After playing the Joker in 2016’s ill-fated Suicide Squad and last year’s Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Jared Leto plays another comic-book character called Morbius in the movie of the same name. Directed by Daniel Espinosa and written by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless, the film is part of Sony’s own universe populated by Spider-Man characters.
Apart from Leto, the movie also stars Matt Smith, Adria Arjona, Jared Harris, Al Madrigal, and Tyrese Gibson. Morbius is a fascinating characters, at least as far as the lore goes, and has undergone a journey from being a downright supervillain to a flawed antihero.
Just who exactly is Morbius?
Also called Morbius, the Living Vampire, the character was created by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane, and first appeared in 1971’s The Amazing Spider-Man #101. He became a vampire due to a failed scientific experiment rather than magic.
In his early days, he was one of Spider-Man’s horror-based villains. He also later became a major villain of vampire hunter Blade, and was the reason the Daywalker became a vampire after he was bitten by Morbius.
Morbius’ true identity is of an award-winning biochemist called Dr Michael Morbius, who suffers from a rare blood disease and tries his hand at an experimental treatment. It goes terribly wrong and he gets pseudo-vampiric abilities and the craving for human blood. He tries to use vampire bat DNA, and becomes a monstrous creature of the night.
Like Dracula and other vampires in pop culture, Morbius gets superhuman strength, healing powers and even flight ability. Even after turning into a human-monster hybrid, he continues to find ways to cure his condition, while also operating as a sometime-vigilante, sometime-supervillain.
The character is a compelling, tragic hero in the sense that he feels guilty for feeding on innocents, and is yet unable to stop the vicious cycle. Meanwhile, Morbius, the movie, is not at all a hit with critics. It has a score of only 16 per cent on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes after 45 reviews.