Morbius was a criticallyreviled film on release but what changes did it make from the original Morbius Marvel Comics run?
Say what fans and critics and internet trolls that pretend to be fans will about Morbius but there are a number of ways in which it stayed true to the source material from Marvel Comics. Dr Michael Morbius may have flopped in the cinemas and in the hearts of most but there are places where it succeeded in following the villain/antiheros original arc from the comics. While many aspects remained true though there are a number of ways in which the comic book character had to be altered in order to fit into a bigbudget modernday film.
The Morbius origin remains shockingly similar to what happened originally in Marvel Comics. Dr. Michael Morbius a NobelPrizewinning scientist with a rare blood disease went to attempt an experiment involving vampire bat DNA and electricity on his private yacht. Unfortunately he turns himself into a living vampire and kills his best friend Emil Nikos who became a scientist with him to try and cure Morbius of his disease.
In the film the character of Emil Nikos doesnt exist. Jared Harris plays Dr. Emil Nicholas a similarly named but very different character who is more of a father figure to Morbius and Lucien who more similarly resembles the character of Emil Nikos. In the film Morbius does transform himself in an experiment on a boat and goes on a rampage but only kills shady mercenaries before escaping. Done to lighten the load from such a hefty death on his conscience the film still doesnt shy away from showing Morbius feeling guilt over those he has killed.
Hunger or Loxias Crown is a Marvel Comics villain who was a frequent adversary of SpiderMan Blade and Morbius himself. Matt Smiths character Lucien appears to be an adaption of Hunger who Smith was originally announced to be playing. Changes were made to the character however making him a character more similar to Morbius himself.
While many have actually praised Matt Smith and his performance in the film the changes to Hunger are significant. In the comics Hunger was originally a HYDRA agent with dark forcemanipulating armor. Eventually he was drained by Morbius and became another living vampire but the film skips out much of the original run he had with HYDRA as well as his period living in the sewers of New York City.
Another notable change to Morbius is his singular relationship with bats in the film. In the comics Morbius has no power to control bats but this was added for the film in a number of scenes as a significant aspect of his powers. In the film Lucien has no similar power and the bats in the lab actually avoid him completely. There was no given explanation for this the likeliest scenario is that since Morbius was the only living vampire created by the initial genetic process he is the only one the bats will listen to.
Another major aspect of Morbiuss power set is that he does not seem to turn his victims into vampires after draining them in the film. Not only is this an important part of his powers in the comics but it is also the very way in which Hunger was created as a villain. Instead the film avoids the nature of what happens to most of his victims with it often not being clear whether he has drained all of their blood until the end when love interest Dr. Martine Bancroft is revived with her own vampiric powers. The film hasnt thus far explained why only some of his victims turn but hopefully if there is any attempt at a sequel this will be further explored.
There is plenty of dialogue used throughout the film. But a certain type of dialogue is missing and perhaps it is for the best that it wasnt included. In his original comic run especially Morbius used dialogue akin to old vampire movies even the original Dracula book such as the excerpt below from one of his first comic book appearances The night! Only then can I bear the thought of what I am. Daylight saps me of my will dead mens faces glower at me Lifeless fingers point rasping voices say Jaccuse!
It isnt necessarily a problem to be missing out on this type of dialogue in the film but it definitely is a change from the comics. This is another point that was a particularly necessary change. The comicbook Morbius costume included a highneck a Vneck and red wings that made for a particularly unique look. While Jared Leto thus far has not worn anything similar it isnt impossible we will see something akin to this look in the future.
The Morbius look in the film is much more understated usually sporting a hoodie and slightly less pale skin than the comic character who doesnt transform into a superripped dude when hes had the appropriate amount of blood that day. Nevertheless whether Morbius was a great film or not there were both positive and potentially negative changes made from his original run in Marvel Comics.