As Ben Affleck (Daredevil, Batman), Ryan Reynolds (Green Lantern, Deadpool) and Chris Evans (Human Torch, Captain America) among others have already shown, there’s no issue with playing multiple different comic book characters in movies even sometimes if those characters exist in the same universe. Enter Jared Leto as Morbius.
Jared Leto recently played The Joker in DC’s 2016 Suicide Squad. He won’t be returning to that role, but now crosses over to Marvel Comics and the character Morbius.
With the flick coming out this summer, let’s take a look at everything we know about the Morbius movie and a character many have, likely, never heard of before now.
The Morbius movie was originally scheduled hit theaters over the summer on July 31, 2020 a week after Dwayne Johnson’s Jungle Cruise and a week before Mark Wahlberg’s Infinite. But with the Coronavirus outbreak, that’s all out the window and that date has been cancelled.
Now Morbius is set to be released on March 19, 2021.
Morbius doesn’t have a full on theatrical poster yet, but we did finally get a poster in the form of this ComicCon one. It also gives us a better look at Jared Leto’s vampire alter-ego…
Morbius has a teaser trailer and while it’s pretty light on monster reveals and vague on plot points, it does a great job of making this idea look interesting. Watch…
Oddly enough the movie doesn’t have an official poster yet. We’ll drop it in this space as soon as it does.
Who Is Morbius?
Morbius is actually Dr. Michael Morbius, who becomes “infected” with a viral vampiric gene that gives him superpowers.
In a lot of ways, Morbius’s story follows the traditional comic book story arc. We’ve got a disabled kid, who’s also a genius. Morbius grows up working on genetic testing that will help him overcome a blood disease that had stripped him of energy and, among other things, limits his ability to walk.
So like any wunderkid genius looking to cure the world, as a young adult he injects himself with a nice little cocktail of vampire bat genes with some electroshock therapy thrown in as well. The results? Well, I hate to spoil things here but, it only kind of works.
The result of the experiment is Dr. Morbius can not only walk, but now has super strength, super speed, maybe the ability to fly, fangs and insane healing ability. And sure, all of this seem rather awesome, right? But there’s a little downside as well. Seems he now has some vampiric tendencies like needing blood all the time to survive. One step forward, two steps back so to speak.
While mostly a villain in the Marvel world, often battling Spider-Man, the Morbius movie does seem to pose him as something of an antihero.
How Morbius Fits Into The MCU
The Morbius movie is part of Sony’s Marvel Universe, an offshoot of the Marvel Cinematic Universe we’ve come to know and love. While technically in the same “world”, movies in this stable have and will have a decidedly different feel; meant, at least from the outset, to highlight characters in Spider-Man’s sphere and world.
The studio started things off with Venom, Tom Hardy’s take on the bizzaro-ish-Spidey which bombed with critics (29% on Rotten Tomatoes) but did put up close to $900 million at the box office. The level of monetary success was more than a little surprising considering critics couldn’t stand it. But it was enough to garner a sequel with Venom 2 being released in October of 2020.
Along the timeline, Morbius will represent the second movie in this group.
So while technically a Marvel property, and theoretically in the same world, there will presumably be very little overlap with these movies and traditional canon of the MCU.
That being said, recent advertising campaigns suggest the Morbius movie follows the events of Spider-Man: Far From Home at least in terms of timeline.
The Cast Of Morbius
Obviously, Jared Leto will play Dr. Michael Morbius. If the trailer can be trusted, he at least looks the part with the pasty skin, long hair and lanky frame that just screams “I’m a vampire!” In all seriousness, Leto seems better suited for this role than the Joker, if we are comparing previous comic book work.
Adria Arjona, most recently in Netflix’s 6 Underground, will play Morbius’s wife Martine. It looks like she’s moderately against the devil-may-care attitude the good doctor has toward curing his afflictions by any means necessary.
Meanwhile, Matt Smith of Doctor Who fame will play Morbius’s friend Loxias Crown but better known in the comic book world as The Hunger. If Smith looks the part of an evil villain, don’t worry because The Hunger has the same affliction as Morbius, given to him by the doctor, and could end up the antagonist here.
Tyrese Gibson and Al Madrigal play FBI agents hot on the trail of the bloodsucking doctor. And Jared Harris who’s been in, well just about everything, plays a young Morbius’s guardian and inspiration to do whatever it takes to cure his disease (even including becoming Dracula I guess).
Finally, if you watch the Morbius movie trailer, the final moments include a shot of Michael Keaton. This is important because this world exists in the Spider-Man universe and Keaton played The Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming. There’s been no real confirmation on if he’s coming back in that role considering but considering how Homecoming ended with their credits scene, we know Vulture ends up in prison with a possible new ally in his fight against Spider-Man. It’s completely reasonable to think he’s back in the same role and somehow out of jail.
The People In Charge
Daniel Espinosa is at the helm of Morbius. His most recent work was Life, a well-reviewed (67% on Rotten Tomatoes) and frankly pretty creepy take on extraterrestrial life aboard a space station. He lent a decent level of suspense to this film and that has me moderately encouraged for his take on Morbius.
He also directed the flop Child 44, which was based on the book by Rob Smith. It was a disappointing adaptation considering the source material about a Russian agent and a serial killer in Cold War USSR.
And his biggest work at the box office was the Ryan Reynolds/ Denzel Washington teamup Safe House. This one scored about $126 million in theaters but was merely *meh* with critics at 57% on the Tomatometer.
I suspect Morbius ultimately ends in this above average range, not overwhelming in terms of critical response but watchable nonetheless.
Coronavirus Impacting Morbius
Movie theaters are now closed around the world and won’t open til mid-summer at the latest. With the Morbius movie set to release in July of 2020, it’s hard to say whether there will be any theaters open to show it by then.
But the movie’s star, Jared Leto, had no idea his film was even in jeopardy until about five minutes ago. While the world has spent the last two weeks with the words “Coronavirus” on their lips, Leto had no idea what was going on. He has the singular distinction of being one of the last people on Earth to know…
If I were Leto I’d consider turning around and walking right back into that retreat. Sounds like as good a way to quarantine as any. There’s nothing good going on out here Jared.