Knight Fury: Agent of B.A.Y.W.A.T.C.H.

Hey, speaking of weird Marvel TV movies, remember that time back in 1998 when David Hasselhoff played Nick Fury?

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I poop you not, this was what I thought Nick Fury looked like. Seriously, until the MCU my understanding of Nick Fury was 100% Hasselhoff.

Fury was a white guy for nearly 70 years. He was created in WWII as leader of the Howling Commandos (whom you may remember from Captain America: The First Avenger).

But in the early 2000s, Marvel Comics created the Ultimate Universe. Kind of a reboot of the Marvel Universe that ran in parallel with the main comics universe. That is, they simultaneously published Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate X-Men, Ultimate Avengers, etc. and the books featuring those same characters that had been running for decades.

In the primary comics universe, the Avengers had come together when Iron Man, Hulk, Ant-Man, Wasp, and Thor all got involved in a case involving Loki and the Sub-Mariner, and ultimately decided to work together on a long-term basis. (Captain America was found frozen and revived a few issues later.) Nick Fury was not involved at all, but he was still around as a cigar-chomping man’s man superspy in his own book.

In the Ultimate universe, SHIELD recruited them to work together as a team. And Ultimate Nick Fury was drawn to look like Samuel L. Jackson. As a team, they had to face a Chitauri invasion.

The movies, as you can tell, were heavily based on the Ultimate Avengers, and managed to actually cast Samuel L. Jackson for the role. This despite the fact that comics readers were more used to the grizzled old white guy from the main comics universe. In fact, the Ultimate universe kind of trailed off after a few years and finally ended up just being completely destroyed, with a few breakout characters like Miles Morales being allowed to make the jump into the main universe.

So… Yeah. Hasselhoff very much looked the part.

Also, I wish they’d made better use of Jackson. They keep telling us he’s a badass, but they almost never show him in action, and he hasn’t been very successful when they have.

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EDIT: I started on this post before Rocket posted his better post. deleting text but leaving the images for reference.

Nickfuryshield

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Yeah. The movie version was popular enough that the comics killed off Nick Fury (again - his death has been faked or retconned as having been faked many times) and introduced his previously unknown mixed race illegitimate son, Nick Fury, Jr., who also lost an eye and also works for SHIELD and also bears an uncanny resemblance to Samuel L. Jackson.

Oh no, I knew he was a white guy… I knew enough to be surprised they cast a black actor because it was traditionally a white role. That of course has since become commonplace. What is weird is that while I think we all had a general idea of what most superheros look like, probably more from cartoons and movies. Nick Fury just never seemed to get much farther than the comics. So a capybara with mange could have played Nick Fury in that… movie, and until the MCU my go-to image for Nick Fury would have been Speak.

But wow, thank you for the history lesson, that was awesome!

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And just to make things even more confusing, Nick Fury Sr. is alive and himself again in the comics as of a month or two ago, though now he seems to be operating as a spy at a more cosmic level. Comes about as a result of him having killed Uatu, the Watcher, a few years ago and absconding with one of his eyes. Clearly that failed to take permanently, too, but that’s comics for you these days.

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Wow this movie is over the top. And not very good. Yet oddly fun to watch if you’re in the right mood.

Click the arrow for random thoughts, spoilers, and observations

They kill off Clay Quartermain (brother of adventurer Allan Quartermain, whom you may know from the classic King Solomon’s Mines, first book in the series, which has been remade into several movies over the last century) in the first 5 minutes.

Dum Dum Dugan looks and acts nothing like his comics counterpart and does not even have his signature bowler hat. He’s just kind of middle management now.

Gabriel Jones is now a generic lab scientist rather than an expert marksman and hand-to-hand fighter.

There’s a lot of cigar chomping and manly disregard for the rules.

Nick lets himself get poisoned by the most obvious ploy ever: A woman impersonating his contact gets him alone by telling him there’s a spy, then vamps him, then admits she’s the spy just before zapping him and then kissing him with poison lips. Now he’s got 48 hours to track her down so they can engineer an antidote from her blood. It’s so cliche it hurts. And there’s no reason given for her doing that and letting him go instead of just shooting him other than comic book villain logic. Nor does “You’ll gradually get sicker over the next 48 hours” really track with “the deadliest poison in the world.” Nor does “It’s a poison, but clearly the only possible way she could have administered it is if she’s immune to it, so therefore it must be coded to her DNA, so maybe if we can get a blood sample we can cure you” really make any sense whatsoever.

Dum Dum (I refuse to call him Timothy) says he knows the “prevailing winds” around Manhattan, and that anything released into the air will end up going over NJ and PA and straight out to Ohio in a matter of hours. Which is the exact opposite direction of the jet stream that continually moves prevailing winds in the region to the east.

The plot seems to make sense on paper, but we also spend a lot of time moving from scene to scene without anything really happening except Hasselhoff mugging at the camera.

It is fun to see a couple of minor recurring actors from Stargate: SG-1 having secondary roles playing against each other in the Helicarrier.

They get through a laser sensor grid by spraying the air, which makes a hole in the grid they can just walk through somehow?

Nick’s line “Wait a minute… something’s not right… it’s all been too easy… Let’s go!” is immediately followed by them walking into an ambush and getting captured without a shot.

Andrea Von Strucker is perfectly willing to sacrifice her brother even if everything goes according to plan. Apparently the Fenris Twins (who are not only extremely close siblings, but whose powers require the two of them to physically touch each other’s skin - usually by holding hands) aren’t very much like their comic book counterparts, either.

The other team finds the truck with the virus driving through downtown Manhattan (which is thankfully somehow free of crosstown traffic today) and then just… follow it around for a while? I guess because they’re afraid of accidentally releasing the virus if they move too soon?

Anyway, despite planning to take out all of Manhattan with the virus bomb, for some reason Hydra decides to just drive the truck through Manhattan and over to an abandoned shipyard in New Jersey. They need to have it in a refrigerated truck until it’s ready to be released, but instead of using a food delivery truck or an ice cream truck or something, they put a freezer in the back of a disguised garbage truck, and SHIELD is able to spot the anomaly with satellite thermal scans. Seems like all that could have been avoided if they’d just started with the truck in NJ.

Then, instead of taking out the bad guys while they set up the truck to launch the missiles (why are they releasing a virus in the form of missiles?), Val’s team hides and watches them. She wants to coordinate with Nick’s team (who have been out of contact after their plane was shot down and then they walked into an ambush), but it really seems like taking these guys down before they can arm the missiles would stop Hydra’s plan literally before it gets off the ground. I can’t believe there’s another half hour to this movie.

It is interesting to see another version of Contessa Valentina Allerga de Fontaine (played in the MCU by Julia Louis-Dreyfus), Nick Fury’s former lover who eventually goes evil.

I was not familiar with Alexander Pierce, but he does have some history working as a SHIELD agent in the comics. He’s the bad guy in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, played by Robert Redford. In that movie, he’s a SHIELD agent secretly a higher-up in Hydra, who is the one who orders them to send the Winter Soldier to take out Cap.

Kate Neville is a minor character who appeared in the comics only briefly before Strucker killed her. She did not have telepathic powers in the comics.

Okay. Finally. Ten minutes later in the movie and Val took out the team at the missile truck. But there’s a remote detonator that she doesn’t have the code to disarm. And… with 20 minutes until the missiles are due to fire and complete control of the truck, she apparently has no other possible way to prevent the launch?

At least they make good fun use of some SHIELD gadgets. An LMD. Nick Fury’s missing eye is a hidden bomb. And his gun is keyed to his biometrics, so when the bad guy confiscates it and tries to use it, it zaps him instead. It’s kind of stupid because the bad guy in question is evil supergenius Arnim Zola, who should know better, especially because Fury warned him about it. But what can you do? They also don’t really explain where Fury was while his LMD was in charge, how he managed to get through the base undetected, or how he knew to arrive just after it died.

Andrea: I will see you in Hell for this!
Nick: Ha. We’ll do lunch.
Gabe: Quite a woman, Nicholas.
Nick: Too high-maintenance for me.

It’s so cheesy you just gotta love it.

And then Andrea escapes and Nick can only grunt in pain (from the poison) and watch her slowly descend into the escape shaft while he’s surrounded by dozens of SHIELD agents with the Helicarrier hovering ahead. Doesn’t anyone have a grenade or something?

But, no. That’s everything except the final wrap-up and setting up for the sequel that never happened.

Nick says he’s considering giving up smoking because there are all these bad guys out to kill him, so “Why should I help them along?” To which Val (wittily?) replies “Big words for a one-eyed man.” Which makes zero sense, but apparently the writers thought that was good enough to be the last line. (Save for the obligatory epilog where the bad guys cackle about how they’re still evil.)

It’s no wonder this was a mega-flop when it first aired. But as archival cheese, it’s a great way to pass the time.

Protected by the god of hair care

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Mystery Men. I haven’t seen that movie in too long. That was fantastic.

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Eddie killed it as Tony P.
That movie is underappreciated.

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Mystery Men is a movie that I still associate with that Smash Mouth track, All Star, rather than the movie Shrek.

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