Remake & Reboot: The Hulk Movie

He’s big; He’s green; and he’s one of the most recognizable characters in comics today. But how come he’s never been able to make a big screen verso work?

The Hulk has been the subject of two major motion pictures in the past ten years; each made back their budget (and then some), but failed to live up to the super-sized performances of their colleagues and counterparts such as Iron Man, The Dark Knight Returns, Spider-man and X-Men. Each film saw the studios revamp and recast its primary roles, and in light of the upcoming 2012 film The Avengers puts noted actor Mark Ruffalo in the green-skinned guise of Bruce Banner. Shortly after Ruffalo was announced for the role of the Hulk in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel’s newly-minted TV department announced that Guillermo del Toro and David Eick were working on a TV series. Putting that aside for now, a successful outing in Joss Whedon’s The Avengers film would prime the pump and begin the speculation on if a third time is the charm for a Hulk movie.

Instead of waiting until summer 2012 however, let’s dig in and see what a rejuvenated Hulk movie could look like.

The Concept

Although word isn’t out as to what happens to the Hulk in next year’s The Avengers, there’s room for speculation on the other side of the Marvel movie-verse. Instead of trying to revisit and retell the Hulk’s origin so soon after the early 2000s Ang Lee film, that origin could be accomplished in the opening credits akin to the opening sequence in Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely’s All-Star Superman. With that out of the way, a new Hulk film could show an enterprising Hulk superfan such as Amadeus Cho out to find the reclusive Bruce Banner who is on the run from S.H.I.E.L.D. While trying to stay in the shadows, Cho pulls Banner out into society just in time to see the rise of the Absorbing Man fresh from prison breakout and hyped up with powers thanks to Loki. Bruce Banner embracing the powers of the Hulk to stop a super-powered threat such as Absorbing Man while trying to stay two steps ahead of S.H.I.E.L.D. I’d keep Betty Ross in the picture but off-screen for this new film, instead having her communicate to Banner by letter and voice-over.

The Director:

In his past two outings, the Hulk has had two acclamed and diverse directors in Ang Lee and Louis Leterrier; maybe it’s time to treat The Hulk like the monster movie it is and enlist Monsters filmmaker Gareth Edwards. He’s already shown he knows special effects and how to direct a movie using them without overpowering the story behind it. He’s already been put on standby to revamp the Godzilla franchise for American audiences, but maybe he should trade up his green-skinned goliaths and call Marvel his home.

The Cast:

The Hulk / Mark Ruffalo:

Although he’s yet to hulk out on the big screen, Ruffalo’s excitement showed through in a recent MTV interview hyping up next year’s The Avengers. The award-winning actor could turn it up the volume on a super-hero suspense story that can be quality without forsaking its blockbuster potential.

The Absorbing Man / Dominic Purcell:

He may not seem like the A-List villain needed to fill out the villain role in a Marvel movie, but with some expert screenwriting and awesome special effects “Crusher” Creel could be a formidable presence. Although he’s yet to carry a major motion picture on his own, Prison Break’s Dominic Purcell has the look, the background and the chops to be a force to be reckoned with.

Amadeus Cho / Aaron Yoo:

Although he’s relatively new to comics in the broad scale of things, Amadeus Cho could be a male-equivalent to Kat Dennings’ Darcy in Thor will some amazingly cerebral humor and tactics. More than just a tech-guy for a hero to call, Cho could be the viewer’s own vantage point into the Hulk world and make it seem real and still supernaturally awesome.


In the grand tradition of Marvel 'seeding' films with potential spin-offs, nods to comic continuity and just plain nerd bait, here's two ideas for Kevin Fiege to consider. The first would be to pit young attorney Jennifer Walters as the public defender of Absorbing Man prior to his prison escape, leading her to be injured in his breakout. Second would be in the end-credits scene: imagine waiting in a darkened theatre to see the Illuminati meeting up to discuss jettisoning the rampaging Hulk off the Earth and into a “Planet Hulk”-eque storyarc for the second film.


  1. This is a difficult one. I really liked Norton’s Hulk because it kept it simple and with a simple theme, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde as a fugitive from the government. I think any reboot would have to explore a similar theme. I would prefer a sequel, like Norton’s Hulk did. It set up the Leader as the next villain. I think that would be a good contrast, that of brute strength versus overwhelming intellect. The Hulk needs things to batter so get the Leader to design big robots for the Hulk to fight. The theme of wrestling with your inner rage should be explored, as should the abuse Banner suffered as a child.

  2. For my money, the character that’s important in a Hulk movie is Bruce Banner.  If you want to do a Hulk movie on the cheap, you make it like any werewolf movie.  Just Bruce in a crater waking up in tattered clothing with the whole “What did I do last night?”  We see the destruction of the Hulk, but none of the actual Hulk.  Then he starts investigating.  The guilt gets to him.  He must know what the Hulk did.  He gets mixed up with a Hulk fanbase and then learns of who it was the Hulk was fighting.  Things start coming back to him and begins to understand the villain.  Then, of course, he has to come to terms with the fact that the Hulk is the only thing that can stop him, so he willfully becomes the Hulk.  In that 3rd act, we get the payoff of the big monster on monster fight.

  3. Hulk strongest one there is. Hulk smash puny movie critics.

  4. @MajorLaser  Right there with you man. I actually just rewatched The Incredible Hulk a couple of nights ago, and still love everything about it. As frustrating as it is that Norton is gone, he wasn’t the only thing that was good about the movie. If they can, I say Marvel Studios brings back as much of the cast and crew as they can, and drop Mark Ruffalo in as Banner, and move forward with Leader arc they introduced in The Incredible Hulk. The last thing I think the Hulk property needs or the American public has patience for is Hulk: The Reboot: Part Trois.

  5. What I liked about the first Hulk movie is they took Bana’s looks and translated them as a giant steriod green monster.  In the second one Hulk looked like a male model and not even slightly like Norton.  Who was that guy? Norton or green Tom Brady?  Oh and the Abomination shoulda been renamed the Abortion cause he looked like one.  Why why why wouldn’t you go with his classic look from the comics?  Really at his point I look at the Hulk as done. Don’t want another one and should be kept as a secondary character in movies like Hawkeye.

  6. Marvel just needs to grow some stones ala Dark Knight with the Joker & give us an Interesting Hulk. In other words, not the same dumb brute the last 2 films & even the tv series gave us. It’s time for the ruthless Joe Fixit.

  7. I thought Hulk was going to be a member of the Avengrs?

  8. @darklighter1. hehe The abortion, funny. But seriously though, isn’t the Abonination in the comics more reptillian? They went with the boney look as it was marginely more plausible as he was having those injections in his back. Also the Hulk is known around the world, a random person on the street will know who he is, the same can’t be said of Hawkeye. He’s up there with Spiderman and Captain America in the general publics conciousnes. For that reason a Hulk movie will always be touted!

  9. I don’t feel hulk needs a reboot, not creatively anymay. I liked the last two just fine.

  10. Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @JNewcomb  This isn’t so much a reboot as a next step after The Avengers movie. 

  11. @PaulMontgomery  Ah yes, I suppose you’re right.

  12. I hope the next Hulk movie continues where the two previous ones left off since they are sort of connected.  The second movie planted seeds with both the Leader and Doc Samson.  I agree with many of the ideas on here.  I’d like to see Banner struggling to deal with his inner monster, but beginning to learn how to control it, as was hinted at in the end of the last movie.  (But please, no Banner’s mind with Hulk’s body.  There must be tension.).  And then the Leader comes on the scene.  Maybe he somehow suppresses Banner’s intellect, allowing the Savage Hulk to go berserk.  Betty gets killed in the mayhem, which brings Banner’s greatest fear to reality. Hulk really goes off the deep end, causing epic, global level carnage and destruction a la Kid Miracleman.  He levels entire regions of the country.  The Avengers are dispatched to deal with this extinction level event.  It’s a brutal fight, with casualties.  They enlist the help of the Marvel U’s resident psychiatrist, Doc Samson, who is somehow the key to defusing the Hulk.  Maybe he uses the the progress Banner made in controlling the Hulk.  It concludes with the Avengers shooting him into space.  I really want a tragic, horror story. 

  13. Didn’t they just reboot the Hulk with Ed Norton? We need another reboot? The last one didn’t fix it?

  14. Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Again. It’s not a reboot. It’s a continuation of the Ed Norton movie which continues into the Avengers. The series of articles is simply called Remake and Reboot.