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One Marvel Syfy Movie Went Places the MCU Wouldn’t Dare Go

One Marvel Syfy Movie Went Places the MCU Wouldn’t Dare Go


  • Marvel’s Man-Thing movie featured mature themes like F-bombs, sex scenes, and gruesome murders, which is a departure from family-friendly content.
  • The film, released on Syfy in 2005, showcased a dark and gritty version of the Marvel character, focusing on horror elements and body horror.
  • Despite being little-known and criticized, Man-Thing’s unique take on the Marvel property offers a refreshing look at the character, exploring themes untouched by the MCU.

F-bombs. Gruesome murders. Sex scenes. If you tried telling somebody that Marvel once made a movie with all three of these mature themes, they would either try to convince you that you’re crazy or point to 1998’s Blade being the culprit. While that surprisingly dark and gritty superhero movie starring Wesley Snipes contains every aspect listed, it debuted on the big screen and not on the Syfy channel (and by all means, that was a blessing).

Believe it or not, in between the airings of such programs that aired on the science fiction cable channel in 2005, like Battlestar Galactica, Stargate Atlantis, and Andromeda, a massively underrated Marvel character just happened to make his small screen debut — the guardian of the Nexus of All Realities. That’s right, Man-Thing. But, this was not the same swampy superhero that you would find craving sushi in Werewolf By Night. In true Syfy fashion (at the time called Sci-Fi), Man-Thing was instead a ruthless and ravenous creature looking to kill all of those who invaded his green territory.

There could very well be a reason why this officially licensed Marvel movie is seemingly unspoken these days. Going from a theatrical release to cable television should be enough of a hint, but when asked about the film, the then head of Marvel Studios Avi Arad told Wizard magazine back in 2005 that a movie like Man-Thing would never be done again. He also states that when he explores the horror genre, he can’t believe a title like this was made. Arad then elaborates by saying that because nobody was going to go to Australia (where production took place), the project was not successfully micromanaged.

While his statements do hold some merit considering the thematic ways that Man-Thing plays out on the screen, there is absolutely a novelty in seeing this kind of refreshing take on a Marvel property.

Man-Thing Leans More Towards Horror Than Marvel

The movie never stays in one space for too long and doesn’t risk harming itself by trying to make connections to other properties. Man-Thing has enough time to focus on its own world. The pace never rests but always manages to bring viewers back to the fog-filled marshland. Most importantly, it has been clarified that Man-Thing’s makeup is a combination of prosthetics and CGI. Because of this duality, the actual Marvel character hardly comes off cheap and is actually quite intimidating. Even with Arad bashing the unlucky Marvel movie, let’s take a look at the opposite — how Man-Thing (with all of its changes to the original IP) ventures into places the MCU still doesn’t dare to go.

Directed by Brett Leonard (1992’s The Lawnmower Man), this hour-and-a-half Sci-Fi Channel / Marvel collaboration starred Australian names like Matthew Le Nevez as Sheriff Kyle Williams and Rachael Taylor as schoolteacher Teri Richards. As Man-Thing’s setup revolves around an exorbitant oil tycoon ripping away the land from a small town for his own profitable reasons, the usual tropes and clichés that come with such a story should be forgiven. This includes the troubled shaman who cannot say much because what he saw was too powerful and the rich businessman having cronies who have plenty of brawn but no brains.

But in spite of all that, the movie gives Marvel fans quite a bit of a shock right at the beginning. The movie’s introduction follows a college couple who are partying out on the bayou. Striving for more intimacy, they two head further into the swamp. In a span of two minutes, there is nudity, scenes of a sexual nature, and the first on-screen (bloody) victim of Man-Thing. While this is a typical opening for a horror movie, it will definitely shock those who are used to Marvel’s more family-friendly villains.


Man-Thing Was a Movie in 2005: Was it Any Good?

Before his MCU appearance in Werewolf by Night, Man-Thing was the star of a cheap Sci-Fi Original Movie that has an interesting legacy.

Syfy Had Its Way with Man-Thing

Throughout Man-Thing, the visual of body horror is consistently used to convey the swamp’s unrelenting tirade against invading humans. Earlier on in the film, a night guard goes flying into an office wall which splatters the wall with blood (and a tree branch gouging out of his mouth). Later on, one of the cronies meets an unfortunate fate as well. Man-Thing goes ahead and sticks his body onto a tree and one of the dead man’s cheeks is visually torn from his face. Let’s not forget about the climax. The audience gets to witness the towering creature (played by actor Conan Stevens) pick up the greedy Mr. Schist and exchange the man’s blood with toxic chemicals — which makes this character also violently combust from the inside out.


Why Man-Thing Deserves His Own Big-Budget Solo Flick

An overwhelming positive reaction to Man-Thing’s appearance in Werewolf By Night proves that he deserves his own movie.

As you can see, the Sci-Fi Channel certainly had its way with the comic book property that Kevin Fiege or anyone else in charge at Disney would never allow these days. The superhero was conveniently turned into a supernatural monstrosity that had to be stopped. Even though everything about 2005’s Man-Thing was a cookie-cutter feature, this was indeed a small look into an alternate reality — one where directors and writers could craft Marvel features without having to tend to any house of mouse guidelines.

Man-Thing is available to stream on Tubi, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube.

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