I’m a big fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but as someone who never read many comics, I’m largely unfamiliar with Michael Morbius. The first Morbius trailer for Sony’s forthcoming film came out recently, and I have thoughts.
(The following article contains spoilers for the above trailer, Spider-Man: Far From Home, and Avengers: Endgame)
The hero’s journey of Dr. Michael Morbius reminds me a heck of a lot of the same journey as undertaken by Dr. Steven Strange. Got a health problem, no solution, use supernatural means, become a superhero. So it does feel a bit odd that Sony is going the same route here.
The movies in Sony’s Marvel Universe have a distinctly different vibe than Marvel’s own. I’ve not yet seen the Venom movie, but I’ve gotten enough of a feel for it from trailers and reviews. This Morbius movie looks to follow in the same supernatural and dark footsteps, which is a stark (ha ha) contrast to Spider-Man: Homecoming, which was a Sony film, but made in partnership with Marvel Studios. The Venom and Morbius films remind me far more of Wesley Snipes’s Blade films than anything Marvel has done lately.
And speaking of Blade, the news that Mahershala Ali would be playing the character in at least one upcoming film is fantastic news. I’ve admired Mahershala since I first saw him in The 4400 fifteen years ago. But since that film will be done by Marvel proper, is there any chance there could be a Morbius tie-in? They both deal with vampires, and are both Marvel characters. The only possible stumbling block is that they’re done by different studios. These studios have teamed up before, but for now we can only hope.
Of course, one of the Morbius trailer’s biggest moments is when Morbius walks past graffiti of Spider-Man, painted alongside the moniker “MURDERER”. This is our first hint that Michael Morbius exists in a world alongside other comic figures. It also hints that after Peter Parker’s identity is revealed at the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home, his reputation plummets, at least among J. Jonah Jameson’s InfoWars-like Daily Bugle community. After all – he has killed Mysterio, who was an Avenger! Peter and May must be hiding out with Happy Hogan, which practically guarantees that John Favreau will appear in future Sony Marvel films.
And this brings us to the final big moment in the Morbius trailer: the appearance of Adrian Toomes, AKA The Vulture. There’s been speculation since the ending of Spider-Man: Homecoming that Sony was building towards The Sinister Six. With Michael Keaton’s Vulture and Michael Mando’s Scorpion being certain inclusions, adding Morbius to the mix could then fill out half that team. Morbius would be likely to join if Toomes presents their goal as bringing in the fugitive vigilante murderer Peter Parker. Keep in mind, Toomes was one of the few who knew Parker’s secret identity before Jameson revealed it to the world. After that, Kraven the Hunter, The Shocker, and Tombstone could round out the team. Dare I hope for Doctor Octopus? It would be hard for anyone to match Alfred Molina’s performance as that character.
And will the Morbius film give us another cameo by J.K. Simmons’s J. Jonah Jameson? His haircut isn’t the flat-top it was in the Tobey McGuire films, but nobody could play that character as perfectly as Simmons.