Marvel almost had it. Marvel almost made a movie devoid of no obvious flaws. Sure, Guardians of the Galaxy had moments of critique. It took getting through the first act to catch its stride (but boy did it hold that stride throughout the rest of the movie!) and it lacked full development of the villain Ronan. But beyond that, there were no glaring issues that the fantastic script and direction didn’t cover. Even Bautista’s horrible acting was masked by the writing of his character itself that made it seem purposeful. So you sit through this entire movie, you latch on to the story, become acquainted (or in my case reinvigorated) with the characters, and just feel overly satisfied with what you saw. But, you remember, it’s a Marvel movie, it’s going to have a stinger. And then all Hell breaks loose.
Howard the Duck is arguably the most polarizing character in Marvel. Deadpool was briefly able to rival Howard’s ridiculous following of haters and lovers, but Wade has quickly outweighed the scale in his favor. Howard, on the other hand, has been fighting a losing battle for decades. The fact that he has any redeemable followers left is an enigma I can’t understand. But that doesn’t keep the little creep from headlining the stinger and ruining my serene feelings from my movie-going experience. I know I’m not alone in my hatred for Howard, but at the very least most would agree that he brings out feelings of apathy at best.
To clarify my anger, allow me to give a brief history on Howard the Duck. Howard was introduced in 1973 in an issue of Man-Thing. He was and has since been used as a voice of parody directed at pop culture and comics themselves. Yes, someone came up with a talking duck from outer-space that has the sole purpose in comics to make fun of its own medium. Despite their intention of trying to create an existential ideology in comics, they achieved in only creating arguably the most irritating Marvel character in history. He didn’t belong, both in concept and execution, and looked and acted more like a Sunday comic strip than an issue-to-issue standalone character. He was a waste of paper. But in 1986, Howard inexplicably became a waste of celluloid when he got his own movie. Yes, Howard the Duck got a movie before almost every other major Marvel character. It was rumored that two head producers for the film got in a fist fight over who was responsible for greenlighting the film. I fully believe in this rumor. Who could possibly be dimwitted enough to greenlight this crap? Oh…James Gunn is apparently wanting to add himself to that list of dimwits, making it clear he has some sort of love for the character…No, Mr. Gunn, this inexcusable stinger does not demean the fantastic vision you gave us for 2 hours. But it comes really dang close.
Every stinger we have had to this point has had the intention of giving us a feature film with that character (we haven’t gotten Thanos as a main baddie yet, but it is obvious he is in the plans, likely Avengers 3). So that leads me to believe that Gunn is either giving us a stinger for the worst Marvel movie decision in the new phase schedule, or Gunn is unabashedly advocating the production of such a film. Both leave me speechless, but only the former makes me enraged.
Howard the Duck did not deserve his first film. It was a crime he got his shot before 100’s of other Marvel characters. But to get a SECOND film greenlit before the likes of other great (or even mediocre) Marvel characters is flabbergasting. I am now going to entertain you with a list of Marvel characters off the top of my head that deserve a movie (let alone a second) before Howard the Duck. And I truly apologize to those characters and those fans of characters that I miss.
Deadpool (might happen if we’re lucky)
Cable (and dozens of other mutants)
Blackbolt (and the other Inhumans)
Dr. Strange (highly likely to happen)
Agents of Atlas
Heroes for Hire
Cloak and Dagger
and She-Hulk – which should prove just how much I think Howard the Duck would suck.
I am sure I missed many characters worthy of this list, but I think I proved my point. Howard the Duck was a waste of a stinger, let alone any future substantial screen time. Marvel has proven me wrong before, but I think this is a mistake to approach the Howard material again, especially with such solid characters out there that seem like a significantly smaller risk. I’d start a petition, but I don’t think it would get me anywhere.
TL;DR – The Howard the Duck stinger was the worst Marvel stinger yet, reintroducing a character that has long-outstayed his welcome.