ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne

Now, the Marvel Cinematic Universe's eight years (and counting) of surprisingly consistent Marvel on-screen awesomeness has been great and all, but in the face of such reliably high quality output, there's a part of me that pines for the good old days.

You know the ones. The decades upon decades where the only glimpses we ever caught of our favorite Marvel heroes on the big screen (Spider-Man and the X-Men aside) were so hilariously ridiculous that they were perpetually delaying an actual big-budget adaptation through sheer force of silliness. In other words?

There Was a Time When The MCU's Heroes' Movie Appearances Were Hilariously Ridiculous

And, because sharing is very much caring in this sort of context, here are five of my personal favorites (most of which are, in fairness, from TV movies, because the 80s and 90s didn't love us as much as 2016 does)...

First up?

5. Nick Fury Was Originally Played By David Hasselhoff

Yup, that's right. Back in 1998 Fox decided to make a TV movie adaptation of the adventures of Marvel's greatest super-spy, Nick Fury.

And, because this was 1998 (and Fox), they decided to hire David Hasselhoff to play him. Which worked about as well as you would think. Next time someone complains to you about how Nick Fury is 'supposed' to be white in the movies, though, just point them in the direction of the Hoff, and watch them suddenly recognize just how awesome Samuel L. Jackson's version really is.


4. The Hulk Was Originally Just a Guy Painted Green

Far and away the most well-known entry on this list, it's nonetheless worth remembering that for an entire generation of comic-book fans, The Hulk was played on TV by Lou Ferrigno, doused in green paint. Yup, from 1977 through to 1982 (and subsequently in three TV movies), the Green Goliath was played by a muscular dude in a green wig.

This does not, in retrospect, compare well to state-of-the-art CGI rendered Mark Ruffalo smashing puny Gods. Though it's actually not much worse than the 2003 Ang Lee movie.

Moving swiftly on...

3. Captain America Was Way Less Cool in the 1990s

Anyone who suspected that Chris Evans' Captain America was going to be a dull-as-dishwater stick in the mud was likely pleasantly surprised by his charismatic take on - and Marvel's very modern approach to - the Star Spangled Avenger.

This was much less the case back in 1990's Captain America, a US and Yugoslavian co-production that starred Matt Salinger (son of legendary novelist J.D. Salinger) and revealed that The Red Skull had assassinated Martin Luther King and JFK.

It is noticeably less fun than that makes it sound.

It wasn't, however, the silliest adaptation of the good Captain that we saw pre-Marvel Studios. Y'see...

2. Captain America Was Once Basically Evel Kneivel

That's right, back in Cap's 1979 TV movie, he had his very own motorcycle (which launched from a specially fitted out van, because this was the 1970s).

He was also notably not frozen in the 1940s (because that would be ridiculous), but was instead the artist son of a 1940s government agent nicknamed 'Captain America', who found himself transformed into a superhero by a friend of his father's after being critically injured in an accident.

The best part? He designed the costume himself...before gaining his powers. Well, that, and the fact that there was a sequel named Captain America II: Death Too Soon in which Cap kills an evil Christopher Lee with an aging-accelerating chemical - causing him to die too soon.

On that note, let's finish up with the fact that...

1. Thor and The Hulk's First Team-Up Could Have Really Used Some Hemsworth

Specifically, it's tough to imagine that being able to gaze upon Chris Hemsworth's shiny face wouldn't make it easier to enjoy 1988's The Incredible Hulk Returns, in which Hulk takes on the Mighty Thor.

Which was all rendered a little bit weird by the fact that this Thor was essentially a genie, having been bound to serve Donald Blake (his comic-book alter-ego) for reasons that are never adequately explained. In other words, in a movie about a guy who can transform into a giant green rage monster, someone thought it would be ridiculous to have his indentured servant/Norse God co-star be able to transform into human form too.

Yes, I miss the 80s too.

What do you reckon, though?


Which is your favorite pre-MCU take on a Marvel hero?


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