This article may include minor spoilers for Morbius.
While some Marvel fans had already called for Sony to give their claim on Spider-Man up and allow Disney to take the character and all that comes with him back under the Marvel Studios wing, the release of Morbius does not seem likely to change minds. Actually, it could well add more voices to that call after the film managed to drag itself to a pitiful 20% critics approval on Rotten Tomatoes, which is worse than Sony’s two Venom movies, which fared slightly better with 30% and 57% for Venom and Venom: Let There Be Carnage respectively. While both Venom movies were hits at the box office despite the ratings, Morbius has a huge mountain to climb when it is released on the unfortunate date of April Fools Day.
Morbius has not had an easy time making it to the big screen, with numerous delays caused by the Covid pandemic. From early reactions, it is not looking as though the wait has been worth it and will put some serious doubt on the world Sony is trying to build around its secondary Spider-Man villains. While the studio may have hoped that the hype of Spider-Man: No Way Home and the MCU’s multiverse would mean a significant surge in interest in Morbius, they may be heading for some disappointment.
While Venom proved to be more popular with audiences than critics, a 20% rating is nothing short of a disastrous start to the film’s arrival. Morbius did not seem to be the most eagerly awaited Marvel movie to have been produced at any point, and when rumors started to circulate that all references to Spider-Man that were seen in the trailers had been removed from the movie, there did not seem to be any sign of that changing. Additionally, leaked post-credit scenes featuring a convoluted arrival of Spider-Man: Homecoming villain The Vultureand a subsequent alliance with Morbius, have not gone down too well either, making it almost certain that the film is going to struggle to gain the kind of foothold Sony would have liked.
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While there is still a chance of Morbius defying expectation this weekend and producing another big hit for Sony, if things go as expected, it is another sign that what the studio is doing around their chunk of the Marvel pie is just not to the taste of the critics or a growing portion of the moviegoing public. With Kraven the Hunter already filmingSony needs to work out what has seemingly gone wrong with Morbius and how they can fix it quickly for their future Spider-Man Universe movies.
One big issue has arisen from the inclusion of Adrian “Vulture” Toomes, which seems to have been added to the movie in a very non-organic way. His inclusion at all in the film just serves to give credit to the belief that Sony is going to start relying too much on the popularity of the MCU to pull them through when it comes to their Spider-Man characters. They are setting up a series of individual villain movies that will culminate in a face-off with “a Spider-Man” in a Sinister Six battle. Whether they have enough in the tank to make it that far is a question that is only now starting to become more apparent.
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