Sony's Morbius is a film fans know both everything about yet nothing at all. Morbius debuted its first teaser over two years ago, which included the shocking reveal of Michael Keaton reprising his role as Adrian Toomes from Spider-Man: Homecoming. Future Morbius trailers would double down on the connection confusion, showcasing The Amazing Spider-Man's Oscorp logo, Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man on an alleyway poster, and a catchphrase nod to Tom Hardy's Venom.
While most of this film's hype is centered around Morbius' surroundings, star Jared Leto has emphasized there's plenty of reason to get excited about his living vampire. Leto has noted the "transformational" nature of Morbius is what attracted him to the character, and he's eager to portray a role that teeters the "superhero, supervillain" line.
Achieving that balance between good and evil will be a driving force of the Morbius narrative, which the film's director and leading star have emphasized ahead of the film's incoming release.
Morbius's Rank Among Marvel Anti-Heroes
The new Marvel legend is already being compared to immortalized icons.
In Sony Pictures's official Morbius production release, director Daniel Espinosa stressed the importance of the titular character's "anti-hero" vibe, naming Marvel greats like "Magneto, Rogue, [and] Wolverine" that also shined due to towing that line.
“Most great heroes are antiheroes. Most of us are resistant to accept that we are the chosen one, and Morbius is the same. The most interesting characters in the Marvel universe have always been those that have had one foot on each side: Magneto, Rogue, Wolverine, in his own way, Venom. All of these characters are the ones that are fundamentally the most fascinating for us as moviegoers and comic book readers.”
That "one foot on each side" will be especially difficult for Morbius to maintain, but not due to evil temptations. Espinosa noted Morbius's selfless nature is in the driver's seat, while the living vampire inside fights for control.
“Michael Morbius is one of the most altruistic characters of the Marvel Universe. He’s one of the few that really believes in good. This good man has a horrible disease, and in his trials to save himself and the people that he cares for, he turns into a monster.”
As a result, this "inner beast" is unwelcome by Michael Morbius, the man, who will have to learn to "accept" his new life.
“When Morbius discovers his inner beast, he becomes afraid of it – and because he’s afraid, he’s also afraid of his powers. He’s afraid that they will take over and change him, so he’s constantly resisting them. To become the hero, he has to accept his fate: Morbius’s journey is to accept that he will still remain the person that he is, but he has to harness these powers.”
While this power is doing all it can to corrupt Michael Morbius, star Jared Leto noted his fate is in his own hands.
“At the end of the day, he’s a very good person. He’s using his talent, his skills, his education, his brains, in search of noble pursuits. He’s not without his faults – he’s breaking some rules, but he’s doing it to find the cure and help people like himself.”
Balancing the Inner Beast
Morbius finds itself in a precarious spot within the comic book movie world.
After being delayed countless times, the film comes out two days after Moon Knight begins streaming on Disney+. While the streaming series isn't in direct competition to the theatrical title, both projects are noticeably similar when considering these quotes.
Both titular characters are corrupted by an outside force that vies for control within the hosts' bodies, and rather than seeking a cure, the characters must "accept [their] fate," or as Moon Knight's tagline says, "embrace the chaos."
That's not even mentioning the stated comparisons to "Magneto, Rogue, Wolverine, [and] Venom," all characters that have had multiple on-screen appearances that date back decades. Standing out in Hollywood is hard enough, and having comparisons to long-established characters only increases the incline in this uphill battle. There's room for Morbius within this vast vat of live-action superheroes, but if Jared Leto's second take on a comic book character is going to be remembered, he's going to have to do something that sets him apart from the rest.
Morbius hits theaters on April 1.