Saturday, May 7, 2011

Not So Marvel-ous: Man-Thing (2005)

Marvel is trying to hide it's man-thing from us!  Marvel Studios is behind a whole slew of movies that have been making money for them.  Obviously, Iron Man and Iron Man 2 made a good chunk of change for them. With Thor out today (see my Immediate Response) and Captain America coming out, I thought it would be fun to look at why they made this change.  Aside from their less-successful efforts like Ang Lee's The Hulk, they sold their film licenses to a number of film companies.  Case in point: 2005's Man-Thing.  This obscure character was big in the '70s and...hasn't done much since.  The guy has gotten a little bit of a revival this year, but he hasn't had an actual comic book series since 1998.  The creature is a non-living, barely-sentient blob of muck, so he makes for a good monster.  Don't expect a romance, folks!  Zip up your fly, lest you accidentally reveal your...
The film begins with some teens partying in the swamp.  Yeah, you know where this is going.  Blah blah blah 'let's step away' blah blah blah required boob shot and death.  Yea.  A new Sheriff comes into town and immediately gets dragged into the middle of a long feud between some environmentalists and a guy building an oil platform.  Yes, the swamp is a great place to build million-dollar equipment that will be damaged by water.  A romance begins to brew between the Sheriff and a local gal.  They have nothing in common, but they are the two get to it, you two!  In another sub-plot, we get a guy who has been trying to document evidence of a killer in the Swamp.  You know what that amounts to?  Pretty much nothing.  There's another sub-plot going in involving a man in the Swamp that they think is behind the recent disappearances.  The characters from yet another sub-plot (some Swamp hunters) wander around the Swamp until they get killed.  That's what you get for taking a dump in front of Man-Thing!
Basically, the whole middle portion involves the Sheriff looking into the disappearances.  Other than that, we just get random banter and this cool shot of the creature.  We don't get more of that...why?!?
Finally, everything comes to a head.  Man-Thing kills some more people, although his aim is a bit off.  Why are you killing the guy looking into evidence of you.  Is there a point?  Your real target is the guy building an oil platform in your yard.  Good job killing the Deputy too, since he was, not building an oil platform in your yard!  We have a final face-off between the guy building the platform, the sheriff and the Indian hiding out in the Swamp.  You see, the guy sold the land to the bad guy and feels bad about it.  Man-Thing shows up in all of his CG glory and totally looks like Swamp Thing.  I mean, you're the character that he was ripping off in the first place- show some pride!  He kills the bad guy and gets blown up, only to regenerate and leave.  Back to the Shire, huh?  All's well that Ends well.  Well, unless you're one of those dead people or people that were depending on the platform for a job.  Sucks to be you, I guess.
Should I have expected anything better?  The plot of this movie is basic and uninspired.  I mean, let's just run down the Cliche List here.  Rash of disappearances?  Check.  Small town full of wacky and/or angry people?  Check.  'New in town' Sheriff?  Check.  Guy thrown through a door by a giant tree branch.  Okay, that part is a bit different.  To be quite honest, this is a generic horror film that spends 85 minutes building up to Man-Thing showing up.  To be fair, Man-Thing stories are never that nuanced to begin with.  The character never talks and really has no human side.  I guess he's really only usable as an unspeaking, vaguely-defined horror villain.  It would be nice to see him in a film that isn't a just cliche though.  Of course, I'm asking for that in relation to a Sci-Fi Channel (pre-name change) film, so who's the dumb one here?  I'll leave you with this glimpse of the real (drawn) Man-Thing for comparison...
Next up, I celebrate Mother's Day with a film about, well, a mother.  The Bad Seed proves to be even badder!  Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. I kind of enjoyed Man-Thing. I wasn't expecting ANYTHING at all though. LOL. I guess because I was NEVER expecting to see a Man-Thing movie. It was good popcorn eating filler for me.
    Unless He was showing up to act as a mystical menace, so many of his comics were kind of low budget B-Movie quality as well. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Man-Thing. Ever since his Marvel Tales team-up with Spiderman. I was just excited to see him on the screen. There is a Kyle Hotz limited series that is a preview to the movie that is okay. Hotz's art is superb in it.