Trailer Reactions

Trailer Breakdown: “Morbius”

I’m definitely behind on this but in case you missed it yesterday was the debut for the first trailer for “Morbius”, the second film in Sony’s Spider-Verse consisting of movies focusing on Spider-Man’s rogues gallery that started with 2018’s “Venom”.  It’s also the first Spider-Man property since Disney and Sony sparked a new deal for the wallcrawler that would keep him in the Marvel Cinematic Universe but also promised some unexpected surprises on the horizon. The “Morbius” trailer has certainly shed some interesting light on some of those possible bombshells while also giving us the first look at the film centered around the vampire antihero. Understanding that a lot of you have already probably read numerous breakdowns and are aware of the unexpected Easter Eggs included in the trailer, I decided to break down our first look at the film myself and for those who may be unaware of what it promises. So, here it is, my breakdown of the first trailer for “Morbius”.

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Screenshot Courtesy of Sony

Based on the Marvel villain turned antihero Morbius the Living Vampire, “Morbius” immediately looks like it will stick with the dark and semi-gritty atmosphere Sony established with “Venom”. We are introduced to Dr. Michael Morbius in his youth clearly suffering from a serious medical condition and being bullied, but finding support with a yet-to-be-named mentor played by Jared Harris whose voiceover reveals that Morbius has been gifted his whole life. We’re meant to assume he’s talking about Morbius’s intellect but this may be a not-so-subtle way of addressing his illness as something of a gift, pushing him towards scientific discover and shifting his perspective. We also get our first look at the star of the show, the adult Morbius played by Jared Leto who jumps the DC ship to join Sony’s Marvel universe.

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Screenshot Courtesy of Sony

We next see Morbius accepting a Nobel Prize, still using crutches as he did as a boy and receiving praise from Harris’s character as the most promising scientist to find a cure for his own disease. The trailer is accompanied by a pretty neat if strange rendition of “Für Elise” by Beethoven with a modern movie score twist added in for effect. We see that Morbius has, indeed, grown up to be a talented doctor as he explains his own rare blood disease, consistent with his comic book origins, and that his body has deteriorated into a bony, thin shell showing evidence that, as he himself says, he is “running out of time” to find the cure. He seems to have found a possible key to a cure admitting to his girlfriend Martine, played by Adria Arjona who is shown examining Morbius in one clip as shown above, that what he is planning to do is “not exactly legal”. So far, at fifty seconds in, this already feels like a very similar approach to “Venom”. Leto, like Hardy, feels like he’s above the character he was hired to play so this might not be the actor’s best work, but I have faith that, like Hardy, he can make the character his own.

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Screenshot Courtesy of Sony

 

Morbius arrives at a strange cave via helicopter and we see his team set up a device in the rain. Morbius them cuts his own hand to lure the bats out of the cave seemingly expecting what is about to happen. The bats swarm the doctor but he doesn’t seem to be in pain. Rather he seems amazed, curious even which makes me think he knew what he was getting into. We see Martine warn Morbius that his “cure” might have a cost. Morbius is then shown in a glass holding cell, which looks oddly similar to the ones used in “Venom” but let’s face it these aren’t exactly unique items nowadays especially in superhero films. Clearly looking frustrated by his containment, which may have happened as a direct result of his encounter with the bats and against his will, Morbius punches and damages the glass several times showing us his first true abilities as the Living Vampire and also insinuating that the glass was designed to hold superpowered beings. I find it interesting how Martine simply looks on, almost with an “I told you so” expression on her face, one that even implies that Morbius is not the man he once was. This to me indicates she may be disappointed that Morbius decided on such a dark path to find a cure. There’s definitely friction between these two and you bet it will play a big role in the narrative. Add one more similarity between this film and “Venom”.

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Screenshot Courtesy of Sony

After needlessly reminding us that Sony also brought us both MCU “Spider-Man” movies and “Venom” we see Morbius in a big glass tube filled with bats, possibly as part of his experiments but it’s important to note he is standing in this shot without assistance, something he couldn’t do before. So, this is definitely after he inherits his powers. The scenes that follows give a better glimpse at Martine and Morbius’s relationship and how close the two are as both people and professionals as she shows genuine concern for his condition and what’s happening to him. Morbius then comes to the revelation that his search for a cure may have worked and his physical transformation proves that. One shot shows him having developed a six pack and a fully muscled body much improved from his thin previous self and he is shown lifting an artifact of some kind that looks similar to a casket which may be an artifact from the cave he went to explore. We then see more of his powers starting with his reflexes and his speed as he begins to explore the extent of his recovery, or rather his evolution. It is a neat touch to see the red and purple glows around him when he uses his powers which adds some needed color to an otherwise dark atmosphere and giving us glimpses of is abilities provides promise that it won’t be long before we see Morbius in action. We also see his eyes transform as he reveals he can use echolocation. All of this is likely to be explored through typical comic book movie training sessions and montages, but the trailer does enough to at least tease us with his vampire abilities and capping it off with him admitting he has an “overpowering urge to consume blood”.

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Screenshot Courtesy of Sony

We briefly see Morbius in combat using razer sharp claws to attack his assailants. This all leads to one of several money shots in this trailer, the one above, where Morbius appears to be in a prisoner uniform walking by a graffitied picture of Spider-Man himself. So, first off Morbius…he looks like he has just escaped captivity which is probably the result of his assault on the gunned men that led to this scene. If he became a vampire and people knew of his condition, then he would certainly be taken into custody by force if need be and, of course, he would want to free himself. The other part of the above screenshot that has everyone talking is the Spider-Man cameo. First off, the design doesn’t look like the MCU Spider-Man. Rather it looks closer to the first Spider Man from Sam Raimi’s original trilogy. But it’s the word written over it that intrigues me, “murderer”. When last we left Spider-Man in the MCU in “Far from Home” he had become a public enemy as Mysterio released corrupted footage that appeared to imply Spider-Man murdered him. That leaves the MCU Spider-Man on the run. So let’s just assume that “Morbius” takes place in the MCU…this is such a tease that could acknowledge that connection and possibly reveal one of those “surprises” that Marvel and Sony promised in their new deal. On the other hand the design of Spidey looks different from the MCU which could imply a possible alternate universe theory…but another Easter Egg later on in the trailer might make the MCU connection more plausible. More on that soon.

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We don’t get much detail on the villains of the movie, but we do get to see them. Tyrese Gibson’s character Simon Stroud, an FBI agent who is hunting the Living Vampire, is shown for the first time in the above shot. Stroud is wearing a device on his arm, one that appears to be filled with blood. Considering Morbius’s new attraction to blood if Stroud is desperate enough to capture the Living Vampire then using his own blood as bait wouldn’t exactly be a bad idea. It’s also possible this is a weapon specially made to help fight Morbius. Stroud is not an original character. In the comics he is a former CIA Agent who hunts both Morbius and Man-Wolf so his inclusion in a “Morbius” movie is very appropriate. Gibson has a three-film deal signed for the series so either his character is going to be an enemy turned friend or a secondary villain with continued involvement in future hunts for the Living Vampire…maybe with Kraven the Hunter by his side. Who knows?

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Screenshot Courtesy of Sony

The only glimpse we get of the film’s likely true villain is a single shot of “Doctor Who” actor Matt Smith who is playing Loxias Crown. This is the movie’s version of Hunger who in the comics is a Hydra scientist who also became a Living Vampire like Morbius. In the film he allegedly suffers from the same disease as Morbius so would obviously be seeking a cure and, as comic book movies are known to do, will likely serve as Morbius’s mirror equal first foe on the big screen…the evil equivalent of the hero. This is yet one more concern for me that “Morbius” might simply be a vampire-themed carbon copy of Sony’s approach to “Venom” although let’s face it the “superhero faces and evil version of themselves” cliché has become a standard that most comic book movie fans just deal with at this point.

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Screenshot Courtesy of Sony

The trailer nears its conclusion with Jared Harris’s character warning Morbius that going too far might make his cure worse than the disease, meaning that Morbius’s obsession with curing himself could leave him in a worse place than when he started. Considering he gains stamina and health by becoming a bloodthirsty vampire that’s a fair assumption to make…he was cured but at a terrible cost. We see a few dramatic and action shots including an unfortunate nurse who appears to fall victim to either Morbius or Hunger before our first and only look at Morbius in his vampire form is revealed. This one shot looks awesome adapting several of the iconic aspects of Morbius including his pail skin and deformed nose to the screen. This obviously takes place later in the film as most of the trailer shows that the Living Vampire will look like Jared Leto for the bulk of the picture. Either that or he is able to transform back and froth from this form which would be an interesting addition to the character. Of course, we’ll have to wait for more trailers to see a better look at Morbius, but this has me pretty excited. Then we get the title card but the trailer doesn’t leave us without one more HUGE bombshell that has become the major talking point of this first look at the movie…

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Screenshot Courtesy of Sony

Michael Keaton makes a surprise appearance as a yet defined character although it’s pretty clear who this is. It’s very likely this is Vulture, the villain from “Spider-Man: Homecoming”. I personally make this assumption because he looks like he’s in a prison suit and he’s taunting Morbius for being “tired of doing the good guy thing” which implies Morbius is being brought into prison and since we saw Morbius in a prison suit earlier this all lines up. Morbius probably sees Vulture when he’s being taken in to join the other prisoners. At the end of “Homecoming” Vulture was imprisoned but we haven’t seen anything of his since. This could be very likely a simple brief cameo in the movie, a blink and you’ll miss it moment referencing the MCU, but if it is indeed tying “Morbius” to the previous MCU films then that’s a huge deal, one that completely changes what we can expect from Sony’s own Spider-Man universe. It’s long been rumored that Sony’s movies do take place in the MCU, just separate from the main narratives. If “Morbius” confirms this then is it possible we see Tom Holland’s Spider-Man face Tom Hardy’s Venom? Could Morbius and Venom be a part of future MCU films? Or is this Vulture in an alternate universe separate from the MCU but still connected through science mumbo-jumbo. We’ll have to wait and see, but this definitely has had everyone talking for good reason.

Overall I’m excited to see what “Morbius” has to offer, but I’m cautious. It could be a big bust especially if it’s too similar to “Venom”, but it could also be a fun thrill ride that does the character justice. Either is possible and the trailer really doesn’t promise one more than the other. It gives us what we need to see, glimpses of his story, his powers, and his vampire form but the MCU teases are really the fun Easter Eggs that make “Morbius” really exciting and the fact that these details needed to be included to draw us to the movie could either simply be bait on the hook or a desperate move to get people in the seats.

What did you think of the “Morbius” trailer? Is there anything I missed? Let me know in the comments and if you want to watch the trailer in full I have provided it above.

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