I actually read some Morbius comics when I was a kid. He’s a weird character.
Some interesting things about Morbius:
- Morbius isn’t his super-hero name, it’s his actual name. Like Otto Octavius, Michael Morbius is one of those Marvel characters doomed by uncaring parents to a name of destiny.
- Morbius is called “the Living Vampire” because he is not, technically speaking, one of the undead. He was never bitten by a vampire or drank their blood. Morbius became a “pseudo-vampire” by injecting himself with vampire bat DNA and electro-shocking himself in order to cure himself from a rare blood disorder…and in the process, scientifically reverse-engineered the quite real and supernatural vampirism that exists in the Marvel Universe. The ontological implications are fascinating.
- Morbius is originally a Spider-Man sympathetic villain, in the vein of the Lizard, although he’s since spent more of his career as part of the Midnight Sons, a supernatural team of horror-themed second stringers plus Ghost Rider plus Black Cat for some weird reason.
While I love Morbius as an example of how 70s Marvel’s fad-chasing could sometimes result in a wonderful alchemy of cheese, that’s also why I’m really skeptical of the upcoming Sony film even if it wasn’t starring Jared Leto. In a similar but distinct way to the problems with a Venom movie, I have reservations both that the main character can sustain a movie because he’s not really built to be a main character (Morbius is kind of a one-note emo boy, and when he’s worked in the past it’s usually in an ensemble), and that he’s absolutely the wrong character to do a dark n’ gritty anti-hero movie with.
What is novel and unique about Morbius is that he is inherently ridiculous. He’s not a real vampire, he’s a mad scientist who thought that VAMPIRE BAT PLUS LIGHTNING = CURE. He’s a world-reknowned scientist who also voluntarily goes out of doors with a deep v-neck popped collar and underarm wings, because clearly the good doctor built his costume out of his old disco jumpsuit. He spends half of his time bemoaning that he must drink blood out of the necks of an attractive young woman from the cover of a Mills and Boon novel and the other half doing medical rounds as the only doctor in Monster Metropolis.
If this project was going to be done at all, it would have to be done in a deliberately campy and tongue-in-cheek fashion. And that’s not how Sony rolls.