The death of irony has been declared, discussed, and dismissed so many times that it will probably have its own ironic comeback sometime soon. However, no one seems to have informed actor Jared Leto or Sony Pictures what the general tone of ironic online discourse is these days because they tried to jump on board the popular “Morbius meme” that has recently been flooding Twitter feeds and the minds of sane people. We’ll get into what exactly this Morbius meme is and why it boggles the mind in just a minute, but first, take a look at Jared Leto’s very committee-designed Twitter response.
What time is it? pic.twitter.com/IuWR72WCc9— JARED LETO (@JaredLeto) June 3, 2022
Okay, let’s break some of this down. In the very short video, Jared Leto is seen sitting on a couch in a pair of blue Adidas tracksuit pants and a white sweatshirt with a crudely drawn graphic that probably costs more than a midsize vehicle. He appears to be reading a film script and an off-camera asks him what it is. Jared Leto tries to twist the cover page out of camera view, only for it to be seen to be titled Morbius 2: It’s Morbin’ Time. Then we hear the music piece “Frolic” by Italian composer Luciano Michelini, best known as the theme music for Larry David’s sitcom Curb Your Enthusiasm. Cut to black.
There’s a lot happening here, but a few things bear explaining: “Morbin’ Time” is a reference to the supposed catchphrase of his character Doctor Michael Morbius in the movie, which, it should go without saying, he does not actually say. The script is credited to “Bartholomew Cubbins” a pseudonym Jared Leto has used before to direct music videos; it is taken from a recurrent character in children’s author Dr. Suess’ books because Jared Leto is whimsical. It should be noted that the actual Morbius movie was written by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless, who we speculate were not consulted on this video.
The joke is now dead— Culture Crave 🍿 (@CultureCrave) June 3, 2022
Unsurprisingly to everyone except perhaps Jared Leto and the viral advertising branch of Sony Pictures, this Morbius 2 video went down like a lead balloon. The vast majority of individuals who have contributed to the popularity of the Morbius memes have done so as a large-scale collective joke pretending that the first Morbius was a beloved and financially successful film, rather than the direct opposite of that. When the star of the film attempted to ingratiate himself and get in on the joke, the meme was promptly declared dead. RIP Morbius meme.
The actual Morbius movie was re-released in theaters this last weekend, presumably on the belief that the popularity of the meme meant people actually liked the movie. The re-release of the Jared Leto vehicle made approximately $300,000 dollars in over one thousand theaters nationwide, which is shockingly low (Top Gun: Maverick made $87 million this weekend for comparison). It is not shocking that neither a major film star like Jared Leto or a film studio would fully grasp that people dunking on a movie online does not mean that they suddenly want to see it in the theaters after they didn’t in the first place, but here we all are. Death of irony, everyone.