Julien Neaves, Editor
The latest Marvel movie Morbius is being ripped to pieces by both fans and critics, with some declaring it one of the worst superhero movies ever. And last year’s much more high profile Marvel Cinematic Universe outing Eternals is currently the lowest rated MCU movie on Rotten Tomatoes at a paltry 48 per cent. Now I haven’t seen Sony’s Morbius yet, so I can’t say whether it’s poor reputation is deserved or not. But I have seen Eternals and I can tell you it’s bad rep is underserved. Now it’s not the best Marvel movie ever but it is definitely not the worst (it’s pretty decent, actually). You know what is actually the worst Marvel movie ever? It’s 2005 Sci Fi Channel TV movie Man-Thing.
The film is based on Marvel’s titular humanoid swamp monster who is often overshadowed by DC’s very similar but much more popular swamp monster Swamp Thing, despite Man-Thing premiering two months earlier (May 1971 compared to July 1971). The movie follows a Louisiana sheriff Kyle Williams (Matthew Le Nevez) investigating a series of deaths in a swamp caused by (you guessed it) Man-Thing! Williams joins forces with school teacher Teri Richards (Rachael Taylor, who would go on to way, WAY better superhero content in the Jessica Jones and the Netflix MCU-verse). There’s also a greedy land developer, sacred Native American lands, a shaman and a dogged photographer trying to snap a pic of the not-so-jolly green giant.
The movie starts off like an 80s slasher with a young couple having vigorous sex in a boat on the bayou. But apparently Man-Thing is not a fan of pre-marital sex and proceeds to murder them both in gory fashion. Sounds like a promising start, right? It’s all down in the muck after that. Now nothing is wrong with a Marvel horror movie and Man-Thing has always trudged in the waters of horror fantasy. And DC’s tragically cancelled modern Swamp Thing showed how beautifully horror and superhero fare could be mixed together. But while everything went right with that show, everything went wrong with Man-Thing.
Let’s start with the monster in the room. Man-Thing is an intriguing character and to the film’s credit (it’s only other credit after the campy opening) they do incorporate some of his comic lore. But despite his name on the title he is barely in his own movie. He just shows up, kills someone, and slinks back into the swamp. He could easily be replaced with any other generic monster without missing a beat. And the few times you see him the reasonably accurate design is mucked up by that cheap looking CGI.
So what do you have when you take Man-Thing out of Man-Thing? Wooden, soap-opera level acting, uninspired dialogue, forgettable characters, bland action, and a plot that is somehow both offensively simplistic and unnecessarily convoluted. The movie could have at least been so-bad-it’s-good like Howard the Duck or David Hasselhoff’s Nick Fury, but nah. It’s just gratingly bad. And it gave me a headache with how aggressively crappy it was.
For such an interesting comic character who has been so underutilised in popular media Man-Thing truly deserved better for his sole film outing. It is actually a good thing this piss poor movie has been mostly forgotten as that means few people have had to suffer through this dank, steaming pile. So the next time someone declares “Worst Marvel movie ever” might I suggest drawing their attention to Man-Thing.
Editor Jules’s Score: 1 out of 10
Have you seen Man-Thing? Do you think it’s the worst Marvel movie ever? And you can check out more subpar comic book content below:
Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Read more.