Sunday Discussion: Double the Hulk, Double the Fun!
by Alex Billington
June 8, 2008
It might be just a little hard to remember, but a mere five years ago most of us were standing in line to see Hulk. Now it's time to do it all over again from scratch. Here's an interesting experiment: just before you go see The Incredible Hulk next weekend, sit down and watch all two hours of Ang Lee's Hulk. I think you're head might explode with too much Hulk, but if you're a big enough fan, it should be enjoyable, right? For the first time ever we're seeing a comic book character completely rebooted only five years from the first attempt. While we do see a lot of franchises rebooted, for example Batman or Friday the 13th, they're never within such rapid succession. How will this play out for the Hulk? We'll find out on Friday...
First things first, let me address the current buzz for The Incredible Hulk. Marvel knows that the big green guy is the second most well known comic character in the world (next to Spider-Man), which is a good thing, but there's a problem. People still have a very sour taste in their mouth from the first Hulk that hit theaters on June 20th, 2003, just about five years back. Normally with franchises that get rebooted we tend to clear our minds of all the previous films, but this time Hulk isn't a franchise. It is in the comics, but on film, Hulk is only a single failed attempt. And that's the problem with this film - everyone is looking forward to it, in theory, but they're not, because there's mass confusion.
What confusion? Well, the first question on everyone's mind is: "Didn't they just make this?" or "Why are they making another Hulk so soon?" All valid questions, but we know the answer - because the first one sucked. The other half of all of the confusion stems from the first film as well. Is this a remake, a reboot, or a sequel? That may seem like a stupid question to you or me, but go ask any regular citizen down at the movie theater and you'll find they don't know the answer to that. Officially, it's a reboot, basicly they're starting from scratch with the belief that the first movie doesn't even exist. Unfortunately it does.
I find this whole Hulk scenario very intriguing just because the other Hulk movie is so prevalent in my mind. It never had the chance to become a franchise, so we can't shrug it off and move on like Batman. The original Tim Burton Batman got three sequels before it died. And then came Batman Begins, and although Batman & Robin was terrible, it was part of the original series and instantly forgettable. I guess I'm wondering if that's what is going to happen with Hulk. I think most people have already quickly forgot about Ang Lee's Hulk anyway, but now if this new Incredible Hulk is as good as everyone is hoping it will be, then Ang Lee's movie is really going to fade away and be forgotten forever.
Although we've been doing nothing but hyping The Incredible Hulk, because it truly does look good, I'm curious to find people who are not looking forward to it. Actually, I'm wondering why they aren't looking forward to it and I'm wondering if it has anything to do with Ang Lee's Hulk? Is there anyone that believes the original movie was satisfying enough and this one isn't necessary? Please speak up if you do. Just how much of an impact will the failure of the original Hulk have on this one?
My prediction: Hulk is going to destroy the box office like he's going to destroy the Abomination, which is a remarkable feat. Last year I wasn't sure what to expect, but Marvel and Universal have done a great job of showing us exactly what we needed to get excited. They're smothering the old Hulk because they know that all comic book fans want is a Hulk that's just going to kick ass and beat the living crap out of the Abomination (and everyone else that gets in his way). I'm certain it's going to deliver, thanks in part to director Louis Leterrier. But will Eric Bana's Hulk get in the way of Edward Norton's Hulk? We'll find out who will win that fight in under a week.