Still trying to build its shared universe of heroes, Sony is preparing the launch of Morbius, a film starring an antagonist of Spider-Man, much less known to the general public, but no less impressive. Starring Jared Leto, the film promises an adventure with several elements of horror, just as the character is worked on in the comics from which he emerged, still in the 70s.
The film is packed with the commercial success of Venom, which made Sony go all out in its bet that the arachnid hero’s villain gallery would be an excellent place to start building its cohesive universe of superheroes and supervillains. In this article, I will try to get you inside the production of the film and explain why it has a good chance of doing well at the box office, although it is not possible to predict the criticisms it will receive when it leaves. Is your neck protected? Great, so let’s go!
Part of Sonyverse
Before we start talking about Morbius, we must remember that the idea of making films about Spider-Man’s enemies is not new. The thought left in 2012, when The Spectacular Spider-Man debuted in theaters, with Andrew Garfield in the role of the hero. Knowing that it had full control of the characters that surrounded the world of the wall climber, the studio decided that it would follow in Marvel’s footsteps and that it would embrace a universe shared among those characters, starting with a film starring members of the Sinister Sextet.
Time passed, and the film never came out, especially after the failure of The Amazing Spider-Man 2: The Electro Menace. But Sony was not yet ready to give up. Years later, after a partnership with Disney / Marvel to assign the spider to the MCU, Venom was released, a film starring the lethal protector, which was a critical failure, but a huge box office success. It was the motivation the studio needed to continue its plans.
However, the confusion continued. Projects came and went, being confirmed and “unconfirmed” sometime later, as was the case with the film involving the characters Gata Negra and Silver Sable. And then, to the surprise of all those who expected Sony to invest in a more famous villain, confirmation came that the studio’s next film would be Morbius, starring an enemy of the arachnid hero’s second tier of opponents.
Origin in the comics
For those who do not know, Morbius is a character created by the comic artists Roy Thomas and Gil Kane in 1971, having first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man # 101, the first comic of the hero whose script had not been written by Stan Lee. At first, he was just another villain to be defeated, appearing before Spider-Man thirsty for his radioactive blood, but it didn’t take long for him to gain more complex layers.
Its origin was tragic: the award-winning scientist Michael Morbius had a rare blood disease that was killing him, and to rid himself and others of a premature end, he worked hard on a vaccine to eradicate this evil, made from genes of vampire bats. The disease was cured, but the price was high: he acquired a monstrous form, powers similar to those of a legendary vampire, but without his weaknesses, and an uncontrollable desire to drink human blood.
Over time, readers of Aranha’s comics followed Morbius’s struggle against himself, a man who was good but couldn’t help doing bad things. From being a villain, he started acting like an antihero, sucking the blood of evildoers and helping Marvel heroes from time to time, even joining squads like the Midnight Sons alongside Doctor Strange, Blade, Ghost Rider, and others.
It was thinking about precisely this complexity that Sony saw the opportunity to tell a good story with the character, an action, and horror drama. For that, they hired director Daniel Espinosa, whose previous work includes films like Hidden Crimes and Protecting the Enemy.
In the cast, in addition to Jared Leto (Suicide Squad) in the lead role, are former Doctor Who Matt Smith as Loxias Crown, a frequent villain in the character’s comic book stories, and Adria Arjona as Martine Bancroft, Morbius’s love interest. Also in the film is Michael Keaton, who will most likely reprise his role as the villainous Vulture. Still confirmed is actor Tyrese Gibson in the shoes of Somin Stroud, an FBI agent in charge of hunting Morbius.
Connection to the Marvel Cinematic Universe
Keaton’s presence in the trailer, moreover, sets a precedent that excited Marvel fans a lot: that this film is connected with the MCU, implying that Sony may be more willing to work alongside Disney in building a cohesive universe for both, especially for itself. What reinforces this is one of the moments that most attracted attention in the trailer when Morbius walks next to a poster of Spider-Man.
But even if it does not materialize, there seems to be a real effort on the part of the studio to make the film work, and the inspirations in the original material are clear. In another scene in the trailer, Morbius appears attacking a ship full of sailors, just as he did during his first appearance in the comics. There, he kills some, while others are vampirized, but the idea of the film does not seem that the character will become a great villain, but the antihero he is today.
It is rooted for Morbius to be a cool movie to watch, especially if it has connections with the Marvel cinematic universe that we know and love. Dramatic and potential charges the character has, and if they are well worked out, we can be facing Sony’s next big hit in theaters. Luck is cast.