Morbius, the superhero movie about some kind of vampire, with tentative ties to the MCU, had a wet run at the box office, scoring a pathetic 17% on Rotten Tomatoes.
However, the film is experiencing a strange afterlife online, in the form of the maddened enthusiasm and 100% ironic Morbius fandom. Today, the film can be seen in its entirety on Twitch, streamed live to the beat of thousands of wry fans repeating imaginary catchphrases from the film – it’s morbin time!
The mediocre film, starring Jared Leto, was memorized from the start of its theatrical release, as the internet gleefully satirized the idea of such a lukewarm film having a dedicated fandom, perhaps inspired by the base of Leto’s non-ironically and surprisingly serious fans, who are, presumably, amazed by the man’s legendary dull attempts at acting methodically.
Leto plays Michael Morbius, a disabled man cursed and empowered by experimental blood treatment; during filming, Leto allegedly pretended to be disabled off-camera, limping, as if in agony, even to take a simple bathroom break, which would be extended into extended wrestling sessions. Eventually, Leto graciously accepted a wheelchair to speed up the process.
Leto’s earnestness, in stark contrast to the film’s quality, is just another layer of the joke. But Morbius was still an absurd film, slapped down by Sony as part of their effort to retain their Spider-Man copyright, and another attempt to maintain their own cinematic universe of Spider-Man villains, in which Spider-Man n hasn’t appeared yet.
Morbius himself is an incredibly obscure comic book character, even more so than Moon Knight, and the film’s desperate attempts to tie itself up with Marvel Studios has become a running joke – the film’s hilariously sloppy post-credits scene cautiously suggests that the Marvel’s multiverse could connect the world of Morbius – maybe?
Basically, Morbius is like one of those off-brand DVDs that mimic the look and titles of popular Disney/Pixar movies, in the hope that confused grandmas might buy them for their grandkids. The opposite seems to have happened, in that the film’s “fandom” knows exactly what to expect from the film and has found a way to appreciate it – sort of.
The memes have proven to be so prolific that some fans even suspect Sony of launching some sort of underhanded marketing campaign, but I highly doubt that – that’s not how the studio wants its cinematic universe to be perceived.
At this point, the only thing that could spoil the joke would be Sony acknowledging it, via a self-aware one-liner, delivered by Leto in a spin-off or sequel.
Morbius may be a joyless film, but the ironic fandom has turned it into a comedy, which must be viewed in the presence of other “Morbheads” to be truly appreciated.