The Living Vampire

Morbius was dead on arrival. After the unfortunate success of Venom, Sony was convinced they could make a shared universe of their own. Without Spider-Man, the studio settled for obscure villains like Morbius, the Living Vampire. I think I speak for everyone when I say, nobody asked for a Morbius movie! Morbius was created by Roy Thomas & Gil Kane in 1971 when the Comics Code Authority lifted the ban on vampires and other supernatural monsters. The horror themed villain first fought Spider-Man during his mutation saga in The Amazing Spider-Man #101. I only knew about the Living Vampire beforehand thanks to several appearances on Spider-Man: The Animated Series.

I guess I have that show to thank for a lot of character introductions. Though that version of Morbius was more kid friendly and drained plasma through his hands rather than drink blood. Morbius is technically a Spider-Man villain, but he arguably has more in common with Blade. In the comics, Morbius was responsible for turning the otherwise human vampire hunter into a dhampir. Morbius was actually supposed to cameo in 1998’s Blade, but his scene got cut. Several years later and the movie Morbius feels like it was made in the 90’s. Similar to The New Mutants, Morbius was delayed many times. Although Morbius was supposed to come out between Venom and Venom: Let There Be Carnage, its place in Marvel movie history was questionable to say the least…

16. Morbius

Morbius the living vampire

Morbius sounded like a bad idea when it was first announced, but the teaser trailer confirmed my suspicion. Morbius has a muted low budget color palette that makes it feel like an R rated movie. Yet just like the Venom films, Morbius is a bloodless PG-13 vampire flick. I’m really not sure how Mahershala Ali’s Blade is gonna work in the MCU. Director Daniel Espinosa hasn’t made too many noteworthy films aside from Life. So there wasn’t a lot of reason to get excited. Morbius was supposed to be released on July 10, 2020 before it was pushed to July 31. Then the Pandemic moved it to March 19, 2021 before it was once again pushed to October 8. January 21 or January 28, 2022 felt like its final resting place, but Spider-Man: No Way Home was too much of a success for them to risk a critical and financial dud. April 1 was the best possible release date, because the whole movie feels like a joke.

Morbius is surprisingly faithful to the comics, but who cares when nobody knows who the character is. In the comics, Dr. Michael Morbius is a medical doctor with a rare blood disease who turns himself into a Living Vampire through scientific means. The movie is an almost word for word retelling since Spider-Man doesn’t specifically affect his origin. Like Venom, Morbius is more known as a villain before growing into an anti-hero overtime. Jared Leto seemed like perfect casting since he was trying to distance himself from his awful Joker portrayal. Leto has the long black hair, beard, and malnourished look from the comics, but there’s only so much he can do with the material he’s given. Morbius starts with the “horde of bats” scene from the trailer, but it feels disconnected when it’s followed by Michael’s childhood as a sick kid in Greece.

Though the bat scene looked like his origin, that actually takes place on a shipping boat when he’s injected with vampire bat DNA. Morbius’ monstrous face is also ripped straight from the comics. His vampiric attack on the crew is the only thing that feels unique in a Marvel movie. Everything else is painfully generic and boring. Morbius has to drink artificial blood to curb his craving, he possesses super-strength, bat sonar, enhanced reflexes, and flight accompanied by CGI smoke. He either wears a hoodie or dresses in a black trench coat. They obviously weren’t gonna adapt his flamboyant Dracula ensemble from the 70’s. Morbius is constantly reminded he’s a vampire with cringy attempts at humor. Aside from his name being Michael, The Lost Boys is only referenced in the trailer with the song “People are Strange” by The Doors.

Speaking of references, the trailer is horribly misleading. Daily Bugle newspapers are present, but the Oscorp building and Spider-Man graffiti are nowhere to be seen. Any reference to Venom is painfully on the nose. Most of the supporting cast is from the comics, but who’s gonna know if they are. Adria Arjona plays Michael’s love interest Martine Bancroft who works with him at Horizon Labs. She doesn’t leave an impression outside of being the vampire’s girlfriend. Acclaimed actor Jared Harris doesn’t leave an impression either as Michael’s childhood Dr. Emil Nicholas. His role seems to have been trimmed down just like Tyrese Gibson. Simon Stroud has a robotic arm and what seemed like a personal connection to Morbius that’s completely ditched in the film. Now Stroud and his partner Al are bumbling FBI agents trying to catch the good doctor.

In case you’re wondering who the villain is, they make the mistake of creating an original villain since they couldn’t use Spider-Man. Although Matt Smith was announced to play Hunger from the comics, Milo Morbius is the surrogate brother of Michael with the same disease who becomes yet another evil version of the hero. Smith has been playing a lot of villains lately, but he really hams it up as the evil Living Vampire. Morbius gives into his hunger in a final fight that’s every bit the CGI mess you expect it to be. The movie also leaves out what looked like an action scene in the forest. Morbius feels passionless and disposable with a 1 hour & 44 minute runtime that feels like it was leading to the dumbest post credit scenes I’ve ever seen. In case you were wondering about the Michael Keaton Vulture scene from all the trailers, let’s just say I don’t look forward to Sony’s plans for this MCU adjacent franchise. All you need to know is that Morbius sucks. ‘Nuff said!

17. Morbius

Michael Morbius runs away

P.S. It’s Morbin’ Time!

5 thoughts on “The Living Vampire

  1. I’ve actually heard some fans say they thought the movie was all right, though I’m unsure if they were readers of the original comics. Marvel’s gotta talk to Sony and get some kind of levelheadedness going if they wanna keep releasing movies, otherwise they’ll be hitting rock-bottom on ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Every time Sony comes out with a pseudo-Spider-Man spin-off I keep hoping it will fail miserably at the box office just so Sony has no choice but to turn all those characters back over to Marvel. Which is why I opted not to see this one this weekend. Not that one ticket makes much of a difference, but I like to think I’m voting with my wallet.

    Liked by 1 person

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