I am a big Hulk fan ever since the comic books, the 1970’s TV show and now the movies, but bringing him to life in the big screens has been proven to be a more daunting task than expected. It took 3 different directors and half a dozen writers to make his story work, and while I have no complaints about the CGI in all the films he’s been in, I am; however, disappointed at how he made in the box office, because The Hulk has the potential to break every action movie blockbuster record.
So let’s look at the upbringing of the Hulk in Hollywood…
Ang Lee’s Hulk
Okay I got over how the whole nuclear bomb dessert detonation scene was never showed in the movie as far as the Hulk’s origin is concerned, but there were too many boring scenes that I kept falling asleep halfway through the film even when I watched it in DVD. I loved how Banner (Eric Banna) was depicted as a genius and a weakling (despite his size) and his intimate relationship with Betty (Jennifer Connelly). Josh Lucas stole the show by playing the greedy and jealous (of Banner) military major and how the stand-off hostile relationship between General Ross (Sam Eliot) and David Banner (Nick Nolte) was portrayed. The actors did a great job and I was also impressed at the CGI as I reckoned it was an improvement over the Lou Ferrigno Hulk of the 70’s.
Ang’s Hulk would have had the same feel as Nolan’s Batman Begins, but it fell a couple of notches down with too much drama, too many boring moments and a confusing villain and ending. However, it provided the way for Marvel to understand that hard core Hulk fans doesn’t want a Hollywood version of him, but rather the Hulk tearing through the comic book pages and into the screens, which is why his origins had to be clearly defined.
Louis Letterrier’s Hulk
Letterrier entitled his film The Incredible Hulk but there was nothing incredible about him in that movie. If anything he was somewhere between an upgraded version of the 70’s show and a watered down version of Ang’s Hulk. But don’t get me wrong I loved the CGI and the whole movie I am a Hulk fan after all. It’s just that Hulk was supposed to be very very strong even at his base strength and the angrier he gets the stronger he becomes and yet he had to use a very huge iron chain to restrain The Abomination. The acting was too farfetched and no offense to Ms. Tyler but when I compared how she did as Arwen in The Lord of The Rings movie and how she flanked in The Incredible Hulk; there’s a very huge gap between the 2 characters there. I have no one to blame but the movie director for it, but in his defense he is fairly new to film making.
The definitive feats of the Hulk was achieved only by Ang Lee, he even outlined the Hulk’s abilities in the 2nd disc of the DVD 2-Disc Special Edition when the DVD of the Hulk came out back in 2003. Letterrier’s Hulk had trouble leaping (excuse me, I mean climbing) buildings. I know Spider-Man and Venom climb buildings, but the Hulk? Oh no, no he doesn’t do that ‘cuz he’s got those powerful legs to just leap over them. I really wonder why Letterrier let the CGI guys give Hulk huge calves and feet when he won’t be using them.
Joss Whedon’s Hulk
The third time that Hulk appeared in the movies was the one incarnation of him that went really really close to his comic book version. Now, I thought to myself, finally Joss Whedon did justice to the character and boy what I wouldn’t give to let him be the director of the next Hulk film. Whedon’s Hulk stayed true to the comic books – the one we grew up and became familiar with – the Hulk this time was a culmination of Ang’s and Letterrier’s creation. The things that are noticeable about him in The Avengers was he grew to no more than 9 feet tall, he could leap on top of or over buildings in New York, his strength increases as the fight was getting longer and he said a few lines (barely).
Mark Ruffalo was great at playing Bruce Banner; his subtle looks brought the quiet Banner to life like no other actor could, although I have to say that Edward Norton’s look closely resembles the comic book Banner. I had wished that Hulk got more screen time though, but as soon as I saw Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and the other superheroes I realized that it wasn’t a Hulk movie so I just kept eating my popcorn and enjoyed The Avengers movie a few months ago.