as ‘the Living Vampire’ – complete with superhuman strength, speed, reflexes and senses – but his bloodlust every few hours makes it hard for him to get his alter-ego in check.

And when his bro gets in on the action and transforms into the same being – but with little care for keeping it under control – they head for a collision course and a remarkably uninspiring ending, with Tyrese Gibson’s (The Fast and Furious series) FBI agent trailing them.

Sadly, that’s about it. Very lazy and uninspiring connect-the-dots fare, with some ropey special effects more akin to Sony’s pre-MCU stuff like Ghost Rider.

With a bit more fleshing out Leto shows just about enough potential in the character – especially if he combines forces as hinted with the return of Michael Keaton’s Vulture from Spider-Man: Homecoming – to show future promise.

Bar that, it’s all a bit underwhelming and tepid – even though it’s never bad enough to be unwatchable.

But with Leto’s generally impressive CV – it’s so surprising he got involved with a project that had such little bite.

ESP Rating: 2/5

Gavin Miller

Showcase Cinema De Lux Peterborough, Out Now

Cast: Jared Leto, Matt Smith, Adria Arjona, Jared Harris, Tyrese Gibson, Al Madrigal & Michael Keaton

Running Time: 1 Hr 44 Mins

Director: Daniel Espinosa

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