Marvel Movie Madness! Part 19: Man-Thing

A long, hard look at Marvel's Man-Thing.

by | June 21, 2011 | Comments

Enter Marvel Movie Madness, wherein Rotten Tomatoes watches all of the significant Marvel movies ever made. Full Marvel Movie Madness list here. Tune in! We give you our thoughts, and you give us yours.


Part 19: Man-Thing (2005, 20% @ 5 reviews)

Directed by Brett Leonard, starring Alex O’Loughlin, Rachael Taylor, Matthew Le Nevez, Imogen Bailey

Matt: This week of the Marvel Movie Madness contains the movies we’re calling “the weird crap” – Man-Thing, Red Sonja, and Howard the Duck. We’ve seen some good and bad films get made out of Marvel properties, but I think we can all agree that the movies this week are based on some of the lesser-known titles, and all three of them are pretty ugly.

Today, we’re focusing on Man-Thing. Based on a long-running, semi regular title, Man-Thing is a shambling swamp monster that’s basically Marvel’s version of Swamp Thing (the creators of both characters came up with them around the same time). Man-Thing had a brief monthly run, but was then cut to a quarterly or semi-annual run as double-sized issues. And to the delight of everyone’s inner 12-year-old, they were called “Giant-Size Man-Thing.”

Being able to make jokes about the title is the most interesting thing about this movie, because it’s really awful. It’s supposed to be set in Louisiana, but the movie was shot in Australia, and there’s not a single square foot of the land down under that looks anything like Louisiana swampland (and the Spanish moss hanging from every branch isn’t really fooling anybody). The story is about the new sheriff of Bywater, Lousiana, who is trying to solve the mystery of a spate of disappearances, connected to the local oil-drilling company. And there’s something about a shambling swamp monster. But honestly, I didn’t care about this film at all. The script is poorly written, the acting isn’t very good, and worst of all, the movie is flat out boring. Yes, something is killing the locals, but you don’t really care about any of them. The dialogue sounds like cliches from other movies, and the movie just felt cheap. It did get an international theatrical release, and had been shown in the US as a “Sci-Fi Original” on the Sci-Fi (now SyFy) Channel. But honestly, this movie makes Mega-Shark vs. Giant Octopus look like a James Cameron movie.


Alex: This one was pretty much hopeless from the beginning. A low-budget creature feature designed to go straight-to-DVD? Even Howard the Duck had aspirations of being a good movie at one point. Man-Thing was indeed originally going to be shot in the deep American south but once production got relocated to Australia, everyone probably just about stopped caring. I agree, the swamp sets aren’t convincing. And the actors lurch from thick Australian to twangy American accents inside the same sentences. Director and non-actor Brett Leonard plays a pivotal secondary role, not out of narcissism but to ensure that at least somebody sounded consistent on screen.

But, hey, at least this movie showed some boobs.


Tim: Man, this one has all my favorite movie stereotypes: malevolent southern degenerates, mystical Native Americans, evil small town plutocrats, and a well-meaning sheriff from the outside, who’s about to learn of the unspeakable secrets lurking out there in the mist. I said stereotypes, because Man-Thing is decidedly short on characters (though I kind of like stars Alex O’Loughlin and Rachael Taylor — they do the best they can with their cardboard roles). Or plotting. Or thrills. Or anything that would mark this as a Marvel property. Man-Thing feels like a particularly undercooked episode of The X-Files — I was constantly waiting for Dana Scully to show up and start gathering evidence. If the political undercurrent of, say,The X-Men has evolved since the 1960s, then pity poor Man-Thing, who seems condemned to being a ham-fisted eco-parable.

More Marvel Movie Madness:

Tag Cloud

45 thriller Western Nominations FXX technology NBC adventure discovery harry potter romance History TCM Marvel See It Skip It TBS Fall TV 24 frames Winners Sci-Fi Grammys First Look science fiction Lionsgate Year in Review Nickelodeon Acorn TV Interview Comic Book Valentine's Day Set visit political drama LGBTQ justice league Spike Winter TV Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Marathons Ghostbusters OWN GLAAD HBO ratings spy thriller Animation Universal 2017 diversity unscripted cinemax period drama Tomatazos what to watch Lifetime TIFF E! Emmys Musical Spring TV Calendar A&E Musicals Pixar SundanceTV Music X-Men President Mary Tyler Moore Toys Mindy Kaling Pop Star Wars Summer docudrama travel sitcom Reality Martial Arts Superheroes CNN crime drama RT History Britbox ABC Family TCA 2017 USA Network 21st Century Fox ITV Disney Channel BET BBC The CW PaleyFest Podcast VH1 singing competition 2015 Box Office Comedy Central FX Masterpiece Tumblr Sundance Holidays Election Red Carpet Cartoon Network based on movie Warner Bros. Freeform Starz MTV biography IFC Films Dark Horse Comics Paramount TV dceu Sundance Now Amazon cults Fox News Hulu aliens E3 Kids & Family Video Games serial killer sports binge social media Esquire FOX NYCC boxoffice DirecTV Pirates DC streaming service SDCC TV Land Lucasfilm 007 CBS All Access composers CW Seed MSNBC politics Paramount Network Crackle supernatural crime thriller Schedule psycho Creative Arts Emmys Syfy talk show Opinion Bravo medical drama IFC TLC BBC America Adult Swim Watching Series El Rey Trivia AMC Photos Teen GoT golden globes TCA transformers vampires 20th Century Fox Sony Pictures Awards CMT Netflix CBS USA Fantasy Oscars The Arrangement Comedy zombie TruTV cats Ellie Kemper Biopics ABC Rom-Com comiccon Star Trek 2016 Infographic dramedy Character Guide Best and Worst Action dc GIFs Trailer crime YA PBS Sneak Peek American Society of Cinematographers Super Bowl Country Writers Guild of America Countdown APB cops Showtime VICE Cosplay DC Comics TNT Food Network war Rock Extras Horror Reality Competition Mystery police drama DC Universe ESPN Drama Logo WGN Disney Thanksgiving cooking Nat Geo Premiere Dates Rocky Certified Fresh historical drama Christmas Polls and Games