Warning; this article will discuss the end of Morbius, so if you’re as sensitive to spoilers as a vampire is to garlic, then be gone from this place. Morbius is not a good movie. You don’t need me to tell you that. You’ve seen it (or at least I hope you have if you’re reading this). As such, critics have spent the week exsanguinating the monster movie until all that’s left is a dried-up husk of cinematic gristle.
From the editing to the score, and the acting to the story, Morbius is less of a film and more of a migraine printed on celluloid. Still, I‘m not here to beat the offal of that particular dead horse. No, I’m here to discuss the critical misstep I believe Sony – the studio behind this mess – is making with the action movie’s post-credit scene.
For those of you who nodded off before the film ended or fled the theatre in horror, let me remind you how Morbius ends. The film climaxes with the sky splitting open, the purple energy we saw in No Way Home’s ending spilling into the SPUMC, and Adrian Toomes, aka The Vulture (Michael Keaton), teleporting into a jail cell.
Rather than screaming at the fact he’s been stranded in a new universe – with no hope of returning to the family that motivated his turn to villainy in the first place – Adrian’s rather chill about the whole thing. As Adrian Toomes doesn’t exist in the SPUMC, he’s quickly released from prison. After the credits have rolled, we then see Toomes (somehow back in his Vulture wingsuit) meeting up with Morbius, where he explains he’s “thinking of putting a team together” so they can “do some good.”
I’ll be honest I thought the Venom post-credit sting was lazy, but my, oh, my Morbius makes the end of Venom look livelier than Sonic the Hedgehog on amphetamines. There’s no real effort put into showing how Toomes feels about being shunted into a universe where his family no longer exists, they don’t explain where he gets a perfect replica of his wings, nor do they say how he contacted Morbius or why he’d want to team up with him.
Normally I’d forgive these minor nitpicks, but in the case of Morbius, it left a sour taste in my mouth. Why? Well, it’s such a transparent attempt to get to the inevitable Sinister Six team-up movie that Sony’s been desperate to make ever since Amazing Spider-Man 2.
It reminds me so much of the big mistake Warner Bros made with the DCEU. The studio had put out one movie, Man of Steel, in its shared universe before deciding to do the team-up film Batman v Superman. The prevailing thought was that the studio saw the money Marvel was making with its recently released Avengers film and wanted a slice of that delicious money pie.
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Unfortunately, Batman v Superman (which introduced most of the Justice League) was about as well-received as a fart in a lift, partly because it had to dedicate part of its already bloated run time to introducing the rest of the league. Not only that, it only gave us rough sketches of half the characters, so the next film, Justice League, had to introduce them all over again anyway, completely negating the point of including them in Batman v Superman.
You can see Sony making the same mistake; the studio is rushing to introduce characters so it can get to the team-up, hoping it’ll bring in an Avengers sized box office. Both Warners and Sony forgot, though, that Marvel didn’t go straight from Iron Man to the Avengers assembling. The studio took its time, hammered out the kinks in its shared universe, and developed a tone and setting that audiences could engage with.
On the other hand, Sony is basically using the multiverse as a band-aid to make up for its lack of patience, dropping characters into its cinematic universe like a kid trading action figures with nary a care for worldbuilding or crafting a coherent story. At least Warner’s superhero universe made sense without having to beg, borrow, and steal characters from the MCU.
The most egregious thing is that if Sony did take its time and properly work on a Sinister Six movie, it could actually be good. The team is one of the Marvel comics universe’s most iconic gang of villains, and a film that focussed on them could definitely work even if they’re not battling Spider-Man.
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Comic writer Dan Slott, for example, managed to tell a few stories that were almost entirely from the Six’s perspective in the run-up to his Ends of the Earth storyline. However, these stories worked because they expanded on what had already been established in previous tales and comics. If Sony wants to push on with its Sinister Six film, it needs to be built on a solid foundation, not haphazardly held together with multiversal scotch tape and cobwebs.
Now it’s worth saying that Sony is working on a stand-alone Kraven movie – who’ll presumably join the Six – so it could be that, outside of Vulture, they plan on copying Marvel’s homework and are doing separate movies for each member before assembling them in one big team-up movie. Our only concern now, though, is that after the seven-car pileup that was Morbius does anyone have any faith in this villain led universe?
If you’re a fan of Morbius and the Sinister Six check out our ranking of Spider-Man’s villains.