The Marvel Movies: Man-Thing (2006)
When it comes to Marvel heroes, it’s a pretty safe bet “Man-Thing” is about the most obscure character who’s received the film treatment.
“Man-Thing” is a Sci Fi Channel special — the character that, Blade excepted, is the closest thing to a horror film Sci Fi could adapt into a scary movie.
If you’re one of those thinking right now, “Man-Thing!? You mean Swamp Thing, dummy,” I can’t blame you, but there is a difference between the two. Man-Thing is virtually Marvel’s version of Swamp Thing, though, in true Marvel style, he has a little more character (at least in the comics).
So the movie goes more of the horror route, and, because this character requires either rather expensive costume and creature effects or CGI effects, we don’t see much of the monster early on. Instead, our hero is Sheriff Kyle Williams (Matthew LeNevez), the new sheriff in a rural Louisiana town — only the film was made in Australia so much of the cast is Australian, including Rachael Taylor (“Transformers”), who repeatedly calls the new sheriff “city boy” in a thick Aussie accent.
The barebones plot reeks of low-budget horror, with the new sheriff in town investigating a series of bizarre murders. Of course, he’s also getting to know the locals, most of whom don’t approve of him (though why they don’t like him is a mystery; another one of those things that only happens in the movies). I could go deeper into it, but to be honest, it’s all secondary to the action/scare scenes.
A misunderstood hero in the comics, the creature himself is here more of a villain, murdering anyone who ventures into his swamp. He looks similar to his appearance in the funnybooks — a large, mossy, slimy creature with glowing red eyes, but here has branches growing out of the back of his head that makes him look like some sort of funky swamp king.
As low-budget horror goes, the film isn’t as terrible as it could have been and includes some decent scary-movie kills as well as ludicrously entertaining backwater characters (including requisite hillbillies who become fodder for the monster). In one sequence, one of them goes out into the swamp to have a poo, and we see the entire transaction, from dropping to raising trou … and dude neglects to wipe. Plus, the creature effects are often quite passable, giving us brief but decent glimpses of the Man-Thing.
But neither is the film particularly good. The acting is predictably bad, some of the effects don’t work as well as they could have, the story is non-existent and the production values give off a vibe of a CW television series.
Next time: Fox just calls the Four…the Fantastic Four!
Previous Marvel Movie Entries
Conan the Barbarian (1982)
Conan the Destroyer (1984)
Red Sonja (1985)
Howard the Duck (1986)
The Punisher (1989)
Captain America (1990)
The Fantastic Four (1994)
Blade II (2002)
X2: X-Men United (2003)
The Punisher (2004)
Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Blade Trinity (2004)