With the highly-anticipated release of Avengers: Endgame only days away, Honest Trailers has turned back the clock in order to tackle the very first feature-length film based on a Marvel property: Howard the Duck.
Released in 1986, Howard the Duck is known not only for being the first Marvel movie (preceded only by the 1944 Captain America film serial,) but also for being notoriously bad. In addition to bombing at the box office upon its release, the film was panned by fans and critics alike, winning four Razzie Awards and securing only a 15% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
As we all know, Marvel has certainly come a long way since then. And as the Honest Trailers narrator explains, Howard the Duck set the stage for the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After all, the film featured Marvel's "first sky beam; first forgettable alien villain; and first alcoholic, womanizing hero." The problem, as the trailer states, is "they got everything else wrong."
The video then recounts the gist of the film, including the titular hero's journey through Cleveland's glam rock district, his bizarre romance with Lea Thompson's Beverly Switzler, a cast of characters who can each be described as "the dumb one" and an obscene amount of duck puns.
Of course, his 1986 eponymous film was not the end of Howard the Duck's on-screen presence. The character went on to make a cameo appearance in Marvel Studios' critically-acclaimed 2014 film Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as its 2017 sequel. Additionally, an adult-oriented Howard the Duck animated series is currently in the works at Hulu.
However, as the Honest Trailers narrator points out, the failure of the original film was not without consequence, as it essentially "snapped" Marvel films out of existence for a good decade, at least as far as the big screen is concerned.
1989's The Punisher and 1990's Captain America came out only a few years later, but were both direct-to-video films that only saw limited theatrical releases. Then, 1994's The Fantastic Four ended up not being (officially) released at all. Granted, it was also around this time that a handful of made-for-TV Marvel films saw the light of day. Still, a Marvel film did not see a wide release on the big screen again until Blade, which came out in 1998.