Howdy people of the north, south, east and west, and welcome to Day #27 of Month of Superhero Film Reviews 2! During this month I’ll be reviewing of some of the best, average and worst comic book adapted films. Today talking about Man-Thing.
This is one of those characters I’ve heard mentioned around the internet since 2010, and on my occasional research of Marvel films released over the years I have seen this one in their filmography but never really cared about since Man-Thing was not a character I’d ever hard of. So after all these years I’ll finally get to see what’s going on with this character. Now I know this film is more horror than superhero, but because of the character’s origins in the comics this film will count in this blog series.
The story can be summed up as the following:
“Agents of an oil tycoon vanish while exploring a swamp marked for drilling. The local sheriff investigates and faces a Seminole legend come to life: Man-Thing, a shambling swamp-monster whose touch burns those who feel fear.”
The story isn’t anything special and in fact is mainly boring overall. My main gripe with this film was that there was nothing to separate it from all of the other horror films that exist, especially the bad ones. This is another tale of humans messing with nature and nature striking back, this time in the form of a swamp monster. The way everything happens feels like it is out of the horror codes and conventions handbook, the bad edition. Everything feels contrived and familiar with no ‘wow’ factor, and it also doesn’t help that the film isn’t scary, besides a few jump scares there is no sense of atmosphere, tension or mystery. Half the time I didn’t know what was going on and I don’t think the filmmakers behind this film knew either, even after you get certain answers to the mysteries it still doesn’t give you all the explanations you require. I may as well have just re-watched the 2005 remake of House of Wax, yeah that film was more entertaining than this.
Now let’s talk about the cast, honestly most of them were pretty forgettable and cheesy as well, I don’t recall half of the people that were in the film so I’ll just talk about the one’s I do remember. Matthew Le Nevez as Sheriff Kyle Williams was your standard male protagonist, he’s trying to the right thing but he’s no pushover and he has to have some romantic spark with the female lead. Rachael Taylor didn’t fare much better as Teri Elizabeth Richards, she’s a feisty, smart and pretty lady who happened to be an activist for nature. Mark Stevens did alright as Ted Sallis/Man-Thing, Jack Thompson was just silly as Frederic Schist and I guess the only person I really liked was Rawiri Paratene as Pete Horn.
Now let’s talk about the presentation. Visually the film is okay, it tries to create a creepy atmosphere with the lighting and scenes at night but it’s not very impressive and some of the scene transition and sound effects are more annoying than scary. The creature itself was apparently made with a combination of practical and digital effects and the end result isn’t bad, but at the same time it does look less than intimidating. As for the soundtrack by Roger Mason it was pretty tame and forgettable and didn’t do much for the film.
And lastly how does it compare to the comics? I haven’t read the comics personally, but from what I’ve read online this live-action adaptation was made into a straight-up horror film and ignored the superhero elements entirely.
So to conclude Man-Thing isn’t the worst film that I’ve ever seen, but it isn’t particularly good either. It feels like your standard generic horror film with all the clichés you’d expect and while there are a few unique things going on with the story and the monster, it’s not enough to engage you throughout. I would like to see this character done justice in another live-action adaptation (possibly in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since he was name dropped in the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.).
That’s 27 reviews done, only 3 more to go. So have you seen Man-Thing and if so what are your thoughts on it? Drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts yo! Come back tomorrow and I’ll have a new film review online, until then peace out!