Hulk Smash Puny Box Office!

Hulk need Me Time!

I hear you, brother.

How was your weekend, everybody? Did you find time to get out and see the new Hulk movie?

I don’t know about you, but The Hulk and Also Other Avengers wildly exceeded my expectations. Marvel’s strategy of doing two practice movies before putting out the real one paid off in spades. Before I saw this movie, I heard a couple of people who got an early peek say, “This one has the ideal, definitive Hulk Moment in it”; for the last hour or so of the movie, every time he was on the screen, I thought, “Awesome! That was obviously the moment they were talking about… no, wait, it was that one… No! It was that one. Each moment is more of a moment than the previous moment.”

Mark Ruffalo, who I shamefully admit once seemed like an off-the-wall choice to me, knocked it so far out of the park it wrecked some guy’s windshield on the roof of the neighboring parking garage. He had a measly couple of hours to embody the role, and by the time the credits rolled I couldn’t imagine anyone else doing it. It was like the second coming of Hugh Jackman.

In the car on the way home from the theater, my wife alleged that the movie was about other things as well, such as Chris Hemsworth’s abs, Chris Evans’ abs, and the musk of Robert Downey Jr. I love her, but the poor dear doesn’t read comics. She wouldn’t know a Hulk movie if it tore through its shirt and roared in her face for no reason.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could, in your daily life, get away with roaring in someone’s face? Or rather, wouldn’t it be great if I could get away with that? SPOILER ALERT! The answer is yes. It would be great. I think about doing it roughly four times a week, but I don’t get to.

The preceding paragraph summarizes the appeal of the Hulk. If you love him, that’s probably why you love him. I said as much four years ago to former iFangirl Sonia Harris when she asked each of us which superhero we most resembled; like good ol’ Bruce, I am “mild-mannered, but fighting the urge to go ‘RAWWWWR!’ and begin a rampage that levels most of the American southwest.”

I wish I could have Cap’s indefatigable ideals. I wish I could have Tony Stark’s confidence, smarts, and confidence in his smarts. Hell, I wish I could have Hawkeye’s vision. I don’t. The Hulk, though? The Hulk I get.

Jim Hulk

Hulk not walking around all night with face makeup on. Hulk have limits.

Who among us hasn’t had customer service that made us think, “Oh, man, if I could bring this place down around your ears right now, just to see the look on your face…”? Who hasn’t been stuck in traffic behind a hundred people who are gawping at an accident that isn’t even on this side of the highway and fantasized about plowing through it all to just get home and be left alone for a while? Maybe I’m projecting, but my guess is that being The Person You Just Don’t Want To Mess With is appealing to more or less everyone.

Unfortunately, “Hulk media” has had a hard time tapping into this. It’s not even their fault, really; narratively, the Hulk story has a lot of problems built into it. Somehow, we ended up with a story about an amazing, rampaging monster which by necessity frequently has to take place in university labs. Giving the audience a real chance to taste the excitement of laboratory science. “Remember the scene where they have to put a colored fluid in a glass thing, and then watch a DOS program on a black and green monitor?” you can hear the teenage boys say at no time in recorded history.

Filmed Hulk stories are also allergic to supporting casts for some reason. The TV show never even had the same setting twice in a row; every week, the Hulk went to a new town and met completely different people we’d never see again. It’s a miracle that show ever got a whole season. At least the A-Team had each other to play off of. What does Bruce get? Betty and her dad in a tank? “Well, the main character may be tortured and dour, but at least he has no one to talk to.” Well done, everybody.

Now, though, we have seen how it could be. We’ve seen the Hulk as a petulant, simian child. We’ve seen a world-weary Banner resigned to his fate and focused on emotional triage. We’ve seen him interact with people who know and understand him, and we’ve seen how he plays with others. There is no going back.

This weekend all but guarantees another Hulk movie, albeit one with yet another entirely different supporting cast. How does it follow this one? What should it be? How likely is it to be what it should be? I will leave these questions for you to answer in the comments below. In the meantime, we Hulk fans are left to bask in the glow of a movie that finally “gets” our guy. May he find a director worthy of him as Disney rushes his next picture out within eighteen months.

 


Jim Mroczkowski jeers the death of theater etiquette but cheers the dawn of HD video on demand. Sorry, theater chains. You need bouncers.

Comments

  1. Word. I’m on the non-customer side of tech support calls all day, and I definitely fight the urge to smash. Especially when sitting in traffic on the way home.

    Hulk definitely stole the show.

  2. Here’s something that might bug me on the next Hulk movie:

    While the line “I’m always angry” was great it made me think…..Why would he be so upset being Hulk now? The point of his role in the movie seemed to be that he is now more comfortable turning into the Hulk. So what is the drama of this movie? Cause how could anyone in the government try and kill Banner now considering he’s got Tony Stark and the freakin Avengers on his side now?

    I’m sure they’ll find something to raise the stakes but the obvious stories don’t seem to work now cause of this movie.

    • Timmy Wood (@TimmyWood) says:

      The last thing I want to see is Hulk vs Big Government. We have seen that twice already and both were kind of boring.
      Hulk vs Aliens, Hulk vs monsters, Hulk vs Fing Fame Foom. That’s what we want to see.

      The hulk movies should be like the Godzilla movies. We have a terrible crisis and the only think that could stop it is the Hulk.
      But..but..the Hulk is so dangerous.
      I know..I know.

    • If we could make a Hulk movie and replace all the dialogue with TERRIBLE ADR I would pay big money for that.

      “It is Hulk! We must flee!” (and the mouth still moves for 2 extra seconds)

    • I agree with TimmyWood – Nothing would be bore me more (ok that’s exaggerating) than another Hulk Vs. Army movie.

    • Well didn’t they set up ‘The Leader’ in Norton’s movie? That’s probably what they’ll do….

      (GASP)

      Or can we finally have MODOK in canon!?

    • Unlike his cousin Fin Fang Foom, Fing Fame Foom would battle the Hulk with all the terrible power of inner city High School perfomance arts.

  3. I saw it twice in two days and both times had a real, loud laugh at him smashing Loki. The whole timing of that scene was perfect all around.

  4. “Mark Ruffalo, who I shamefully admit once seemed like an off-the-wall choice to me, knocked it so far out of the park it wrecked some guy’s windshield on the roof of the neighboring parking garage.”

    Don’t feel bad, this happens for 80% of the fanbase for 99% of the casting choices.

  5. Among other feelings and thoughts, Avengers made me really really want to read a Hulk book. I have never read a Hulk book, except for random issues when I was young. I’ve thought about trying the current Hulk books but for some reason the art/concepts that are currently going on don’t interest me.

    But I want to read about this Hulk! I’m going to have go find some older trades.

    • I felt the same way up until last year… for me, Jeff Parker’s Hulk book has vastly exceeded my expectation for Hulk comics. It doesn’t feature the Bruce Banner Hulk, but you might want to give a shot to the Parker/Hardman issues sometime.

  6. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m FAIRLY secure in my understanding that Hulk is strongest one there is.

    Would that be an accurate assessment?

  7. I loved the Hulk in this movie.
    The best part is in the future, Banner can be more aware of himself as the Hulk, and be more controlled. It won’t just be Hulk smashing wildly at the government. He can actively attack Abomination, or Fin Fang Foom, or aliens

    Also, hulk is now no longer a 16ft tall body builder who is green and furious. He is a 9 or 10 ft tall Goliath who sometimes moves with an apelike walk. It’s perfect!

  8. I SOOO love the fact that Marvel movies are no longer afraid of going to a cosmic scale (first fail was FF4 sequel), so now… bring on PLANET HULK!

    • PLANET HULK wouldn’t work if they make it before Avengers 2 because Hulk is with the Avengers right now and if the Avengers send him onto space in Hulk 3 people would want to know what happened that was so bad that the Avengers would send him into space and there wouldn’t be enough screen time in Hulk 3 to show that. You would have to show Hulk’s meltdown in Avengers 2 or 3. Whichever Avengers movie ces before Hulk 3.

  9. I’d love to see Bruce living at Stark Tower and working with Tony on his clean energy thing when all of a sudden weird gamma radiation surges start popping up and Tony sends Bruce out with a few gadgets to figure it out and he stumbles onto a scheme by the Leader(introduced in Norton movie) and he’s the only one who can stop it because he can’t contact the other Avengers. Make it a big threat that it almost seems like he can’t beat. Maybe throw the U-Foes in there.

    • I love the idea of a Bruce/Tony buddy movie.

    • It’d be great to have Tony in a glorified cameo for the first 20 minutes and then Bruce goes off on his own. You can even have a SHIELD agent like Maria Hill tag along just so Ruffalo has someone to bounce ideas off of.

  10. I have 2 words for the next Hulk solo movie:

    Leader Hulk

  11. I’ve never been a Hulk fan and the previous Hulk movies have only underscored that point. The Avengers movie made clear that the Hulk is a great character but to me he may only work as part of a larger story.

    If the story involves Hulk simply smashing something big enough to hurt him then you lose a lot of nuance and you get into Michael Bay territory of just making everything BIGGER.

  12. I don’t hate The Hulk anymore. That’s how excellent this movie is.

  13. Of course Hulk has a weak supporting cast. After all, the guy just wants to be left alone.

  14. 2 words, Planet Hulk

  15. Jeff Reid (@JeffRReid) says:

    I certainly hope that a future Hulk movie isn’t about him versus the military again. Seeing a Hulk on screen with Bruce Banner-level intelligence could be interesting. Has that ever been done outside of the comics? I just want to see Gray Hulk hanging around Las Vegas in a white tux.

  16. I actually want Planet Hulk…It’s too soon to have the Avengers jettison him into Space, but have him abducted, or sent there by the Loki as revenge, or whatever…But basically, I’m thinking of the Hulk starring in John Carter from Mars, and I think…Yeah, I’d pay money to see that.

    Love the Hulk=Godzilla analogy. That’s it exactly. Just like Superman, you need to give him someone that can actually challenge him.

    • Considering how badly “John Carter” was received, I have a feeling anyone at Disney would run from such an idea like it was a gamma bomb. But, if Ruffalo is under contract for 6 more movies as Banner, you would think at least one is a solo film. Of course, what “appears in 6 more films” means could be lots of things. Maybe he’ll show up in everyone else’s movies rather than star in one of his own. But that would only account for 4 (IM3, Thor 2, Cap 2, Avengers 2), so two solo films? One solo film and one undisclosed project?

    • I’d guess Avengers 2 and 3, maybe a cameo in Iron Man 3 since Stark and him were so buddy buddy. then 2 solo movies and maybe a cameo in the Black Widow/Hawkeye movie.

  17. I actually loved every hero in this movie more than I liked them in their own movies (exception: Thor, whom I completely loved in both). And I love that the way Hulk was used in this film sets him up for a better chance at succeeding in his next solo film. Though I did really enjoy the Incredible Hulk, and I hope they still use The Leader (that was great casting too).

  18. I hate The Hulk. Pretty much always have (except for when he was “The Professor/Merged Hulk”, which was awesome).

    But I gotta say, The Hulk was awesome in this movie and I think you’re right that the lack of a supporting cast (which I don’t think all heroes need, but it never hurts) has been one of The Hulk’s numerous problems. I don’t personally think Ruffalo was all that great (a bit better than Norton, but I still prefer Bana overall), but he didn’t do anything wrong.

    Bottom line, The Hulk was a joy to watch in The Avengers and he provided the single most *satisfying* moment in the whole movie.

  19. Best thing about this article after Hulk?

    Me finding this honest gem: “Jim Mroczkowski jeers the death of theater etiquette but cheers the dawn of HD video on demand. Sorry, theater chains. You need bouncers.”

    Too true, Jim. Too true.

    • Oh, my God. The people on Friday night were such @$$holes, I had to go back Saturday night, only to be greeted by a completely new set of @$$holes.

    • A theater around here has these Cinema Suites that are awesome – assigned seating, recliners, and best of all no one under 21. It was glorious.

    • Our local theater turned had a strict “No one under 10 years old allowed” for 1 of the 4 screens they were showing the movie on. If only they’d had a strict deodorant policy as well.

  20. It’s really cool to see this from the perspective of a dedicated Hulk fan. Just about everybody I’ve talked to about the movie mentioned how great the Hulk plot is first (which is pretty impressive since this is ALSO the best Captain America movie I can imagine — and we already had a pretty good one — and a hell of a lot better than I’d imagined we’d get of a Black Widow movie; Hulk doesn’t just shine because there’s no competition, is what I’m saying.) But none of those folks were avowed Hulk fans (or, at best, haven’t been fans since the TV of their childhood), so it’s particularly cool to read this from you.

    Did we ever establish what the greatest Hulk moment ever was? Was it, “I’m always angry?” Punching Thor? Using Loki as a rag doll? That last moment might sincerely have ruined monologuing narcissistic villains for me, forever. I’m going to be watching “Richard III” at the local theater in a month and I’m going to go, “OH MY GOD WILL HULK COME GRAB HIM BY THE LEG AND JUST START WHAMMING HIM INTO THE STAGE?!”