Now Playing Presents: 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!


  • Dr. Strange (1978)

    Dr. Strange (1978)

    07/02/2012 Duration: 01h01min

    In 1978, before the Captain America films, CBS was still trying to replicate the successes of their Wonder Woman and Incredible Hulk TV series, but their next attempt to launch a superhero show drew inspiration from the Strange-st of places. The Dr. Strange TV film, based on the Marvel Comics magician, introduces prime-time television to Dr. Stephen Strange, a swinging psychiatrist with a destiny. This was not destined to be picked up as a series, but should it have? Listen to Arnie, Stuart, and Jakob's review to find out, or be left cold and barren!

  • Captain America (1990)

    Captain America (1990)

    31/01/2012 Duration: 01h18min

    In the early 1990s the country was hungry for more superhero films. Batman had come out and shown us that comic book characters could be done without camp, and studios rushed to get more superhero projects in development. Yet despite Batman 's success, and 1991 being Captain America's 50th Anniversary, 21st Century Film Corporation's production of Captain America could not get distributed. Finally scuttled direct-to-VHS in 1992, this film has been a staple of the convention DVD bootleg circuit. Finally receiving not one but two official releases in 2011 to tie into Marvel's Captain America: The First Avenger, does this 1990s version deserve another look? Listen to Jakob, Stuart, and Arnie's review to find out!

  • Captain America II: Death Too Soon

    Captain America II: Death Too Soon

    24/01/2012 Duration: 01h07min

    In 1979 Captain America had not one but two TV movies! The first was a pilot for a possible series. The second was Captain America 2 - Death Too Soon! Reb Brown returned as Steve Rogers, the ex-Marine who really just wants to paint. But terrorist General Miguel, played by Chrstopher Lee, has poisoned Portland and only Captain America can stop him! With attack dogs, a hang-gliding motorcycle, and old ladies on Venice Beach, does this Captain America film do our country proud? Listen to Arnie, Jakob, and Stuart's review to find out!

  • Captain America (1979)

    Captain America (1979)

    17/01/2012 Duration: 01h11min

    In the 1940's Captain America was born with a punch to Hitler's jaw. In the 60's he was thawed out again to help lead Marvel's super-team The Avengers. And in the 70's, when superhero shows Wonder Woman and The Incredible Hulk ruled the airwaves, Captain America was updated once again for a new generation. Here Steve Rodgers is a former Marine who wants nothing more than to drive up the California coast and draw, but a diabolical plot from evil oil tycoon Lou Brackett puts Steve's life in danger. With a clear shield, a boss motocross bike, and a groovy outfit Captain America is called to action. Is this a Captain that kids of the 70's could get behind? Listen to Stuart, Jakob, and Arnie to find out!

  • Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

    Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

    10/01/2012 Duration: 01h18min

    During the Cold War, only one man could protect America from the evil terrorist forces of HYDRA - Nick Fury, director of ! But the Berlin Wall fell, HYDRA'S leader Baron Wolfgang von Strucker was captured, and Fury was put out to pasture. Now, however, HYDRA is back and S.H.I.E.L.D. needs Fury, played by Baywatch star David Hasselhoff, to save the day. Made for TV in the 90s, Nick Fury's first live-action depiction is now forgotten in the wake of Samuel L. Jackson. But can Arnie, Stuart, and Jakob handle The Hoff? Listen to Now Playing's review to find out!

  • Punisher: War Zone

    Punisher: War Zone

    22/11/2011 Duration: 01h33min

    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)

    The Punisher (2004)

    15/11/2011 Duration: 01h30min

    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)

    The Punisher (1989)

    08/11/2011 Duration: 01h22min

    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!

  • Elektra


    27/09/2011 Duration: 01h32min

    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!

  • Daredevil


    20/09/2011 Duration: 100h36min

    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

    Blade: Trinity

    13/09/2011 Duration: 102h39min

    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

    Blade II

    06/09/2011 Duration: 01h21min

    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!

  • Blade


    30/08/2011 Duration: 01h39min

    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

    Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

    26/07/2011 Duration: 01h24min

    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

    Fantastic Four

    19/07/2011 Duration: 113h02min

    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

    The Fantastic Four

    12/07/2011 Duration: 01h27min

    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

    X-Men: First Class

    04/06/2011 Duration: 124h34min

    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

    X-Men Origins: Wolverine

    27/05/2011 Duration: 115h36min

    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

    X-Men: The Last Stand

    20/05/2011 Duration: 114h46min

    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

    X2: X-Men United

    13/05/2011 Duration: 01h27min

    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!

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