Marvel Studios is on a mission. On a mission to create the greatest film ever known to man. A film that will push the limits of modern cinema and stretch the boundaries of celluloid limitation. This upcoming masterpiece will be centered around one of the greatest characters in the history of the world, and the most important In the Marvel Universe, The Incredible Hulk. For you poor souls that have no idea who the Hulk is, I’ll tell you. The Hulk is Dr. Bruce Banner, a scientist who was working on Gamma Ray technology when a Gamma blast mutated his DNA, causing him to transform into a humongous green beast when he becomes angry. If AFI had a list of top 100 movie premises, that would surely be number one. It sizzles and crackles like the finest applewood smoked bacon, yet it’s spicy and robust like the Jambalaya of South Louisiana.
I know what some of you doubters (Haters) are thinking. You’re thinking that premise sounds like a paint by numbers popcorn movie based off a semi popular yet long lasting hero. First of all, you’re a jerk. Secondly, you’re wrong. It’s pure filmmaking gold is what it is, and Marvel knows it. They embarked on a journey. This journey, this quest for the perfect film began in the early 2000’s when Ang Lee was brought in to direct the first Hulk film. He had ample help as well. He had the beauty and talent of Jennifer Connelly, the Australian acting chops of a then unknown Eric Bana, and the piercing and unsettling weirdness of Nick Nolte. Ang himself had already directed films like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and he was ready to take the world by storm with the big green anti-hero. He did wonders. He took a mindless comic character known for awesomely destroying everything in sight and managed to make an off-putting, brooding, slow, psychological piece of arthouse bliss, AKA the type of movie that usually wins best picture. The only thing he didn’t do, the one small place he failed, was actually making a watchable movie. I normally overlook things like this, but research shows that American audiences tend to have problems with movies that cause them to throw up their hands in disgust.
Marvel was undaunted. Why? Because they still were out to make the greatest film ever. You might have thought that by this point they would have just taken the easy way out and just resolved to make a fun movie with lots of special effects. No. That’s what a company with no vision would have done. They did have vision. They rebooted and hired Academy Award nominated thespian Edward Norton, giving him his first legitimate shot at becoming a legend. Norton was set to not only star as Bruce Banner, but also to do uncredited work on the script. Although he was not an overly experienced screenwriter, he did go to Yale, ensuring that the final draft would at contain a plethora of multisyllabic words. The results were mixed yet again. 2008’s The Incredible Hulk was definitely more fun than the original and performed decently at the Box Office, but it failed to win even one Academy Award. It was also shut out of the Golden Globes, pouring some foreign fuel on the pathetic failure fire. The brass at Marvel was apparently livid at Norton’s epic debacle and earlier this month he was relieved of his Hulking duties and subjected to a scathing press release sent out by Marvel’s President of production Kevin Feige. The release basically stated that Norton was a talentless fuddy duddy who was no longer welcome at the table of superheroes. He was therefore out of the upcoming Joss Whedon helmed Avengers movie, and any subsequent Hulk experiences.
This weekend at Comic Con Marvel announced the new actor ready to step into the green skin of the Hulk. It’s Mark Ruffalo, character actor extraordinaire and veteran of films like Shutter Island, and All The Kings Men. He’s got acting chops coming out the wazoo. It’s a good thing too, because after he has his fun in The Avengers, he’ll no doubt get the call to continue the quest. He’ll have his own Hulk movie to front, and he had better deliver. Word is the short list of directors Marvel has in line for the next Hulk film are Martin Scorsese, Darren Aronofsky, David Lynch, The Coen Brothers, Terrence Malick, Clint Eastwood, Cecile B. DeMille, Alfred Hitchcock and Elia Kazan. While those men wait with baited breath (some more breathing then others) to get the magical call, some fans wonder. Some wonder why Marvel is going through such lengths. Some fans think that a Hulk movie should be an hour and a half of destruction with three distinct scenes mixed in. One scene where Banner advises someone not to make him mad, or else he will Hulk out then the guy doesn’t listen and Banner Hulks out. Another scene where he is running from something, trying not to Hulk out, then he gets trapped, and Hulks out. Then a third scene where he is totally Hulked out and we see an up close shot of him, being a sensitive Hulk and playing with a bird or something. A lot of “knowledgeable” fans think that that’s all there is to the movie, and that Marvel is REALLY overthinking this whole thing. They don’t know sh*t. We are talking about cinematic greatness here. Marvel Studios, I salute you.