These Retro Films Mark the Beginning of Marvel Movies

Nowadays, we can’t imagine a year without at least four high-budget Marvel movies celebrating our favorite superheroes. However, this was not always the case. 

Marvel superhero movies and TV series have a long history, starting all the way back in the 1940s. Many superhero enthusiasts are interested in the early beginnings of Marvel cinematography, with even the latest slots games online following the trend of more and more retro-inspired themes. 

If you’re on the edge of your seat wanting to discover more about the retro Marvel films, read on.

Captain America (1944)

In 1944, Republic Pictures took a daring approach to their Captain America serial. The series starred Dick Purcell as Grant Gardner, not Steve Rogers, and featured a new, unique storyline that rejected the original backstory of Rogers being injected with a Super-Soldier Serum. 

Despite this deviation from the source material, The Purple Death Captain America remains a notable production, not only for being the last Republic serial about a superhero but also for being the most expensive serial ever made by the studio. 

Howard the Duck (1986)

Howard the Duck’s transition from comic book to live-action film was, unfortunately, a flop. The 1986 movie was produced by Universal Studios and none other than George Lucas himself, but it failed to capture the surrealism and satirical humour of the beloved comic series. The film follows the story of Howard, a duck from an alternate world who finds himself transported to Earth, where he becomes a guardian of a woman named Beverly. 

Although the movie starred Lea Thompson, Tim Robbins, and Jeffrey Jones, the film only earned $1 million more than its $35 million production budget. The failure of Howard the Duck kept Marvel out of theatres for some time, but surprisingly, the character has made a comeback in the MCU in the post-credits scene of Guardians of the Galaxy.

Spiderman (1977)

In 1977, Danchuk Productions released a made-for-TV movie that aimed to launch the Spiderman TV series. However, despite its success, this production wasn’t received well by the Marvel icon Stan Lee.

It featured Peter Parker’s iconic origin story, complete with increased strength, wall-crawling abilities, and a spider sense that allowed him to detect danger. With his new-found abilities, Peter Parker donned a superhero costume and designed a web shooter to fight crime as Spiderman, becoming an instant fan-favourite among viewers. 

Fantastic Four (1994)

The Fantastic Four has had a tumultuous journey in the world of cinema, with the 1994 live-action adaptation standing out as one of the most unique. Produced on a shoestring budget, the film featured a cast of relatively unknown actors who were kept in the dark about the producers’ true intentions.

Though it never received an official release, the film managed to gain a cult following after a leaked bootleg version surfaced. However, its new-found popularity proved to be short-lived, as 20th Century Fox producer Avi Arad purchased and destroyed almost all copies to protect the integrity of future Marvel adaptations. 

And there you have it: some of the most iconic retro Marvel movies. Why not take a trip down memory lane, and watch these fun oldies this weekend? 

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1 Comment

  1. How about the 1988 tv movie The Incredible Hulk Returns which picks up from the Hulk tv series which had ended in 1982? This one even features Thor as well!

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