Now that you’ve seen Avengers: Endgame, you’re probably looking for a hangover cure. The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s latest outing has brought eleven years worth of interconnected stories to a box office-smashing conclusion, and while the future of the franchise is unpredictable, Endgame is still the end of an era.
That said, we’re not here to talk about Endgame or the MCU for the millionth time. This article is all about acknowledging those cheap imitator flicks that have sneakily copied Marvel’s ideas for their own commercial gain. Whether depicting similar superheroes or flat out plagiarizing Marvel’s roster, these movies represent the Wild West of superhero cinema. They might not cure your Endgame hangover, but their audacious hucksterism is entertaining in its own right.
Metal Man (2008)
Metal Man is a cheap Iron Man knockoff that was released to coincide with the inception of the MCU. The story follows a college student who, with the aid of a special combat suit, must stop a mad scientist armed with nefarious plans and ninja stooges. At the time of writing, the movie has yet to receive a sequel. However, when Iron Man 2 was released, Metal Man was simply repackaged as Iron Hero in a bid to capitalize on the Marvel buzz once again.
The Amazing Bulk (2012)
It doesn’t take a physicist like Bruce Banner to figure out that this movie was inspired by The Incredible Hulk. The creature in this spoof of Marvel’s temperamental green monster, however, is a purple blob that wouldn’t look out of place in an early ‘90s video game. The story is a shameless riff on Banner/Hulk lore, as we follow a scientist who turns into a monster after consuming a misguided formula. If you thought the two solo Hulk films were underwhelming, give this absurd copycat a try and see if it’s a more satisfying experience.
Avengers Grimm (2015)
Avengers Grimm takes characters from fairy tales — Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Cinderella, etc — and puts them in a movie that wants to be an Avengers flick. The story centers around a team of fairy tale princesses who must defeat the evil Rumpelstiltskin and his army of thralls before they make life a misery for earthlings. This knockoff sets out to capitalize both on Marvel’s popularity and the TV show Once Upon a Time, so you really can’t fault its money-making ambition. A sequel called Avengers Grimm: Time Wars was released in 2018.
Almighty Thor (2011)
Technically, Thor is a god from Norse mythology who Marvel re-imagined in their own compelling way. In that sense, Almighty Thor could be interpreted as an epic tale about Norse legends. At the same time, it was released by The Asylum to profit from Thor’s release. Plus, it features a similar story-line about a battle between the titular hero and his mischievous brother Loki here on Earth. Almighty Thor is still a shameless knockoff that isn’t fooling anyone into thinking the Asylum didn’t have Marvel on its mind during the film’s conception.
Some of you will be familiar with this Avengers-meets-X-Men blockbuster from Russia. The trailer was all the rage a couple of years ago and there was some mild excitement for the film rippling throughout the internet afterward. This was mainly because the trailer showed us a man/bear hybrid creature with a machine gun, which is the kind of wild idea the MCU should incorporate into its movies from time to time. Sadly, Guardians was a flop upon release and failed to put Russian superhero cinema on the map.
Three Giant Men (1973)
The creators of this madness probably never even opened a comic book in their lives, but that didn’t stop them from using Marvel heroes without licensing the rights to do so. In Marvel lore, Captain America and Spider-Man are allies who team up to save the world from dangerous villains. In Three Giant Men, though, Spider-Man is the leader of a villainous gang that decapitates people with boat propellers. In order to put a stop to Spidey’s evil ways, Cap teams up with the Mexican wrestling legend Santo to rid Istanbul of its vicious crime lord. Yes, this is a movie that exists, and it inspired a trend of unauthorized Turkish remakes of popular American films that are well worth your time.
Doctor Mordrid (1992)
Long before Doctor Strange found his way to the MCU, Charles Band and his Full Moon imprint wanted to give the Master of the Mystic Arts his own cinematic adaptation. However, the iconic B movie studio allegedly lost the film rights to the character before they had a chance to make the movie. Of course, this didn’t stop Band and co. from taking advantage of the Marvel character. Instead, they made another movie about a magician superhero starring Jeffrey Combs with a similar premise. Unlike the other movies on this list, Doctor Mordrid is actually a good flick and worthy of your attention.