Morbius Ending Explained: The Living Vampire Unleashes His Ill-Defined Superpowers

Spoiler Warning: The below article contains spoilers about "Morbius" as well as bat facts. 

Did you know vampire bats (Desmodus rotundus) can sometimes consume their own weight in blood in a single night? Also, because they only weigh about two ounces (they only have a wingspan of seven inches), a vampire bat needs to feed every 48 hours, or it will starve. Luckily, colonies of bats (sometimes called cauldrons of bats) are generous, and sometimes bats will regurgitate blood for another bat to consume in exchange for grooming favors. Vampire bats do not attack humans, and will typically not feed on animals that are awake and walking around. They fly out at night and use their keen senses to find a cow, slice open a small opening in the animal's skin, and lick up enough blood to fill up. Vampire bats are typically found as far north as Mexico, as far south as Chile and Argentina, and as far east as Uruguay. They are also found on the island of Trinidad. Vampire bats typically live about nine years!

The above bat facts, compliments NatGeo Kids, are far more interesting and easier to absorb than the muddled bat powers in Daniel Espinosa's "Morbius," a film about a man who injects himself with vampire bat DNA and becomes a batman. Understanding the ending of "Morbius" will involve wrapping one's head around Michael Morbius' superpowers, and taking a brief crash course in the history of the character. Let's take a look at Morbius, the Living Vampire. 

Morbius power

Many of Morbius' powers appear to have been invented for this new film, as the character — who first appeared in a Spider-Man comic in October of 1971 — originally had an expected gamut of vampire-related superpowers: Increased strength and speed, rapid healing (although he can't grow back limbs), echolocation abilities, and vague hypnosis powers. Morbius was called the Living Vampire as he became a vampire by DNA tinkering and not by an unholy, supernatural curse. As such, he has no traditional supernatural powers or weaknesses. A stake through the heart would likely kill Morbius, but for the usual reasons. Crosses, garlic, holy water, mirrors, and the like are not part of Morbius' mythology. Notable: When Morbius bites someone, they die of a bite wound and a loss of blood. As there is no vampire curse, his victims merely die. 

In "Morbius," Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) is suffering from a rare and unnamed chronic blood condition that forces him to require multiple transfusions a day. He grows up to be a Nobel Prize-winning doctor — in the film, it's called the Noble Prize — searching for a cure. He finally finds a cure in a serum extracted from the bodies of vampire bats, leading him to the above-mentioned injection. He instantly takes on bat qualities, including a feral nature, a monstrous face, and a thirst for blood. He also acquires superhuman agility and echolocation like in the comics that inspired the character. 

At first, Morbius becomes more bat-like the longer he goes without blood, and becomes Jared Leto again after feeding. As the film continues, he seems to learn how to switch back and forth from vampire to human at will. He also seems to gain a strange wind-driven power that allows him to be swept up on air currents, although it is never explained if this is because of a decrease in body weight, or some other ability bats naturally have. Also, his echolocation powers are something! He can stand on a rooftop and pick out a single voice, and even a heartbeat, within the whole of New York City. 


For much of the film, Morbius feeds on a blue, milky, artificial blood that he invented himself, but eventually finds that he can stave off vampire moments — or become more powerful, depending on the scene — if he drinks the real stuff. It's never explained why Morbius craves human blood and not the blood of other animals; vampire bats are typically not discerning. It's never established that Morbius has any kind of extra protection from his vampire powers; he's not bulletproof as far as we know, and his healing abilities are never displayed à la Wolverine.

There was a scene in "Batman Begins" wherein that film's batman has invented a widget that summons bats. These devices are indeed real, although typically lure bats who already live in the area, and don't attract colonies of thousands from the middle of the city. Morbius seems to have also developed an organic version of one of these devices.

During the climax of "Morbius," the title vampire must face off against a childhood friend named Milo (Matt Smith) who has also injected himself with vampire bat DNA and learned to very much enjoy having vampire powers. Milo also discovers he takes great pleasure in killing people. In the final fight of living vampire vs. living vampire, the two CGI-faced creatures wail on each other with tooth and claw, fighting for dominance. Morbius has the upper hand, however, when he summons his local colony, using their wing-induced jet stream to fly around. It's difficult to make out much of the final climax — the editing is so bad as to obscure the action — but Morbius ultimately wins the day. He injects Milo with a special bat poison that is also lethal to humans. It seems to me that any sort of ordinary poison would have worked just as well; bats do not have special immunity to poison.

Oh yes, and Morbius' partner, Dr. Martine Bancroft (Adria Arjuna) is attacked during the climax and she is left to die. Morbius, in order to gain enough power to fight Milo, drinks her blood, ending her life. There is a moment, however, when she accidentally also swallows a drop of his blood, leading to her resurrection later in the film. So it seems that anyone who drinks Morbius' own bat-altered blood will also take on bat abilities. This is a very odd conceit as one's DNA is not altered by what they ingest, even according to the lore of the film. 

Defining power

So the ending cannot truly be explained other than to describe what happened on the screen. Morbius is let out into the world, still infused with vampire powers, left to explore his new identity (and we'll leave the film's weak queer undertones for another day). 

Ill-defined superpowers, however, are de rigueur for many superhero films, with some characters given a bouillabaisse of abilities that have no rhyme or reason. I, for instance, couldn't rightly tell you Thor's specific abilities. He can summon lightning using his magical hammer, seems to be invulnerable to physical harm ... to a degree. He can use his hammer to fling his own body great distance, giving him the illusion of flight. He's strong, but not so strong that he can't be restrained by ropes or cuffs. He's ostensibly a god — or at least a long-lived interdimensional alien who thinks he's a god — but ages and can indeed die. He also needs to work out to retain his strength, as he loses his physique in "Avengers: Endgame." So he's pretty much just a long-lived strong human with the learned ability to use a magical hammer? That seems so paltry. 

Heck, even Superman seems to have a random assortment of powers at times. In "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace," he emits blue eye lasers that automatically rebuilt the Great Wall, something he hadn't done before and hasn't done since. As the "Star Wars" saga grinds endlessly on, the true nature of The Force is increasingly expanded, and includes psychokinesis, prognostication, increased agility and speed, brainwashing and hypnosis, physical healing, lightning fingers ... you name it. 

"Star Wars" has luckily given nitpickers like me a handy explanation for all ill-defined superpowers across all media: Morbius has his powers because it is merely the Will of the Force.