After several delays, Sony’s undefined latest Marvel film “Morbius” has arrived, and so far the buzz on the Jared Leto vehicle hasn’t been great.
The film is based on the Marvel character Morbius, the Living Vampire, who was first introduced in 1971 as a Spider-Man villain, and was later turned into an anti-hero type, even having his own series in the ‘90s for a while.
Created by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane, Dr. Michael Morbius is a brilliant, Nobel-prize winning doctor who accidentally turns himself into a not-undead vampire in a desperate attempt to cure blood disease. (We’ve all been there.) He’s not one of Marvel’s most high-profile characters, but at this point, Sony seems to think it has to make do with the B-Listers.
Why “Morbius” Isn’t In the Marvel Cinematic Universe
1998, Sony acquired the rights to make Spider-Man films from Marvel. And the next time you start beating yourself up over a dumb mistake, remember that Sony actually had the opportunity to buy the rights to the entire Marvel Universe for a paltry $25 million, but pased, figuring that Spider-Man was the only character anyone cared about. Oops.
So Sony owns the rights to Spider-Man, and any character that originated in a Spider-Man comic, and for a while, all was well, as “Spider-Man” and “Spider-Man 2” were blockbuster hits (no need to talk about “Spider-Man 3,” okay?), with the latter often considered one of the very best superhero films of all time.
But Sony and director Sam Raimi, couldn’t come to an agreement on a fourth film, and Sony recruited director Marc Webb for the “The Amazing Spider-Man” series starring Andrew Garfield.
After “The Amazing Spider-Man” fell flat in 2014, and following the PR fiasco of Sony’s data back that year, the studio knew it needed a little help. With the aid of producer Amy Pascal, who first ushered the “Spider-Man” films into existence, Sony teamed up with Marvel Studios mastermind Kevin Fiege. A deal was worked out where Marvel, Sony and Disney (DIS) - Get Free Report would jointly work on a new iteration of Spider-Man films, starring Tom Holland and directed by Jon Watts. The films were the bounce back the character needed, as the recent “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is one of the highest-grossing films of all time.
While Sony has made noise in the past about taking its Spider-Man and going home, the studio is smart enough to not mess up a good thing. But Sony apparently doesn’t want to share the profits for all of its superhero movies, which is why it developed several spin-offs that don’t take place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Both of the Tom Hardy-starring “Venom” films, based on a Spider-Man villain turned, again, anti-hero, were smash hits, and praised for their offbeat humor. (Because those films were not made via Marvel, don't expect them or "Morbius" to appear on Disney+ anytime soon.)
But Venom is a character that’s been very popular since he was introduced in 1988, and has starred in several series. Morbius has never been that popular, and when the film was announced a few years ago, plenty of people made jokes that Sony is really reaching towards the bottom of the barrel here.
That impression that Sony is desperate to have its own franchise without Marvel has only increased of late, with plans in the works to make a film about the Spider-Man villain Kraven the Hunter (played by Aaron Taylor Johnson) as well as the Spider-Man ally Madame Web (to be played by Dakota Johnson), both firmly secondary characters.
But to be fair here, with the right creative team, even very obscure characters can be turned into something that connects with audiences; “Guardians of the Galaxy” wasn’t one of Marvel’s more well-known titles before the 2014 film, but the film was strong enough to overcome that.
So execution really is everything. But based on the reviews, critics think Sony’s latest, directed by Daniel Espinosa, missed the mark
Critics Don't Think You Should Bite On "Morbius"
Reviews for the film have been largely negative, with "Morbius" getting criticized for a thin script, and too-serious tone that doesn't have enough fun with the premise. But Vulture liked it, so it's not all bad news.
What Does The Rest Of Twitter Think About Morbius?
So critics and regular movie fans often don't see eye-to-eye, but in this instance, people who saw the film already mostly agree that it's lackluster, though it has its defenders.
Also plenty of people have pointed out, via meme, that after his poorly received, edge-lordy take as The Joker in "Suicide Squad," Leto has now dropped the ball in both a Marvel and a DC film, an impressive double-header.