‘Morbius’ Director Daniel Espinosa Reacts to Bad Reviews: ‘I Have a Lot of Self-Hatred’

"I'm always trying to focus on being better," said the filmmaker, whose new movie earned the second-lowest CinemaScore ever for a Marvel movie.
Morbius, Jared Leto

Director Daniel Espinosa isn’t letting bad reviews suck the blood out of “Morbius.”

The latest Marvel installment stars Jared Leto as biochemist Dr. Morbius, who is cured of a rare blood disease by using bat DNA. The only side effect? Becoming a quasi-vampire with superpowers.

The Spider-Man comic book villain did swing to the top of the box office its opening weekend, grossing $39 million domestic and $84 million worldwide. Yet bad reviews and a C+ CinemaScore — the second-lowest of any Marvel film behind 2015’s “Fantastic Four” reboot — have plagued the follow-up to “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”

When asked about the negative reviews, Espinosa told Insider a story about his first feature film “Babylon Disease” being criticized by viewers and the lesson that it taught him

“I remember one day going home on the subway and I had a few drinks so I was a bit drunk. Someone nudged me on the train and said, ‘I have to tell you what’s wrong with the second scene in your feature,’ and I was like, ‘Well, OK,'” Espinosa explained. “The point I’m making is that it’s a strange thing to make something that is so public.” 

He continued, “Look, I have a lot of self-hatred so I have a lot of criticism of my own work. I’m always trying to focus on being better. But I am also proud of what I do. There are parts in all of my movies that I’m really proud of.” 

And Espinosa is hoping the film stands on its own regardless of the order behind the MCU release dates.

“To me, it doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, the movie is the movie,” Espinosa said. “As the years go by, no one remembers when it came out, just that it exists.”

While Espinosa confirmed that Tom Hardy’s “Venom” arc is occurring “at the same time” as the events in “Morbius,” the filmmaker also wanted to make a Marvel movie that is “kind of purified from details of other Marvel movies.” Throw in a baffling reference and surprise cameo in the post-credits, and “Morbius” does have a tenuous tie to the rest of the “Spider-Man” baddies. But did it land with critics? Not so much.

“This picture, if it came out earlier, who knows what would have happened,” said Espinosa, whose movie has been delayed since 2020 due to the pandemic. “I think if I had sat two-and-a-half years in a normal world waiting for a movie to come out I would have been frustrated, but it wasn’t like that. But it was very hard [with the pandemic].”

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