In the eleven years from 2008’s Iron Man (directed by Harold Joseph Hogan), through Avenger’s Endgame (directed by Russo Brothers) in 2019, the 27 films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have grossed $25 billion dollars in theaters and dominated box officii across the world.
Unfortunately, as we true cinèphiles know, Marvel fans are mostly low intelligence manchildren who lack the attention span to appreciate any movie that isn’t crammed full of CGI splooges and snarky quips. Let’s face it, the average Marvel fan is the type of person to stick their finger way down their butt hole when it itches, then sniff their finger, then lick their finger. To get away from their idiocy, I have assembled one high-brow alternative of true cinema for each Marvel movie.
Instead of IRON MAN (2008)
watch ROBOCOP (1987)
Before Tony Stark put on the Iron Man suit to fight the Not Taliban, Detroit police officer Alex Murphy was forced into the RoboCop suit after his life is ended by the white thugs who terrorize Detroit. While Tony finds a new purpose in life as Iron Man, Murphy finds his humanity stripped away as RoboCop. But what really makes RoboCop superior is that it is directed by a European, Lars Von Trier.
Instead of THE INCREDIBLE HULK (2008)
watch SHREK (2001)
Never have two films paralleled each other more than Louis Letter’s The Incredible Hulk and Steven Speilberg’s Shrek. Both Dr. Banner and Shrek are, at heart, simple men who inside them in a world that provokes them to violence. Both men have to rescue a dame (the princess for Shrek/Liv Tyler for Hulk) while facing off against a ruthless authority figure (John Lithgow for Shrek/some military guy for Hulk), with the help of a donkey friend.
One film from the beginning of the George W. Bush presidency, one film from the end, these films are bookends to a particular era of American violence. Hulk and Shrek are honestly so alike that it’s surprising Dreamworks and Marvel haven’t sued each other.
Instead of IRON MAN 2 (2010)
watch ROCKY II (1979)
In Iron Man, Tony Stark thought he proved himself as the Iron Man, but in the sequel, must prove himself again, while suffering the injuries from his Ironing. In Rocky II, a battered Rocky Balboa has to prove himself again in a rematch against Apollo Creed.
There are some differences. Tony Stark fights with his Iron Man suit, whereas Rocky Balboa fights with boxing gloves. Tony is a genius, whereas Rocky is Italian.
Instead of THOR (2011)
watch HÄGAR THE HORRIBLE: HÄGAR KNOWS BEST (1989)
Many Marvel fans are too ignorant to understand that the character of Thor is not an original creation of Marvel Comics. In fact, Thor is based on a much earlier work, a comic strip called Hägar the Horrible, which has ran in newspapers since 1973! Marvel fans would do themselves well to cure their stupid, stupid ways by immersing themselves in this 1989 made-for-television animated adventure.
Instead of CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (2011)
watch JFK (1991)
Captain America was a World War II veteran who became an American icon and leader, only to be struck down by a conspiracy that had tentacles everywhere. Likewise, was John F. Kennedy. The movie JFK laid it all out.
I mean, I think it did. I never saw it. It’s three hours and sounds boring. I like to imagine the entire film is the Cigarette Smoking Man from The X-Files leaving nonsense clues for Kevin Costner’s character to investigate, then going home to laugh. I like to think the CSM had fun in his off hours. He also made origami. “I have a life outside of you, Agent Mulder. But you never ask about that, do you? Here’s a paper frog, jerk.”
I never cared about the Kennedy conspiracy. Kennedy tried to have Fidel Castro assassinated, and had Marilyn Monroe killed for using her feminine wiles to tempt him away from his beloved wife. As far as I am concerned, if you conspire to kill other people, you can’t very well complain if people conspire to kill you. What goes around comes around!
Instead of MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS (2012)
watch GAYNIGGERS FROM OUTER SPACE (1992)
Twenty years before Josh Whedon assembled the Avengers to fight an alien invasion led by the Viking Loki, Dutch filmmaker Lars Von Trier assembled a group of gay black alien heroes to invade Earth and liberate oppressed men from the tyranny of women. What a brilliant way to subvert expectations!
Instead of IRON MAN 3 (2013)
watch ROCKY V (1990)
In IM3, Tony Stark was traumatized from the years in the Ironing Suit and looks to retire. In RV, Rocky Balboa likewise is at the end of his boxing career. Both heroes had slugged it out over several movies — fighting colorful enemies, friends, and powerful opponents in Russia. Now each man has to fight when the chips are down, his home is gone, and his only friend is a little boy. Time to fight a new enemy in the streets!
Instead of THOR: THE DARK WORLD (2013)
watch MY DINNER WITH ANDRE (1981)
My Dinner with Andre is the perfect substitute for the excitement of Thor: The Dark World.
Instead of CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (2014)
watch LOOSE CHANGE (2005)
The world is full of seemingly random coincidences. In The Winter Soldier, Sam Wilson (Falcon) meets Captain America while jogging along the National Mall early one morning. This leads to the Falcon joining with Captain America and training to become an Avenger. If either man had chosen a different location for a morning jog, or slept in, Sam would have never met Captain America. He would be home, watching the events of the later movies on TV.
“Man, all the Avengers are fighting that robot monster in that Russian country. That is so cool. I wish I could be there. If only there was some way to join the Avengers. But who would I even talk to?”
“I got that flying backpack just gathering dust in my garage. I should probably return it to the Army. It’s their property. But they never asked for it back. Maybe they don’t know it’s missing. We’d lose machine guns and grenades all the time.”
“Oh shit, the news says Captain America is a terrorist. That’s a lie. I know Cap would never go bad. I never met him, but I just know it. If only I could help him somehow.”
Then, there are questions. How did Hydra so effectively infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D.? How did the US government get subverted by a shadowy group of elites who sought to cause a mass casualty event to further their own ends?
The real world is full of unanswered questions and strange coincidences even more baffling than the movies. Why were an unusual amount of put options placed on the stocks of various airlines in the days before 9/11? Why did the alleged flight path of the alleged Flight 77 into the alleged Pentagon not match the destruction a Boeing 757 should have caused? How could the World Trade Center have collapsed from an airplane impact when fire can’t melt steel? Why did Building 7 collapse when it wasn’t touched by a plane? Why was George W. Bush seen giggling to himself on September 9th, 2001, then when a reporter asked what was so funny, did the president stop and say “Nothing” but then went right back to giggling and said, “You’ll see!” The documentary Loose Change examines these questions and more.
Instead of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 1 (2014)
watch 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (2001)
They are both in space.
Instead of AVENGER’S AGE OF ULTRON (2015)
watch THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (1951)
In Josh Whedon’s Age of the Ulton, the Avengers battle Ultron, a super powerful robot that can defeat any army and seeks to destroy. In HG Well’s The Day the Earth Stood Still, Earth is visited by a super powerful robot than can defeat any army, but claims to want peace. I wouldn’t believe that tin can!
Instead of ANT-MAN (2015)
watch A BUG’S LIFE (1998)
No explanation needed here.
But you know what bugged me (LOL!) about Ant-Man? When Ant-Man was working at a Baskin-Robbins, and gets called into the manager’s office to be fired because felons aren’t allowed to handle ice cream. That manager’s office was huge! It has a window. He wasn’t an executive at Baskin-Robbins corporate; he was a manager for one franchise. Does anyone in Hollywood know how small a retail manager’s office is? In real life, Ant-Man’s boss would have a windowless office a quarter of the size, full of boxes of plastic spoons and paper napkins. Ant-Man would have had to sit on a box. Totally made the rest of the movie impossible to buy into.
I once had an interview at a K-Mart. The manager had an office that was basically a concrete prison cell. No windows, and if you locked someone inside, they’d run out of air in an hour. Another time, I went in for a job at Family Video (Midwest Blockbuster). The manager didn’t even have an office. She talked to me in a corner of the store and kept having to interrupt the interview to check out videos for customers. I didn’t get hired at either place, but both K-Mart and Family Video are out of business, so I got my revenge in the end. Wahahaha!
Instead of CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (2016)
watch ADOLF HITLER, THE GREATEST STORY NEVER TOLD (2013)
In Civil War, Bucky Barnes is a hero of the Second World War who history had deemed a madman and a mass murderer. When Steve Rogers tries to tell the truth about his old friend, the powers-that-be turn him from a hero to a pariah, and put anyone who helped him in prison.
Why do the elites hold so tightly to the lie about Bucky Barnes that they will persecute anyone who questions it? Likewise, the documentary series Adolf Hiter, the Greatest Story…well, you know.
Instead of DOCTOR STRANGE (2016)
watch RASHOMON (1950)
What is truth? What is reality? Dr. Strange would grapple with these questions when he gets a hold of that sorcerer thing and buildings flip upside down. Audiences are forced to grapple with these questions in the story of conflicting testimony over a murder trial, from Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki.
Instead of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 (2017)
watch THE GODFATHER (1972)
Both films are about a man facing the pressure to live up to his father. See, they fit! Do yourself a favor and find the rare seven hour long special edition laser disc copy of The Godfather. It’s truly the definitive edition. There’s a scene in no other version where Francis Ford Coppola yells at Marlon Brando, enters the frame, and hits him repeatedly with the business end of a boom mic.
Instead of SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING (2017)
watch JACK FROST (1998)
Marvel and Sony shook up the Spider-Man world by re-imagining Peter Parker as a teenager under the tutelage of Tony Stark. Baby Spider-Man was a hit with audiences. But the standout actor in Homecoming wasn’t Tom Hiddleston as Peter Parker, but Michael Keaton as Vulture – a father forced to turn to crime to provide for his family.
The big twist in the movie occurs when Peter meets the father of his new girlfriend. Egad! It’s Vulture! It doesn’t take long for Mr. Vulture to figure out Peter is Baby Spider-Man. In probably the most chilling scene in all of MarvelCinematicUniversdom, Mr. Vulture gets Peter alone and tells him:
“Listen to me Peter Parker. I know you are Spider-Man. I swear to God, I will kill you if you get in the way of my evil scheme, or get my daughter pregnant. I will kill you and your whole family if I can’t sell alien weapons, or end up with an eight-legged grandson.”
In Jack Frost, Keaton plays a father who dies on Christmas from a snow accident, only to be brought back next Christmas in the form of his son’s snowman. You would think this would be horrifying, but he adjusts really quickly to being a snowman. He is making quips and having fun throwing snowballs within minutes. I think he enjoyed being a snowman more than being human. He was a 47-year-old man still trying to start a rock band, so it’s not like he had a whole lot going for him as a human.
As a snowman, he reconnects with his son. He doesn’t reconnect with his wife, who doesn’t seem to miss him all that much, either. She was still able to afford the house. Makes me think she was always the breadwinner of that family, and probably a bit relieved when he died. She’s no longer attached to the dead weight of a middle-aged wannabe rock star.
Instead of THOR: RAGNOROK (2017)
watch MULHOLLAND DRIVE (2001)
Just watch Mulholland Drive, you simpletons.
Instead of BLACK PANTHER (2018)
watch BUCK BREAKING (2021)
Black Panther took us inside the African kingdom of Wakanda, led by the strong black king The Challah, who held the power of the Black Panther. Both blacks and insufferable liberal whites were enthralled by Afro-Utopian vision of the movie, and its masculine lead. But it left us to ask: why is there no Wakanda in real life, why are there so few strong black men like the Black Panther? The recent documentary Buck Breaking from Tariq Nasheed (who is totally not gay) explains why.
Instead of AVENGER’S INFINITY WAR (2018)
watch CITIZEN KANE (1941)
Many dumb Marvel fans (redundant) claim Infinity War to be the greatest film of all time. We true cinèphiles know the greatest film of all time is in fact HG Well’s masterpiece Citizen Kane. Why is Citizen Kane the greatest film ever? Because all the smart people say it is, and you must agree to be considered a genuine film lover.
If you go to Barnes & Noble to buy Criterion blu-rays, the clerk will ask what is the greatest film of all time, and you absolutely must reply, “Citizen Kane.” If you give any other answer, the clerk will refuse to sell you the blu-rays, and you’ll be added to a nationwide blacklist that will prevent you from every being able to buy a Criterion Collection film anywhere. Then, when you go home, you’ll find TCM blocked out on your cable. Instead of classic films, you’ll only see video of Ben Mankiewicz scowling at you in disgust (it’s live video – Ben Mankiewicz can do this all day).
Don’t be a pariah cinèphile. Just accept Citizen Kane is the best thing ever and shut your mouth.
Besides, both movies are similar enough. They are about men on a quest they are willing to sacrifice everything for. Thanos will stop at nothing to collect the Infinity Stones. Citizen Kane will stop at nothing to buy every newspaper in the country to find his sled. I saw Citizen Kane, I totally appreciate it. Please think I’m smart.
Instead of ANT-MAN AND THE WASP (2018)
watch THE EVIL DEAD (1981)
Make sure you watch the original 1981 version from Sam Rainny, not the remake from 2013. The remake was awful. The original was a horror masterpiece crafted on a meager budget. The remake had scenes that were supposed to be shocking, but were in fact stupid and unnecessary. For instance, in the original, audiences became aware that one girl is possessed by a demon because she can predict playing cards from across the room. It’s a chilling scene that very quickly takes the audience from uncertainty to horror. In the remake, we first see the possessed girl when she bursts into the room with a shotgun.
Who cares if a demon has a shotgun? A person possessed by a demon is scary enough, so is a crazy woman with a gun; combining the two doesn’t make it DOUBLE SCARY, no matter what the director thought. Hey, he should have told the director of The Exorcist to give the girl a gun. Would have been a much shorter movie.
Instead of CAPTAIN MARVEL (2019)
watch EMPIRE RECORDS (1995)
Captain Marvel took audiences back to the ‘90s and peppered the action with cool ‘90s tunes. Not very well, though. Guardians of the Galaxy used pop music to enhance scenes. Captain Marvel just threw in twenty seconds of No Doubt or Nirvana here and there to remind us it’s the ‘90s. Also, they digitally de-aged Samuel L. Jackson, put him in a suit, but didn’t make him look like Jules from Pulp Fiction, which pissed me off.
For another take on the ‘90s and music, watch Empire Records. I don’t really remember what happens in Empire Records; saw it once twenty years ago and didn’t like it. Don’t tell any Gen-Xer I said that. I’ll die if a bunch of 50-year-olds don’t think I am cool.
On the subject, I’ll occasionally see a middle-aged man wearing an Alice in Chains or Guns N’ Roses t-shirt, and think why is that old guy in that shirt? Then I’ll remember no, he’d have been the right age to listen to those bands back in the day. Generation X is just old now. Dave Grohl is 52, Lisa Loeb is 53, and Slash is almost 400. It’s hard to remember because Gen X men decided that they way they dressed as high school juniors would be the way they’d dress for the rest of their lives. Graphic tees, backward baseball caps, and denim shorts go with gray hair now. I am relived I don’t have to deal with Generation X much. My father is a Baby Boomer, so dresses appropriate for his age (Hawaiian shirts).
Instead of AVENGER’S ENDGAME (2019)
watch CARTOON ALL-STARS TO THE RESCUE (1990)
29 years before Disney and Marvel Studios assembled the greatest collection of superheroes ever to teach Thanos the dangers of the Infinity Stones, Roy E. Disney and McDonald’s assembled the greatest collection of Saturday morning cartoon heroes ever to teach young Michael the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
Instead of SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME (2019)
watch CHARLOTTE’S WEB (1973)
Growing up, finding love, finding your purpose, finding a way to not get killed, elaborate spider-webbing – Skip Far From Home. Charlotte’s Web did it better 46 years earlier.
Okay, now I haven’t seen any Phase 4 movie except S-MNWH, but I think these next recommendations will be as helpful as the rest.
Instead of BLACK WIDOW (2021)
watch THE DAY OF THE JACKAL (1973)
Pretty sure it’s the same, but without special effects.
Instead of SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS (2021)
watch BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA (1986)
They look basically the same, from what I can tell.
Instead of ETERNALS (2021)
watch LEAN ON ME (1989)
Just kidding. Don’t watch Lean on Me. It’s terrible. But I saw it earlier this month and have to vent. Morgan Freeman stars in this tru-ish story of a principal who turns around a failing inner city high school. He does this by yelling at everyone with a bullhorn. Unless you’re a drill sargent at boot camp, that’s no way to be a leader.
There’s one scene where he goes to the choir room to chew out the music teacher for changing the school song. He yells at her, but then he turns around and smiles and is all, “Congratulations on our new school song.” All the kids in the choir room cheer. They don’t like the principal, they are really just overjoyed he didn’t fire the music teacher. “Finally the principal isn’t angry!” “I’m so scared to come to school every day because of him.” “I have nightmares he breaks into my bedroom and yells at me through a bullhorn.”
Morgan Freeman’s characters meets his angry match in the superintendent, played by Robert Guillaume, who challenges him to a shouting match over who is blacker.
“Listen to me bub, I’m black and these kids are black, and they are going to see a black world unless we have their backs like blacks!”
“Let me tell you one thing, mister. You say you’re black, well I’m blacker than you and we have black kids who are going to fall into a black hole if we don’t back their blacks!”
“Black black black-ity black black!”
*Dances like a chicken* “Black black black!”
Turns out the real life principal did a horrible job. Do you know how he got test scores up? He kicked out a bunch of students. The dropout rate rose ten points under him Jerk. If that’s what it takes to be a high school principal, I could be an amazing principal. I’d expel kids left and right. “You like The Weeknd? He makes Drake look like DMX. Clean out your locker, you’re done here.”
No movie about a teacher or principal in an inner city school is any good. Dangerous Minds was so bad that Michele Pfffffer should have been shot out of a cannon, but at least it got us “Amish Paradise”.
Instead of SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME (2021)
watch SPIDER-MAN (2002)
Spider-Man’s spider-world spider-collides in this tangled web of a movie. So many Spider-men! Rather than watch it, though, instead watch Sam Rainny’s take on Peter Parker from nineteen years earlier. It has the same Peter Parker and Green Goblin.
Just between you and me, I’ll admit the MCU Spider-Man has been fun. My only issue isn’t with the movies, but when critics praised them for “finally getting Spider-Man right”. Fuck that, Spider-Man was done right two decades ago. “Teens really relate to this Spider-Man” they say. Teens back in the day related to Toby Maguire’s Spider-Man, believe me. All the hair gel and people yelling, that’s what being a teen in the early ‘00s was all about.
On the subject, I often smugly ask people who Spider-Man’s greatest nemesis is, and, being stupider than me, they answer incorrectly. No, it’s not Green Goblin, nor Mysterio. Spider-Man’s greatest adversary is in fact J. Jonah Jameson, editor-in-chief of The Daily Bugle. He hates Spider-Man more than anyone. Most of Spidey’s nemesii only show up once in a while to fight him. Not JJJ. He comes to work every day ready to take down Spider-Man. He hates Spider-Man more than anyone. “He’s a MENACE!”
No Way Home showed us that no matter what version of Peter Parker there is, the great multi-verse will have a version of JJJ there to harass him. Worse, Peter usually works for Jameson. You think you have a lousy boss!
By the way, how many MCU villains have been people Tony Stark pissed off? I’m counting seven movies:
- Iron Man 1: Tony’s business partner, Jebediah Stone.
- Iron Man 2: Tony’s business rival, Justin Hammer.
- Avenger’s Age of Ultron: Tony created Ultron, of course, but then Wanda and her not an X-Men brother sought to kill Tony because Stark weapons killed their parents. Fair enough reason, I’d say.
- Iron Man 3: That geek Tony blew off to sleep with a whore. It’s a really bad idea in a comic book world to ignore a geek; they are all geniuses who will become a fearsome super villains at the smallest slight (look at Batman Forever). Now I get why geeks love comic books so much! It all makes sense now.
- Civil War: Helmet Zero, who blamed the Avengers, and Tony most of all, for his family being killed in Avenger’s Age of Ultron. Zero crafted a dastardly plan to divide the Avengers. I never understood how his plan was supposed to work, and it seemed too far fetched. But it totally did work. The Avengers broke up. Give it up for Helmet Zero.
- Homecoming: Mr. Vulture, who he lost his government contract because Stark Industries is basically the US government.
- Far From Home: A crew of pissed off Stark Industries employees. Seems like it wold have been easier for them to quit and go work for Apple. Maybe tech workers are just temperamental. Maybe there are a bunch of angry engineers at Telsa secretly building a killer robot to get back at Elon Musk. “I work 18 hour days designing car batteries to save the world from Climate Change. I was promised it would be worth it with the stock options. Then my asshole boss smokes pot on Joe Rogan’s podcast to crash the stock for his buyback scheme. I will have vengeance! VENGEANCE!”
But seriously folks, Tony Stark was such an asshole that the people he is an asshole to go so mad they turn into super villains. That’s why I could not sympathize with Tony in Civil War when he flipped out like Bruce Wayne after learning his parents were murdered. Tony, your father was a weapons manufacturer for the US government. Lots of people would have wanted your parents dead for, frankly, good reason. There must have been entire villages in Vietnam wiped out from Stark Technologies brand Agent Apricot®.
Bonus for Television: Instead of WANDAVISION (2021)
watch CHRIS CHAN: A COMPREHENSIVE HISTORY (2019)
In the Disney Channel Original Series WandaVision, Wanda Maximoff copes with the loss of her love, Vision, by taking a New Jersey town hostage to create a happy suburban family life through 20th century American sitcoms. It’s the story of madness that goes on for hours.
A real world story of madness is the multi-part documentary series about the internet’s greatest victim, Chris Chan. Just when you think it couldn’t get any weirder…he goes and rapes his demented mother! 🤣🤣🤣🤣
Also on Warm Fuzzy Glow:
To ween the ignorant masses off their Marvel addiction, acclaimed autèur Martin Scorsese provided us with his list of the Top Ten Greatest Films of All Time.
10. Metropolis (1927)
9. Mean Streets (1973)
8. On the Waterfront (1954)
7. Cape Fear (1991)
6. Gangs of New York (2002)
5. Raging Bull (1980)
4. Casino (1995)
3. Goodfellas (1990)
2. Citizen Kane (1941)
1. The Irishman (2019)