With Marvel Studios and their Marvel Cinematic Universe constantly dominating the film news cycle, you’d be forgiven for forgetting that Sony is off doing their own thing. Well, their own contractually allowed thing, that’s helped by the overall strength of the Marvel name. Not to mention the worldwide success of Venom (close to a billion dollars). After that surprise hit Sony quickly announced they’d greenlit several movies focused on Spider-man‘s other adversaries and occasional allies. The most curious of these was Morbius, a “vampire” tale, starring everyone’s favorite Oscar winner, Jared Leto. Now the day is upon us, where we can finally get an idea of what it all amounts to. From an initial teaser trailer, that is.
For those distracted by the thrum of the music above, here’s the always helpful official synopsis, to help you follow along:
“One of Marvel’s most compelling and conflicted characters comes to the big screen as Oscar® winner Jared Leto transforms into the enigmatic antihero, Michael Morbius. Dangerously ill with a rare blood disorder, and determined to save others suffering his same fate, Dr. Morbius attempts a desperate gamble. What at first appears to be a radical success soon reveals itself to be a remedy potentially worse than the disease.”
As far as first impressions go, this isn’t half bad. It succinctly sets the stakes of Michael Morbius and his debilitating illness, as only Jared Leto could convey. Compared to Vemon, the monster movie aspect is also front and center. Though it could be a misdirect, given the overall lack of plot that presented. Dealing with his illness. Finding a “cure”. Wrestling with the side effects. Altogether that seems like it could easily be condensed into merely an hour. Is the third act him satiating his bloodlust in a “not-so-law-abiding” manner, while setting up a sequel? Who knows. Matt Smith supposedly plays a friend of Leto’s who also undergoes his own transformation, too. Not exactly what you’d surmise from the above. Unless that’s being saved for a second trailer.
Another interesting wrinkle here, is the pedigree behind this film. Director Daniel Espinosa did both Life and Safe House previous, which are tonally different, but both have Ryan Reynolds. Then there’s writers Matt Sazama & Burk Sharpless, who are responsible for Dracula: Untold (definitely in the Morbius wheelhouse) and Gods of Egypt. Put those elements together and you wonder how much camp is intentionally being left out here.
Of course, all this said, we need to address the Michael Keaton-shaped elephant in the room. Mostly, what is he doing here? For those who don’t remember, Keaton featured heavily in Spider-Man: Homecoming, as Adrian Toombs, aka The Vulture. While that film is technically part of the MCU, it was made under the Sony/Columbia banner. There’s a whole big rigmarole when it comes to the finer point of the contact between the two companies, but indication was that there wouldn’t necessarily be a cross-over between MCU characters and Sony’s movie characters, outside of the webhead. Yet, maybe that’s wrong? For all we know, this could be a small cameo or a stinger from a post credit’s bit. Notice Leto wearing an orange jumper earlier and Keaton in a white uniform. Maybe there’s a prison transport escape? Your guess is as good as ours.
Overall, how does this first glimpse of Morbius strike you? Are you into what Leto and Sony are selling? Is that really Al Madrigal running around as a police officer or FBI agent? What are the chances Spider-Man makes a cameo here? How likely is it this replicates Venom’s success? Share your thoughts down in the comments. You can expect more news on this film, rather soon. There’s a lot of unanswered questions here and that’s kind of a nice change of pace. The less we know, the more excitement can be drummed up. Grab your blood red sharpies and mark your calenders, for when Morbius swoops into theaters on July 31, 2020.