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!


  • Thor

    24/04/2012 Duración: 107h39min

    In three films Marvel had created a cinematic universe based on science. Iron Man used advanced technology to power an armored suit; Bruce Banner used genetic manipulation and medicine to create The Incredible Hulk. But in their fourth film leading up to The Avengers they brought in a new element straight out of Norse mythology--Thor, the god of thunder. With a mighty hammer, a winged helmet, and a flowing red cape, Thor and his fellow Asgardians fought off the evil Ice Giants, but for his cocky war-mongering Thor was banished to earth, stripped of his powers. Can a thunder god fit in with an otherwise science based Cinematic Universe, and is his story a compelling one? Listen to Stuart, Arnie, and Jakob to find out as they review Thor, and the Blu Ray bonus short The Consultant!

  • Iron Man 2

    17/04/2012 Duración: 108h08min

    The first Iron Man film set the gold (and red) standard for Marvel superheroes in movies, but Marvel Studios knew the pressure was high to build up to The Avengers so just two years later Iron Man 2 was released. Jon Favreau was back behind the camera, and Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow were still starring, but now Don Cheadle dons the War Machine suit, Sam Rockwell and Mickey Rourke team up as villains, and S.H.I.E.L.D. has a much larger presence in the form of Nick Fury, Agent Coulson, and Scarlett Johansson's Natalie "Black Widow" Rushman. The film is certainly bigger than the first, but is it better? Listen to Arnie, Stuart, and Jakob's review to find out!

  • The Incredible Hulk

    10/04/2012 Duración: 120h46min

    Mere months after Iron Man went supersonic at the box office Marvel's second issue of its Avengers movie series smashed its way into theaters--The Incredible Hulk! But after Ang Lee's film disappointed just a few years earlier Hulk's biggest enemy was audience expectations. Behind-the-scenes strife between producer/star Edward Norton and Marvel Studios only helped to add to audience superhero fatigue in a summer that also included The Dark Knight, and Hulk went on to be the lowest grossing Marvel studio film to date. Is Hulk truly Incredible, or is it as toxic as Bruce Banner's blood? Listen to Arnie, Stuart, and Jakob to find out!

  • Iron Man

    10/04/2012 Duración: 111h40min

    Who would win in a fight, Thor or the Hulk? In comic books, team-ups are the stuff of legend, fulfilling geeky desires while also increasing comic sales. But what can easily be done on the page is not so easy to transition to the screen, which may make this summer's The Avengers the most ambitious movie ever. Bringing together the larger-than-life characters of Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Captain America, Hawkeye, and Black Widow all led by Nick Fury, the cast is as impressive as the characters. Now, leading up to The Avengers, Stuart, Jakob, and Arnie are reviewing each of Marvel Studios' films. In our first review we look at 2008's Iron Man. Starring Robert Downey Jr, who had been more famous for his off-screen performances than his on-screen roles, and featuring a superhero that was not well known outside the comic reading crowds, the film went on to be the second highest grossing film of the year (bested only by another costumed billionaire vigilante--Batman ) and remains the highest grossing film in The

  • Hulk

    23/03/2012 Duración: 125h08min

    First Blade, then X-Men, then Spider-Man...Marvel's summer blockbuster films were just getting bigger and bigger, so expectations were high when Hulk smashed out of the small screen and into a big screen feature film. Directed by Ang Lee, coming right off his acclaim for Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, this was a Hulk that stayed more true to the comic book incarnation of the green giant, but also dared to be a psychological drama as well. Is this a strong film worthy of its hero, or a puny attempt to cash in on a Marvel character? Listen to Jakob, Stuart, and Arnie to find out!

  • The Death of the Incredible Hulk

    16/03/2012 Duración: 01h23min

    A new science experiment holds the key to curing David Banner of the Hulk, but a group of terrorists plan to steal the device and the scientists who created it. In Death of the Incredible Hulk television audiences said goodbye to the Hulk, but is the ultimate performance of Bill Bixby an enjoyable watch, or will it kill the Now Playing hosts? Listen to find out!

  • The Trial of the Incredible Hulk

    09/03/2012 Duración: 01h15min

    After Thor and Hulk was a smash hit in the ratings another Hulk movie was quickly approved. David Banner is arrested for a murder he didn't commit, set up by crime Kingpin Wilson Fisk, and the only one who believes David's story is his attorney--Matt Murdock. By day Matt tries to clear David's name in the courts, and by night he takes on David's fight as the vigilante known as Daredevil! Is this a team-up made in comic book heaven? Listen to Jakob, Arnie, and Stuart's review to find out!

  • The Return of the Incredible Hulk (Death in the Family)

    06/03/2012 Duración: 01h26min

    In November 1977, The Incredible Hulk premiered on CBS. But just a few weeks later, a second pilot movie aired to gauge audience reception to the now-famous Incredible Hulk formula. David Banner, on the run and searching for a cure, stumbles into a murder plot. Julie's stepmother and doctor are slowly poisoning the girl. Can David and old coot Michael save the girl? With such future TV stars as William Daniels (voice of KITT on Knight Rider) and Gerald McRaney (Major Dad), is this an Incredible series launch? Listen to Jakob, Arnie, and Stuart's review to find out!

  • The Incredible Hulk Returns

    02/03/2012 Duración: 01h15min

    In 1987 The Incredible Hulk Returns and he brought a friend with him--Thor! Comic book crossovers are the thing of geek legend. Everyone wants to know who will win in a fight, Batman or Spider-Man. But due to licensing issues, on-screen comic book crossovers are rare, even for superheroes from the same publisher. That is what makes this summer's Avengers film so special, getting all the superheroes in one place! But long before Mark Ruffalo and Chris Hemsworth put Hulk and Thor on the same screen there was Lou Ferrigno and Eric Kramer in a story of murder, mystery, and action! With all three principle actors from The Incredible Hulk TV series reprising their roles, is this a smashing Hulk movie? Listen to Arnie, Stuart, and Jakob to find out!

  • The Incredible Hulk (1977)

    28/02/2012 Duración: 01h22min

    The Incredible Hulk has been a staple in Marvel Comics since his first appearance in 1962, but to many The Hulk is less known for his comic book persona than his portrayal by Lou Ferrigno in CBS' hit prime time series The Incredible Hulk. Starring Bill Bixby as David Banner, a scientist who overdoses on gamma radiation, the series ran for five years, and it's impact can still be seen through references in both the Eric Bana and Edward Norton Hulk film adaptations. Now, as Now Playing starts its next leg of it's Marvel Comic Movie Retrospective, leading up to The Avengers, Jakob, Arnie, and Stuart are reviewing the television movie that started it all--The Incredible Hulk. Does this incarnation of the green giant make our reviewers angry? And would you like them when they're angry? Listen to find out!

  • Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

    19/02/2012 Duración: 102h26min

    After Ghost Rider set theaters ablaze in 2007 a sequel seemed assured, but it took five years to get here. But now Nicholas Cage returns in the quasi-rebooted Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. Johnny Blaze can have his curse lifted but first he must stop the devil from transferring his soul into the body of a young boy. From the directors of the cult hit Crank films, does this Ghost Rider spark with Arnie, Jakob, and Stuart? Listen to find out!

  • Ghost Rider

    14/02/2012 Duración: 116h20min

    With a flaming skull, a leather jacket, and a bad bike, Ghost Rider embraced the biker comics counterculture in the 70's and had a resurgance as a dark hero in the 90's. The first Ghost Rider film broke box office records, and now Nicholas Cage reprises his role as the devil's bounty hunter. And continuing their look back at all movies based on Marvel Comics heroes, and in anticipation of Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Jakob, Stuart, and Arnie will be watching and reviewing both Ghost Rider films. In the first movie, Johnny Blaze tried to woo childhood sweetheart Roxanne while eating jelly beans and listening to The Carpenters, but Mephisto has other plans for the stunt biker. Do Jakob, Arnie, and Stuart go along for this ride? Listen to find out!

  • Dr. Strange

    07/02/2012 Duración: 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)

    31/01/2012 Duración: 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

    24/01/2012 Duración: 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)

    17/01/2012 Duración: 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.

    10/01/2012 Duración: 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

    22/11/2011 Duración: 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)

    15/11/2011 Duración: 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)

    08/11/2011 Duración: 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!

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