Mistakes are a part of life. Sony Pictures' Morbius - starring Jared Leto - is the latest mistake made within its Spider-Man Universe. Since 2014, when Sony released The Amazing Spider-Man 2, the company has failed to use Peter Parker in a way that many fans enjoy. Sony Pictures Animation produced the only exception with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The main reason Sony didn't succeed and has continued to let fans down is their desire to do too much with too little.
Sony continues to look for more ways to profit off of Spider-Man and his various villains and characters. From a business point of view, it's been successful. 2018's Venom made $856M at the global box office, an objective gold mine for the studio. Venom cost roughly half of The Amazing Spider-Man 2's budget, and grossed $147M more at the worldwide box office.
Off the heels of Venom sprung the new concept of Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters, now known as Sony's Spider-Man Universe. The studio aims to produce more solo films in this new Venom universe including characters like Spider-Woman, Madame Web, Kraven the Hunter, and, of course, Morbius.
Now that the Living Vampire has sunk his teeth into theaters, and the box office, it's time to examine the film's impact on Sony' last release: Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Morbius' Spider-Man: No Way Home Connections
Warning - the rest of this article contains spoilers for Morbius.
With Morbius' release, the SSU has officially disregarded the tightly wound story-telling that Marvel Studios prides itself on. Morbius' pair of post-credit scenes may go down as the most desperate attempt to build excitement for fans and create connections to building a larger universe.
Sony wanted to create its own cinematic universe in 2014, but it failed. Now, eight years and one successful Spider-Man trilogy later, the studio is still attempting to develop something that fans are not interested in: Spider-Man outside the MCU.
In the first post-credits scene, Adrian Toomes reappears in a jail cell. However, this time he is in the SSU. For those that have been following along, this development makes no logical sense as Toomes' original universe is the MCU. It's true that Vulture knew Peter Parker's identity, so he would be affected by the Runes of Kof-Kol spell in some way, but being transported to a random separate universe doesn't add up.
During the second post-credits scene, Toomes has been released from prison (because he's not a criminal in the SSU) and somehow has recreated his Vulture outfit, despite not having the Chitauri weaponry he used to make his original suit. Leto's Michael Morbius randomly meets him on the side of a cliff, and they share some of the worst dialogue to hit the silver screen:
Vulture: “Thanks for meeting me, Doc. I’ve been reading about you. I don’t know how I got here … something to do with Spider-Man. I’m thinking of putting a team together. Do some good.”
How Morbius Hurts Spider-Man: No Way Home
Morbius does not only disregard the rules written by No Way Home, but it purposefully goes out of its way to scrawl over the delicate tapestry woven by Marvel Studios up to this point.
How would Toomes have any idea he was sent to a different universe because of Spider-Man? Why would he even want to recreate his Vulture suit? Morbius has no idea who Spider-Man even is based on the movie, so why wouldn't that be the first thing Morbius asks? Why would Morbius have any motivation to join a team?
Besides his new condition forcing him to consume blood to survive, Michael Morbius isn't portrayed as much of a villain... so why would he suddenly be interested in starting anything resembling a Sinister Six?
Sony has now made it blatantly obvious that it still plans to produce a Sinister Six film, or at least put the team together to face Spider-Man in a future movie. Because of this lack of planning and forced connective tissue, No Way Home now becomes slightly worse when you look at the whole picture. Minor plot holes were forgiven by fans when the result was a beloved film that sees the return of Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire. Significant, insultingly nonsensical plot holes will not be forgiven for the sake of the SSU.
Breaking The Rules of Doctor Strange's Spell
The rules are very clear in Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Doctor Strange's Runes of Kof-Kol spell was meant to make everyone on Earth forget that Peter Parker was Spider-Man. When the spell goes array, people from other universes that know Spider-Man's identity, as well as other Peter Parkers, started appearing in the MCU. With the exception of Jamie Foxx's Electro, all the villains returning made sense under those rules.
When Doctor Strange recreates the spell at the end of the movie, this time making everyone on Earth forget Peter Parker exists, all the villains returned to their original universes. This story element was primarily a pathway to creating one of the most satisfying and nostalgia-filled comic book movies of all time. However, it was well-thought-out and ended in a bitter-sweet hopeful ending that teases Spider-Man's future.
Now, Vulture has thrown an avian-shaped wrench in the works. The spell didn't originally send those who knew Peter Parker's identity hurtling through to other universes, else this would mean characters like MJ, Ned, Happy Hogan, most of the Avengers, and a good portion of the Earth would have been sent through to Morbius and Venom's 'verse due to them all being aware of who Spider-Man truly is.
Sony will have to come up with some sort of reasoning behind Toomes, and Toomes alone, hopping over to another universe. At least Venom's post-credits sequence had an explanation for Tom Hardy's Eddie Brock entrance, thanks to the Symbiote hive mind.
Why Venom's No Way Home Connection Worked
Perhaps the worst part of this whole ordeal is that Sony Pictures is capable of doing better.
The second installment in the SSU was 2021's Venom: Let There Be Carnage starring Tom Hardy, reprising his role as Eddie Brock, and Woody Harrelson as Cletus Kasady aka Carnage. During the post-credits scene of Let There Be Carnage, Eddie and Venom were transported to the MCU, where Tom Holland's unmasked Spider-Man appeared on the TV after being framed as a murderer by Mysterio in Far From Home.
This move seemed a bit forced, leaving many fans confused about how they got there. After the release of Spider-Man: No Way Home it made a little more sense when villains from across the multiverse were brought into the MCU if they knew that Peter Parker was Spider-Man.
During the aforementioned Let There Be Carnage post-credits scene, Venom was about to show Eddie the Symbiote hive mind that spans "across universes". However, right before he shows him, the transportation happens to the MCU. This concept of a hive mind explains why this iteration of the character was sent to the MCU. In 2007's Spider-Man 3, that universe's Eddie Brock and Venom know that Peter Parker is Spider-Man. Albeit this explanation isn't perfect, but at least there's a connection.
Morbius offers no connection, no explanation, just a dead, insulting post-credits scene that retroactively makes No Way Home a worse film.
Morbius' Scary Impact on the MCU
Despite reports that Sony wants to continue working with Marvel Studios, its separate, disappointing SSU is beginning to become unavoidable for any future Spider-Man storytelling, no matter Disney's involvement.
If Morbius flops entirely at the box office, maybe the studio will pretend like the movie and its post-credit scene never happened. Sony Pictures is determined to continually release Spider-Man-related films in theaters as it is its most valuable piece of IP. This desire to milk its cash cow again, and again, and again is what leads to a Morbius situation. It reeks of desperateness, something that Marvel Studios has never come close to since 2008's Iron Man.
The future could always change, but fans will have to deal with the small stain Morbius just added to Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Morbius is now playing in theaters worldwide.