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Now Playing: The Marvel Comic Book Movie Retrospective Series

Time to watch movies, true believers!
Now Playing: The Marvel Comic Book Movie Retrospective Series


Welcome to Now Playing's Marvel Comics Movie Retrospective Series where in anticipation of the ultimate comic book crossover movie The Avengers in 2012 we will be watching and reviewing all the Marvel Comics films! Join us as we review everything from Howard the Duck to X-Men, Spider-Man to Fantastic Four!



Punisher: War Zone

Nov 22, 2011 93:20


The Punisher's attempts at a franchise continue to be shot down. While 2004's Punisher film failed to blow up the box office, strong DVD sales convinced Lionsgate to move ahead on a sequel--only to have director Jonathan Hensleigh and star Thomas Jane drop out. But the project moved on, now a second reboot for the Marvel Knight. Ray Stevenson strapped on the skull-logo flack jacket to fight classic comic book villian Jigsaw in this ultra-violent comic adaptation. Does this third Punisher film finally hit the target, or is it yet another misfire? Listen to Arnie, Jakob, and Stuart's final installment in the Punisher Retrospective Series to find out!

The Punisher (2004)

Nov 15, 2011 90:39


With Blade a cinematic success Artisan Entertainment brought another R-rated Marvel property to the big screen--The Punisher. Starring Thomas Jane in the title role and John Travolta as bad guy gangster Howard Saint, this adaptation remained closer to the character's comic book portrayal, putting him in his signature skull outfit and with a story based on Garth Ennis' acclaimed Welcome Back Frank story. But this film was punished by most critics, only to find its audience on DVD. Is this film justice for our hero, or punishment for the viewer? Listen as Jakob, Arnie, and Stuart are here to live once more, or die once more, or review once more and find out!

The Punisher (1989)

Nov 8, 2011 82:03


In 1989 the second Marvel Comics hero got his shot at big screen glory -- The Punisher, a murderous vigilante who dispenses the ultimate punishment to criminals. To comic book fans, Dolph Lundgren's portrayal of the character barely resembled the original material. Gone was the giant skull on the Punisher's shirt, and instead of a Viet Nam war hero Frank Castle was now a police officer waging a one-man war against the mob. But is the true punishment that inflicted upon viewers of this film? On this week's Now Playing, Arnie, Stuart, and Jakob continue their Marvel Movie retrospective with this first Punisher film, so listen to find out!


Sep 27, 2011 92:42


Daredevil made money but when Affleck became toxic at the box office, Fox studios proceeded with a spin-off rather than a sequel, and despite being dead at the end of Daredevil Jennifer Garner was back reprising her role of Elektra. Donning the iconic red silk outfit for this outing, Elektra is an assassin who finds her conscience and must go up against the evil ninjas of The Hand to protect The Treasure. Is Elektra a treasure to movie fans, or should this franchise have not been resurrected? Listen to Jakob, Stuart, and Arnie to find out!


Sep 20, 2011 100:36


After the success of X-Men, 20th Century Fox quickly green-lit another Marvel superhero film--Daredevil! With Ben Affleck still riding his career high after The Sum of All Fears cast as the blind lawyer cum vigilante Daredevil seemed poised to swing in right behind the success of 2002's Spider-Man. Aided by a strong supporting cast including Colin Farrell, Jennifer Garner, Michael Clarke Duncan, and a pre-Iron Man Jon Faverau, this film broke box office records its opening weekend, but in the court of public opinion this film has been forgotten. Now, continuing their look back at every movie based on Marvel's superhero comics, Arnie, Jakob, and Stuart take the stand and bear witness to Daredevil. Was justice served? Listen to this podcast to find out the verdict!

Blade: Trinity

Sep 13, 2011 102:39


Blade II made over $150 million worldwide, so it was no surprise that two years later Blade was back in theaters. What was surprising is he brought friends, in the form of Jessica Biel, Parker Posey, Natasha Lyonne, and Ryan Reynolds. Can the daywalker stand up to the star power in this cast? And does the return of Blade's comic book nemesis Dracula inject new blood into the franchise? Listen and find out!

Blade II

Sep 6, 2011 81:36


Blade was an unexpected hit in 1998, and so in 2002 Wesley Snipes returned to the role for the first sequel in his career. This time, with a still mostly unknown Guillermo del Toro at the helm, and writer David S. Goyer penning the script, did the Daywalker really get his chance to shine? Listen to Stuart, Arnie, and Jakob's review to find out!


Aug 30, 2011 99:38


By 1998, the only Marvel Comics character to get a wide theatrical release was Howard the Duck. But Dark Knight writer David Goyer would change all that with Blade, starring Wesley Snipes as the comic book vampire slayer. With Stephen Dorff as charismatic vampire Deacon Frost, Blade redeemed comic based movies after Batman and Robin and kicked off the Marvel Age of movies. But can this pre-Matrix combination of CGI and black leather stand up today, and how does it fit in with the other Marvel comic book movies? Listen to Arnie, Stuart, and Jakob's review to find out!

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Jul 26, 2011 84:11


The first Fantastic Four film was never released. The second time, the film was released to modest box office and poor reviews. But now Marvel's first family is back, and they've brought friends--fan favorite The Silver Surfer and his master, the world-eater Galactus. With these new characters and a retelling of one of the Fantastic Four's most beloved storylines, is the third time a charm for the Four, or do we have to wait longer for a Fantastic comic adaptation of Thing, Human Torch, Invisible Woman, and Mr. Fantastic? Listen to Arnie, Stuart, and Jakob as we finish our Fantastic Four retrospective series to find out!

Fantastic Four

Jul 19, 2011 113:02


After over 20 years of trying, the Fantastic Four have finally arrived on the big screen in this big budget blockbuster! Made by 20th Century Fox, they obviously hoped to have a franchise to alternate between X-Men films, and what better than another team of super powered beings from the Marvel universe fighting against their arch-nemesis Dr. Doom. But with $100 million budget, does this film finally reach their target audiences, or does it flame out? Listen to find out!

The Fantastic Four

Jul 12, 2011 87:11


In this first installment, the Now Playing hosts watch a film never meant to be seen -- 1994's Fantastic Four. Made on the cheap and possibly never intended for release, this film has become legend to comic book lovers and film lovers alike. Why was this film never released? Did it deserve its fate? Listen to find out!

X-Men: First Class

Jun 4, 2011 124:34


The final episode in our X-Men retrospective series is here as the latest X-Men film, X-Men: First Class, is released. With Matthew Vaughn, director of the beloved Kick-Ass comic adaptation, behind the camera and Bryan Singer back on the team as a producer and writer this time, the X-Men boldly go where many franchises have gone before--the origin story reboot. But with a highly publicized rushed production schedule and a group of actors who have received acclaim but never had to carry a franchise film before, can X-Men: First Class continue the origin story reboot success of such films like Star Trek, Casino Royale, and Batman Begins? Listen to our review as Arnie, Jakob, and Stuart review this latest film and find out for yourself!

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

May 27, 2011 115:36


Hugh Jackman has gone solo in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a prequel showing Wolverine's life from his boyhood in 19th Century Canada through his memory loss at Three Mile Island. And in place of the X-Men supporting him, Wolverine is now surrounded by such fan favorite mutants as Deadpool, Gambit, and Agent Zero. Do Arnie, Stuart, and Jakob find this trip down Wolverine's memory lane a exciting adventure, or were these memories best left forgotten? Listen to find out!

X-Men: The Last Stand

May 20, 2011 114:46


With Bryan Singer graduating from Mutant High to direct Superman, and taking most of his production crew with him, it fell to Brett Ratner to complete the X-Men trilogy. The war Magneto had foreseen in the first two films erupts when a cure for mutation is introduced. Itis the most bombastic of the X-Men trilogy and very polarizing to X-Fans, but does it Stand up for Arnie, Stuart, and Jakob? Listen to find out!

X2: X-Men United

May 13, 2011 87:17


Professor X, Magneto, and most of the mutants from X-MEN return to the big screen three years after their debut - sporting higher production values, sharper social commentary, an enlarged cast, and answers for amnesiac Wolverine's backstory. Will Arnie, Jakob, and Stuart unite behind director Bryan Singer's grandiose vision, or will the many storylines send them into berserker rage? Listen and find out!


May 6, 2011 109:41


When you think of comic book superhero movies, do you think of concentration camps, human rights, and deep questions, starring both past and future Oscar winning actors? While certainly not the norm in 2000 when it was released, Bryan Singer's X-Men ushered in a new type of superhero film for a new century. With this being the first big-screen live action X-Men adaptation, bringing such comic book legends as Wolverine, Cyclops, Professor X, and Rogue to life and it's success launched not only the X-Men franchise but really set off a renaissance for Marvel Comics superhero films. With 11 years past, does this film hold up? Listen to Arnie, Stuart, and Jakob's review to find out!

Generation X

Apr 29, 2011 75:19


Before there was X-Men...there was Generation X! For fans of the X-Men who had grown up watching the cartoon and reading the comics there would be a long wait, until 2000, for the X-Men to grace the silver screen in a big budget epic, but first in 1996 FOX aired the TV movie Generation X, a pilot for a TV series that never happened. Based on X-Men spin-off comic of the same name, Generation X sees a new group of superpowered teen mutants attending Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, here run by Emma Frost and Banshee, both featured characters in this summer's X-Men First Class! Starring Matt "Max Headroom" Frewer as the evil dream manipulating scientist Russel Tresh, is this inauspicious start for the X-Men something all fans should track down, or is it best forgotten like a bad dream? Listen to find out!


Mar 25, 2011 111:40


He has no powers, no girlfriend, no cool outfit, but /Dave Lizewski can still Kick-Ass in the film directed by future X-Men First Class director Matthew Vaughn. With it's balance of humor and violence, and a foul-mouthed, violent 11-year-old Hit Girl courting controversy the film failed to catch on with mainstream audiences. But is this an underrated Kick-Ass film, or are we three for three with our Marvel Misfits retrospective series? Listen to the final episode in this first part of our Marvel Comic Book Movie Retrospective to find out!


Mar 18, 2011 72:56


Rising from the swamps comes a humanoid creature made of pure plant matter - Marvel's Man-Thing! A cult comic book character, Man-Thing was promoted to Marvel Movie Star in 2005 to capitalize on the popularity of Man-Thing's superhero peers the X-Men and Spider-Man. Premiering on the Sci-Fi channel, this film remains fairly unknown. Is it a treasure found underneath the murkiness of the swamps, or a fetid swamp plant that should be left to decompose? Listen to Stuart, Arnie, and Jakob to find out!

Howard the Duck

Mar 9, 2011 125:27


Fresh off the success of Return of the Jedi, blockbuster movie producer George Lucas was thought to have the golden touch and be able to do no wrong, but Lucas has always been one to do the impossible. And in the late summer of 1986, Howard the Duck was laid into by critics and fans alike. Now, for the 25th anniversary of this legendary flop, Arnie, Stuart, and Jakob watch and review the film as the start of their Marvel Comics Movie Retrospective Series! Is the movie as bad as critics said, or like Lucas said, 25 years later is this film looked back upon fondly? Listen to find out!