Morbius hit theaters on April 1, another entry in to Sony’s Spider-Man Universe (SSO). Venom (starring Tom Hardy), its gonzo sequel Venom: Let There Be Carnage, and now Morbius have all been financial successes with an estimated combined box office total just north of $1 billion. With Kraven the Hunter (starring Aaron Taylor Johnson) and Madam Web (starring dakota johnson) in development, expect more CGI snooze-fests from Sony despite mass critical disapproval, because audiences love them. So, Sony gives them what they want: Easter eggs, lots of Easter eggs.
These are the nine best Easter eggs in Sony Picture’s Morbius, starring Jared Leto.
Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for Morbius.
X-Men: The X-Mansion
Early in the film, at a boutique children’s hospital in Greece, a 10-year-old Michael Morbius (Charlie Shotwell), suffering from a rare blood disease, meets Lucien (Joseph Esson), whom he forcibly renames Milo. The two become fast friends, bonding over their fictional blood curses and collective desires to be “normal.” One day, when Milo-Lucien suddenly goes into cardiac arrest, kid Morbius springs into action, MacGuyver style, saving his surrogate brother’s life with the springy innards of a ballpoint pen. Believing Morbius gifted rather than reckless and just getting lucky with the whole life-saving thing, mentor and father figure Dr. Emil Nicholas sends young Michael to a school for gifted children in New York. This reference is a not-so-subtle nod to Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters from the X-Men, which is illogical and nonsensical. Is Morbius a mutant? Are people with rare mutant blood diseases?
The Daily Bugle
The Daily Bugle appears in Morbius multiple times with an eerily similar masthead to the version depicted in director Sam Raimi‘s original Spiderman trilogy. Headlines reference the Black Cat (recently played by Felicity Jones in Sony’s Amazing Spider-Man 2), the Chameleon (slated to appear in Kraven the Hunter), and a nod to the Rhino (last seen in Amazing Spider-Man 2, played by Paul Giamatti). Morbius practically begs the audience to believe that it’s Spider-Man related but which film franchise is anyone’s guess. The Daily Buglea tabloid newspaper prominent within the Marvel Comics mythos, specifically Spider-Man, is owned by J. Jonah Jameson (played by JK Simmons in both the Raimi-verse and the MCU). Another on-brand slow play by Sony’s Spider-Man Universe, who is serendipitously winging it as they go.
In the film, Morbius is the “wunderkind” director of Horizon Labs, where he works with his trusted colleague and love interest, Martine Bancroft (played by Adria Arjona). In Marvel’s (Earth-616), Horizon manufactures the Marvel universe’s most advanced tech, including the Cryo Cube 3000 (capable of removing arachnid powers of Spider-Man) and anti-vampire gear designed to combat Dracula-level threats. Peter Parker uses Horizon’s facilities to assemble his Spidey Stealth Suit (self-explanatory) and the Spider-Armor MK III (a suit explicitly designed to combat the Sinister Six). Still, this iteration lacks the diabolical aplomb of an Oscorp Corp or a Roxxon, but remember, Sony is mining a much smaller well of Marvel IP, so it is what it is. The Horizon Labs logo in Morbius is comic-accurate if that helps.
Kraven the Hunter: Russian Card Player
Morbius and Lucien stay life-long friends into adulthood, but time hasn’t been kind to Milo (played by Doctor Who‘s Matt Smith). Bitter and angry at the world, Milo’s feckless, reckless behavior gets him into hot water with a mysterious “Russian man” he double-crossed during a high-stakes underground card game. That “Russian” is assumedly Sergei Kravinoff, the deranged big game hunter who consistently seeks to destroy Spider-Man to prove that he is the greatest hunter in the world. JC Chandorthe filmmaker behind A24’s A Most Violent Year and Netflix’s Triple Frontiers, direct Taylor-Johnson along with Christopher Abbot, Alessandro Nivola, Russell Croweand Ariana DeBose in this beefy stand-alone Spider-Man spin-off. “Insiders” whisper that the dailies from Taylor-Johnson’s upcoming action film Bullet Train starring brad pitt were so impressive that the studio jumped to make him an offer. Here’s hoping it’s better than Morbus. Hey, Easter eggs are fun.
Nosferatu: “The Murnau”
In “Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” the titular Count travels to England in the bowels of a ship and feasts on its crew to survive, which happens in “Amazing Spider-Man #101” (Morbius’ first comic appearance) and also in Morbius, but not as well written. Unable to test his illegal cure in America, Morbius and Bancroft charter a private ship with a squad of armed mercenaries and head for international waters with his equipment. The cure works, causing Morbius to vamp out, savagely murdering the vessel’s occupants, without an incapacitated Bancroft. The ship’s name is the Murnau — a reference to director F.W. Murnau‘s 1922 movie Nosferatuthe vampire movie that started it all.
Venom: “That Thing in San Francisco” & “I Am Venom”
Tom Hardy‘s Venom was a runaway success for the SSU, a bona fide star vehicle poised for a long and fruitful cinematic career if Sony plays its cards right — which is to hand it all over to Kevin Feige. Eventually, it’ll happen, but until then, accept these shameless plugs of past and future films from a rudderless franchise. Tea Venom connection is the equivalent of force-feeding audiences with Marvel IP gruel to keep the feverish appetites of the fandom at bay. Do the Easter eggs indicate that Hardy’s Venom, Leto’s Morbius, and Taylor-Johnson’s Kraven reside in the same cinematic universe? Morbius manager Daniel Espinosa confirm “yes,” but not if it’s in Andrew Garfield‘s Mark Webb universe gold Tobey Maguire‘s original Sam Raimi universe or a strange variant of the two? Probably, but the plot’s such an absolute mess that it’s too hard to say. Much of the origin story dynamics of Morbius, especially the scenes post-vampire transformation, fell blatantly copied from Raimi’s original outings. Still, then again, almost all comic book movie origin stories do.
The Incredible Hulk: “You don’t want to see me when I’m hungry.”
After apprehending Morbius, FBI agents Stroud (played by Tyrese Gibsonwho has a robot arm, randomly at the end) and Rodriquez (Al Madrigal) question him on his involvement in a string of murders. But when a vampiric hunger pang strikes, the good Doctor declares, “You don’t want to see me when I’m hungry,” a play on the line spoken by Dr. Bruce Banner (played by Bill Bixby) in 1978s The Incredible Hulk television also starring Lou Ferrigno. Akin to the trials and tribulations of the titular Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Morbius and Banner struggle with a similar inner turmoil comprehended of uncontrollable anger, aggression, and routinely destructive behavior. Also, they’re both doctors in the Marvel Comics universe, which satisfies another Easter egg requirement.
Martine Bancroft (Vampire)
In the comics, Martine Bancroft was Morbius’ fiancée and assisted in his experiment to cure his blood disease, which ultimately backfired, turning him into the Living Vampire (bummer). While searching for another cure to reverse his pseudo-vampirism, Bancroft becomes a Living Vampire in his own right (major bummer). In Morbius‘comatose climax, Lucien-Milo goes full Kiefer Sutherland in The Lost Boys and kidnaps Martine to bait Michael into a fight to the death before mortally wounding her. Unable to save her life, a single drop of Morbius’ blood enters her orally, and supposedly with her consent, Morbius drains her blood as a late-stage one-up before his battle with Milo. After the CGI slugfest, Martine’s eyes reopen, now a blood-red hue, apparently making Bancroft the newest living vampire entry in Sony’s constantly expanding insular Spider-Man Universe of (Spider-Man only) Marvel Characters. So, expect sequel prospects and Bancroft’s inevitable return because, in the comics, she becomes downright evil, gets possessed by demons, and there’s no way Sony’s going to botch that, right?
Vulture & The Sinister Six
Morbius‘ post-credits scene is an after-market add-on and an annoyingly ill-conceived and poorly executed attempt at franchise world-building. Sony has been trying to launch a Sinister Six movie since The Amazing Spider-Man 2‘s post-credits scene. And the last-minute inclusion of Michael Keaton‘s Adrian Toomes ripped from the MCU (post-Spider-Man: No Way Home) is thematically murky and uninspired, but hints at Sony’s devotion to Spidey’s franchising future.
After the events of No Way HomeToomes arrives in the same universe as Morbius and Venom. But because the super villain doesn’t exist in the Sony universe, he’s swiftly released back into the wild. In the second post-credits scene, Toomes requests a meet-and-greet with Morbius and his silky rings. In the middle of nowhere and on a stretch of abandoned highway, Vulture arrives clad in a new and improved flight suit and offers the Living Vampire a chance to join his new “team,” Nick Fury style, only not cool. Whether Vulture’s new team will consist of “anti-heroes” instead of full-blown super villains has yet to be seen. What’s most perplexing is how poorly produced these post-credit scenes are compared to the finished feature film product, cheapening an already lackluster film with what’s essentially an afterthought wrapped in a car commercial.
How Does ‘Morbius’ Connect To the MCU and Spider-Man?
About The Author