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Marvel Movie Misfires

This May, "Avengers: Age of Ultron" hits the big screen in what may be the most anticipated superhero movie of all time. However the Marvel film universe wasn't always so cinematic and successful. Most people will recall Lou Ferrigno bathed in green paint in the classic '70s television series "The Incredible Hulk". But Marvel has done far worse things to members in its universe past, and it's time to dig deeper than "Daredevil" and "Ghost Rider."

Spider-Man

From 1977-1979, CBS aired a live action Spider-Man series featuring one of the von Trapp kids from "The Sound of Music" as Peter Parker. The series launched with a movie pilot, then continued in a weekly episodic format. Lots of camera tricks, lots of swinging around on white ropes. Take a look at this teaser for a made-for-television movie where Spidey has to jump out of a helicopter and defuse a bomb apparently made of paper mache.

Dr. Strange

After the season two premiere of "The Amazing Spider-Man," CBS aired the made-for-television movie "Dr. Strange." Originally serving as a pilot for a full blown series, the network opted to pass on it (probably a wise decision). And yes; that is Lucille Bluth from "Arrested Development."

Captain America

In 1979, CBS continued its Marvel relationship with two made-for-television Captain America movies. Cap chases down a dune buggy on foot, uses his shield to protect himself from attack dogs, and does stunts on his motorcycle for no good reason. Christopher Lee shows up as the villain in "Captain America II: Death Too Soon"  but can't save the movie, even with lines like "Who in the world would think of looking for the famous terrorist Miguel inside an American penitentiary?"

1990 saw a straight-to-video "Captain America" movie starring Matt Salinger, son of J.D. Salinger (think back to high school lit class), as our hero. The old man from "A Christmas Story," Darren McGavin, even makes an appearance as a war general.

Fantastic Four

Perhaps the most infamous movie to be made but never be released is Roger Corman's 1994 "Fantastic Four." It's debatable whether this film was made to retain rights, and if it was, if the cast and crew were aware of it. A documentary about the movie called "DOOMED! The Untold Story of Roger Corman's 'The Fantastic Four'" is slated for release soon.

Nick Fury

David Hasselhoff. Watcher of bays. Lover of cheeseburgers.  Driver of robot cars voiced by Mr. Feeney. Marvel's Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD? That's right! Before Sam Jackson picked up the role, Hasselhoff donned Fury's signature eye patch for a 1998 made-for-tv movie which aired on FOX. You know it's a quality film when W-4 forms and tax withholding are part of the non-stop action.

Thankfully Marvel has hit its stride in more recent years arguably starting with 2008's "Iron Man," the first movie to set up for the first Avengers installment. The 2012 multi-movie crossover had the highest grossing opening weekend of all time, surpassing the previous record holder (2011's "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2") by nearly $40 million. And "Avengers: Age of Ultron" is projected to have an even bigger opening weekend. They've come a long way since the days of CBS and VHS, although part of me would really like a nod to this forgotten era. We will just have to wait to see if The Hoff makes a cameo. (Spoiler: Nope.)

 

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Tim Van Tassel

June 14, 2015
Excellent list! I'd love to marathon the Roger Corman FF documentary, the 2 mediocre FF movies, and the new one. An additionally appropriate stain to this hilariously deplorable list could be the 1989 version of The Punisher- nothing says Italian-American vigilante like a blonde Russian leading man!

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