How to Suck the Fun Out of the Morbius Movie


Of course, Sony isn't looking to make another vampire horror film, it's trying to make a superhero film. That's not that dissimilar to the situation with Venom. Morbius and Venom as supervillains or antiheroes share a lot in common. For example, they're both afflicted with ravenous appetites that usually compel them to spill blood, they both struggle to find an equilibrium in their duality and they are both literal monsters.

From a storytelling perspective, this means there will likely be similar beats in the films, and it also means there's a lot t learn from the critical reception of Venom in terms of what audiences expected -- and still expect.

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Fans had long fantasized about a live-action appearance by Venom, which is why, when Sony announced Venom, it didn't take long for the hype to start building. Fans expected blood, violence and all the elements of a slasher film accompanied by the complex and tragic Eddie Brock in the style of a superhero film.

There was no reason to expect anything else; after all, Fox's Logan (directed by James Mangold) and Deadpool (directed by Tim Miller) were both R-rated and did undeniably well both critically and financially. Despite all that, the monster film fans expected was not what Sony delivered. Critics consistently stated that the film fell flat with no emotional weight, a tone that was all over the place and a character that didn't really work.


A Morbius film with the kind of juvenile humor and lack of R-rated elements in Venom will not work, proof of which can be found in the short-lived comic series of 2013, Morbius, The Living Vampire, which was cancelled after just nine issues. The series was not very well-received and critics often cited the change to Morbius' character.

He wore a hoodie, fought street crime, made bad jokes and became the reluctant guardian of Brownsville. It was a new take on the character, but new isn't always good -- especially to the often fickle comic book audience. There's no reason to think that doing something similar to the character on film will be any different.

RELATED: Sony's Morbius Movie Villain May Have Been Revealed

Morbius may not actually be a vampire, but a great adaptation will need at least a few of the elements of other great vampire films. Bram Stoker's Dracula (directed by Francis Ford Coppola) was true to the source material and presented a romantic version of the most famous vampire there is, to the praise of critics and audiences alike.

jared leto morbius

Interview with the Vampire (directed by Neil Jordan) also stayed true to the Gothic spirit of Anne Rice's novels and is still praised for its dark tone and themes. Even Blade, with effects that have not aged well and the kind of tone people thought was dark (for its time), still stands out as a great example of what we should be able to expect from a superhero vampire film like Morbius.

Morbius doesn't need to be completely devoid of humor to be good, of course. The film simply needs to respect  the character and take it far more seriously than Sony's other superhero films. Otherwise, we're likely to see yet another campy monster film, only this time, Morbius' lack of mainstream fame will cause it to fail at the box office.

Films don't have to be actively funny to be fun, especially a film based on a character like the living vampire. Let Jared Leto have the dark, dramatic villain we know he can really play.

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