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Hilarious MCU Knockoffs You Didn't Know Existed

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a cultural and economic powerhouse. By bringing Marvel Comics' many stories and characters to the big screen, it's raked in billions of dollars, inspired the next generation of filmmakers, and changed cinema forever. But with great popularity comes a slew of knockoffs looking to profit off the MCU's success. These "mockbusters" range from direct rip-offs of MCU films to vaguer attempts to mirror the MCU's most winning formulas. Occasionally, they simply parody major hits like "Iron Man" and "Guardians of the Galaxy." Though they try their hardest to confuse someone into buying them, low budgets, lackluster narratives, and downright silly visuals tend to reveal their true nature — and make them unintentionally hilarious.

How hilarious are we talking, exactly? Think "The Room," but with superheroes. Purple Hulks, canine Avengers, and clunky monikers like "Metal Man" and "Captain Battle" abound here. Cheap stock footage is constant. Asgardians occasionally pull out modern firearms. These 10 MCU knockoffs are sure to give you a good chuckle — if you don't turn them off first.

The Amazing Bulk

Imagine, for a second, a Hulk who isn't the muscular green man Bruce Banner transforms into, and is instead a huge, purple, un-muscular blob some dude named Hank Howard becomes. That's what "The Amazing Bulk" essentially boils down to, as a direct knockoff of "The Incredible Hulk." Released four years after Marvel's "The Incredible Hulk" hit theaters, this film attempts to mimic the action-packed Hollywood blockbuster with very cheesy results.

Like the MCU film it apes, "The Amazing Bulk" is about a mild-mannered scientist who turns into a massive monster, pursues a romance with a general's daughter, and eventually does battle against a big, bad villain. However, the finer details of the plot are so convoluted and nonsensical, it makes the so-so MCU original seem like a masterpiece. Amidst a whirlwind of bad iMovie-style imagery and terrible acting, plot details regarding murder, mustache-twirling villains, and purple science grow ever more tangled and confusing. Moreover, as director Lewis Schoenbrun revealed in an interview with Ninja Dixon, much of the movie is made up of stock footage. To say it shows would be an understatement: "The Amazing Bulk" might just be one of the cheapest-looking movies ever made.

Almighty Thor

Released on the Syfy network the same year "Thor" hit theaters, 2011's "Almighty Thor" pits Thor and Loki against each other in a truly lackluster conflict. The plot amounts to an incredibly basic version of what happens in the MCU film: Thor must journey to Earth to get his mighty hammer back, lest disaster befall the universe. Interestingly, however, "Almighty Thor" kicks off with Odin's death, an event which doesn't take place in the MCU until 2017's "Thor: Ragnarok." "Almighty Thor" also features decent enough CGI effects, "The Lord of the Rings"-style fonts, and a corny trailer voiceover.

This all adds up to a movie with a comically generic air of medieval fantasy. Most of the characters wield a sword at some point (even Thor himself) and wear a mish-mash of Nordic-looking and English knight-esque clothing and armor. What results feels more like a spoof of swords-and-sorcery action movies than a take on the MCU film. There is, however, one truly hilarious moment in "Almighty Thor": In the midst of battle, Thor pulls out a gun he somehow knows how to use.

Thunderstorm: The Return of Thor

2011's "Thunderstorm: The Return of Thor" is a low-budget "Thor" knockoff with an interesting twist. Rather than follow the Asgardian god, it centers around an everyday human who's given Thor's powers to defeat the evil Hel. Exploring a "chosen one" narrative on Earth while still including Norse mythology keeps "Thunderstorm: The Return of Thor" from directly mimicking the MCU film's beats. It does, however, echo "Thor: Ragnarok," which pits a hammerless Thor against Hela, his sinister sister. It seems these knockoff "Thor" flicks have a talent for predicting the MCU character's future, but not for being any good.

"Thunderstorm: The Return of Thor" falls prey to all the classic mockbuster flaws. Like so many flicks of this kind, those issues also make it hilarious. It's hard not to laugh at villains like the Death Risers, whose evil plan to destroy the world is nowhere near intimidating enough to keep them from seeming goofy. The movie is also packed with lackluster graphics and clunky direction: Every scene looks like something the filmmakers had to get in one take. "Thunderstorm: The Return of Thor" has earned a lowly audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, calculated from fewer than 50 reviews. While this honestly reflects how poor the movie is at being a genuinely exciting adventure, it doesn't represent how truly funny it can be when seen with the right attitude.

Captain Battle: Legacy War

2013's "Captain Battle: Legacy War" is a blatant knockoff of 2011's "Captain America: The First Avenger." It also feels like an alternate universe version of that MCU film — specifically, an alternate universe where everyone is hopped up on way too much caffeine. Main character Sam Battle, a veteran of the Gulf War, is injected with some sort of super-soldier serum that vastly increases his strength and speed. Like the MCU's Cap, he fights Nazis — though of course, in this case, they're neo-Nazis. Things get even more extreme with the introduction of the Necromancer, a wicked sorceress who wants to resurrect Adolf Hitler and Nazism at large. 

"Captain Battle: Legacy War" also features knockoffs of Black Widow and the Red Skull, though the former character is reduced to standing around and looking pretty. This bumped-up flirt factor doesn't stop there, either: The trailer for "Captain Battle: Legacy War" manages to feature multiple damsels in distress for no apparent narrative reason. Unsurprisingly, "Captain Battle: Legacy War" has not gone over well with fans. But its cherry-picked MCU details, ridiculously poor costumes, and over-the-top Nazi-centric plot are also pretty hysterical. Captain Battle might not be anyone's favorite Cap, but you can't say he's not memorable.

Metal Man

2008's "Metal Man" is an obvious "Iron Man" wannabe that takes things to ridiculous new levels. Kyle Finn, the Tony Stark equivalent, has a red and gold metal suit that looks quite a bit like the one the MCU hero sports — if a bit more chunky, low-budget, and altogether Halloween costume-ish. But unlike "Iron Man," "Metal Man" also features ninjas, terrifying robots, and college shenanigans. Kyle, who is a goofy undergrad, also gets stuck in the metallic suit, which the villainous Sebastian Reed covets. At least Tony never had to deal with that particular issue.

"Metal Man" certainly made the most of its meager assets, having releases in 2008, 2009, and 2010. Despite this, the film is only sparsely available, and mostly discussed in online corners full of people looking to laugh at its absurdity. Indeed, the majority of the press "Metal Man" has enjoyed has come from outlets looking to chuckle at its ridiculousness, like "Bad Movie Beatdown." But amusing people is better than slipping into the night unnoticed. By that measure, "Metal Man" has done pretty well.

Guardian of the Universe

Fans went wild for 2014's "Guardians of the Galaxy." Knockoffs were inevitable, but 2017's "Neil Stryker and the Tyrant of Time," also released as "Guardian of the Universe," is a particularly weak effort. This movie is, like "Guardians of the Galaxy," set in space, and ... that's pretty much all they have in common. In its defense, it also features goblins, robots, Nazis, and sadistic killers, as well as a plot revolving around an evil time traveler called the Mad Scientist. Moreover, unlike most of the films on this list, it even has some fairly big names attached, including David Ogden Stiers ("M*A*S*H") and Walter Koenig ("Star Trek").

Given its original title, "Guardian of the Universe" seems likely to have been created as a completely independent film, then re-released in an attempt to cash in on the success of "Guardians of the Galaxy." The "Guardian of the Universe" iteration even apes the MCU film's logo and poster imagery. That's pretty much where the similarities end, though. Most glaringly, "Guardian of the Universe" lacks a villain like Ronan the Accuser — the Mad Scientist is an almost Loki-esque baddie, full of schemes and tricks. The trailer even features a shot of him lounging in a bubble-filled bathtub, cackling over his ludicrous schemes. So yeah, "Guardian of the Universe" is a pretty weak MCU rip-off ... but it might be a genuinely fun sci-fi film.


The simply titled "Guardians," which hit the Russian box office in 2017, doesn't quite qualify as a knockoff of the MCU's "Guardians of the Galaxy." Rather, it pulls from multiple corners of the Marvel mythos in an effort to cash in on the franchise's runaway success. "Guardians" is centered around a group of superpowered people created to defend the Soviet Union: Arsus, Khan, Ler, and Xenia. Years after the Cold War comes to an end, they're reunited to face an evil genius. Superheroics ensue, but don't exactly impress.

The ripped-from-the-MCU aspects of this film come thick and fast. "Patriot," the organization that created these Soviet superheroes, is an awful lot like S.H.I.E.L.D. Arsus, who can turn into a huge bear, resembles the Hulk. Khan's super speed is more than a little reminiscent of Quicksilver, and his face mask makes him look like the Winter Soldier. Invisible Xenia rips off Sue Storm, aka Invisible Woman, from the Fantastic Four. You get the picture. For all its MCU mimicry, "Guardians" proved to be a massive critical failure. It's still a pretty hilarious watch, however: There's just something irresistibly entertaining about seeing beloved characters, groups, and subplots pop up in a bizarrely different context.

Avenger Dogs

What if there was an "Air Bud" crossover with the MCU's Avengers? That's basically what 2019's "Avenger Dogs" is, as a kid-friendly, pet-filled spin on the space-borne adventures of 2018's "Avengers: Infinity War" and 2019's "Avengers: Endgame." Super-dogs Skyfetcher and Spaceslobber rally their team of canines to stop a growing evil that is attacking planets across the galaxy. This sinister force isn't a purple tyrant with a magical golden gauntlet, but the resemblance is definitely there — just with cutesy, cosmic dog names.

Much like  the actual "Avengers" movies, "Avenger Dogs" has multiple sequels, including "Avenger Dogs 2: Wonder Dogs" and "Avenger Dogs Christmas," which were both released in 2020. The former flick sees the team of dogs go up against a perilous panther named Sharposky, who controls a universe-threatening doomsday device. This results in an "everyone against Thanos" kind of battle. In the Christmas special, the superpowered pooches try to stop a space tiger named Inala who's out to ruin the holiday for everyone. The animation is poor, the performances are awkward, and the cheese factor is huge. But if there's a kid in your life who loves superheroes and dogs — as so many kids do — they might just love "Avenger Dogs."

Avengers Grimm

2015's "Avengers Grimm" rips off both the MCU's "Avengers" movies and the ABC TV show "Once Upon a Time." It only really pulls the title and premise of a superpowered team fighting against a world-ending evil from the MCU films, however — this is far more rooted in fairy tales than comic books. While battling the evil Rumpelstiltskin in their fantasy realm, storybook princesses Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and Rapunzel get sucked into a portal to the real world. There, they must defeat Rumpelstiltskin before he takes over the Earth ... and learn how to blend into a world with skyscrapers and electricity.

There's something fitting about the way "Avengers Grimm" brings together the MCU and "Once Upon a Time," as they're both Disney properties. Plus, in true Disney sequel-churning fashion, "Avengers Grimm" spawned a follow-up three years later: "Avengers Grimm: Time Wars." In this film, the heroes must hunt Rumpelstiltskin through time itself to stop his evil plan. Funnily enough, this brings to mind 2019's "Avengers: Endgame," which follows the MCU's greatest heroes as they jump through time to stop the big, bad Thanos. "Avengers Grimm" might not be cinematic gold, but if you've ever loved fairy tales, goth-y reboots of fairy tales, or the more butt-kicking Disney princesses, you might just like it.

Italian Spider-Man

"Italian Spiderman" isn't a direct knockoff of the MCU — as it was released in 2007, it actually predates the franchise. But it is a parody of superhero films, including ones with their roots in Marvel Comics. Even more prominently, it's a parody of the long, weird legacy of confused foreign movies about American superheroes. Flicks like 1973's "3 Dev Adam" and 1968's "The Batwoman" star characters who look like Captain America, Spider-Man, and Batwoman, but their stories are entirely original and have little to do with the canonical comics. "Italian Spiderman," which is, in fact, an Australian movie, purports to be a lost film in this tradition.

The titular Italian Spiderman is a cranky, heavyset hero who must safeguard a magical asteroid from Captain Maximum, a villain with his own evil asteroid agenda. There's a whole host of wacky surprises in this film, from surf contests to aggressive penguins to magical growth potions. "Italian Spiderman" even gave birth to a particularly famous meme. Like so many movies on this list, it's hilarious, but it's probably the only one that wants to be. "Italian Spiderman" is a pitch-perfect superhero parody and a nice palate cleanser for anyone who'd like a break from the MCU's big-budget, ultra-polished action.