A month after the amazing Iron Man released in theaters, a new Hulk followed. Releasing only 5 years after Ang Lee’s Hulk, this version had a lot to prove. Audiences were slightly confused with the new version. It acted like a slight reboot and a sequel, with some using the awful term requel to describe the movie.
Originally intended to be a sequel to Lee’s Hulk, Universal missed the production deadline. The sequel was to be about the gray version of the Hulk with the newly formed Marvel Studios bankrolling. In early 2006, Marvel announced that they had the rights back, and would create their own version of the movie. Choosing to look at Lee’s Hulk as a one off, they wanted to start from scratch, streamlining many concepts. The sequel initially was to have Hulk fight an actual villain in the form of Abomination and Leader. Most of the elements were retained for the final product.
Zak Penn (X2, Electra, Avengers) turned in 3 drafts before leaving the project. Shortly after, Edward Norton was signed on to star which included writing duties. Norton worked on the script daily, with the final product not being completed until half way through shooting. In what amounted to a messy situation, Penn was given writers guild credit for the movie. WGA only looks at basic plot elements. Considering Norton mostly changed dialogue, it didn’t count.
Louis Leterrier lobbied as the direct of Iron Man, with the position ultimately going to Jon Favreau. Leterrier was offered Hulk instead. Originally, he balked, saying he didn’t think he could match the style or tone of Lee’s Hulk. Learning that Marvel was going in a different direction, he took on the project.
Wisely, the opening credits for the movie recapped the origin of the Hulk. While origin superhero movies tend to be the best, I usually find them a little boring. I understand the purpose, as most audiences don’t know these heroes. Seeing how they wisely avoided this, getting right to the action, gave me a vote of confidence. One element that I thought would confuse audiences was starting with Banner in Brazil. Lee’s Hulk ended with Banner working as a doctor in a rainforest. This might lead people to think this was more of a sequel, picking up after the events of the last, for anyone who remembered. I doubt many did.
Falling in line with the rest of Marvel’s upcoming projects, the Hulk showed many elements of a shared universe. S.H.I.E.L.D. was shown once or twice, assisting General Ross in Banner’s apprehension. It was also revealed the Hulk was created from project Pegasus, which was the governments attempts to recreate Captain America. The same process was used to create the Abomination. And finally was the post credits tag, or pre-credits tag. It was moved around. The final scene had Ross drinking at a bar with Tony Stark himself, Robert Downey Jr., coming in to offer assistance with the Hulk. This ultimately amounted to nothing, but still cool.
Shortly after the movie, Edward Norton was let go, and replaced with Mark Ruffalo as Banner in the Avengers. While I am a huge Norton fan and really like his performance as Banner, I think this ultimately worked out better. Ruffalo had amazing chemistry with Downey, and did an amazing job in the Avengers.
Incredible Hulk is a great movie. Sadly, it’ll probably be the last Hulk feature we’ll get for some time. Marvel has realized that the Hulk works better in a supporting role, rather than anchoring a movie. I’m sure we’ll still see plenty of smashing in the up coming Avengers movies.
Which Hulk do you like best, Ruffalo, Norton, Bana, or Bixby/Ferrigno? Comment below!
Saw it at midnight. Project broke halfway through and we waited 25 minutes for it to be fixed.