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The Mediocre HULK

The Mediocre HULK

Despite all the hype, spin and rationalizing in the world, Marvel and Universal’s attempt to reboot the Hulk franchise has to be seen as a total failure as described in this recent report: Latest “Hulk” may not spawn a sequel.

Hulk smashes the “K” in “tickets”, but fails to smash ticket sales records

“Five years ago, “Hulk,” the first movie based on Marvel’s hulking green comic book character, rang up $245 million in worldwide box office but was widely dismissed as a commercial failure.

The thinking man’s HULK

The second attempt, “The Incredible Hulk,” amped up the fun factor and dialed down the brooding of director Ang Lee’s original but is unlikely to gross significantly higher than its predecessor and might not spawn a sequel…

The “Incredible” Hulk, for the common man

After four weekends, the Louis Leterrier-directed “The Incredible Hulk” has earned $125 million, the same as what “Hulk” had pulled in at the same time in its run. “Hulk” finished with $132 million, and its successor is unlikely to do much better.”

As a huge fan of Ang Lee’s HULK, I never understood the general public’s (alleged) rejection of the film. Ang Lee and James Schamus brought an “art house” sensibility to the character, imbuing the work with gravitas that may have alienated some of the fan boys, but which made for a fulfilling film-going experience. The third act devolved into a bit of a mess, but, once the Hulk is cut loose to wreak havoc, isn’t that to be expected?

Crouching Chemist, Hidden Monster

The re-boot, stuck more closely to the letter of the comic books. In spite of Edward Norton’s nuanced performance, the film somehow feels less substantial. It plays like a disjointed, dumbed-down mess of episodes, lacking the coherent–and tragic–character arc of the first film.

The first rule of Fight Club is…

One major problem with telling the Hulk saga is the protagonist’s central conflict–Bruce Banner lives in perpetual fear that he’ll Hulk out and ruin YET another shirt (…amazingly the pants always seem to make it.)

Yet the audience WANTS to see the HULK kick ass. The audience’s loyalties are torn: we are always rooting against the protagonist’s goal to free himself of the Hulking burden.

In the new film, Bruce Banner uses a heart monitor to regulate his pulse. He’s also searching for an online buddy who might cure him of his ailment. All while hiding from a military nut job looking to bring him in and bottle his blood so he can “weaponize” him. Bruce Banner as “reluctant’ hero trying to learn to control the beast within.

But the nature of that beast is ruthless and uncontrollable. James Schamus and Ang Lee understand this conflict–and they play the story as tragedy.

At the conclusion of the new film, when Bruce Banner chooses to become the Hulk in order to defeat a greater evil–the same type of rationale a world power might employ in order to launch a preemptive strike against a presumed enemy (“I don’t WANT to do this, but I don’t really have a choice…do I?)–it undermines Banner’s conflict to rid himself of the beast. In other words, he accepts his demon, and now will try to manage it as best he can. It’s a wishy-washy resolution meant to make the audience feel good for wanting to watch the Hulk bust shit up. Banner’s choice creates the (false) illusion that he is able to exercise control–evidenced also at the film’s conclusion with Banner in lotus position. But he’s no more able to stabilize his Green Zone than the aforementioned world power is able to stabilize elements surrounding its Green Zone.

Without the data to back it up, Universal and Marvel are selling the story that the new Hulk is a hit and the old Hulk is a dud. (This tactic also sounds familiar…)

Hollywood is always about perception,” said David Davis, managing partner and entertainment analyst at Arpeggio Partners in Los Angeles. “The first Hulk (movie) had such high expectations after the NBC-Universal merger and was supposed to be critical-favorite Ang Lee’s breakout commercial blockbuster.

“Then with the new Hulk film, Marvel was able to underplay the importance of the success after the great success of ‘Iron Man’ this summer,” Davis said. “So the new one over-delivered, relative to its under-promise.”

Stop! In the Name of Love….

This is a total spin-job. “Iron Man’s” success set the table for “The Incredible Hulk” to climb to even greater heights. Any suggestion to the contrary is bullshit. Why else would they have tacked on the Stark cameo in the film’s little coda?

EVERYONE expected Ed Norton to kick Eric Bana’s ass. But now that he hasn’t, they are looking for reasons why…

In addition to my other theories, I have two words: Hulk Hands.

Check out the new Hulk Hands

Sure, the fabric on the outside allows for more detailed looking fingers…but they are soft, like a stuffed animal. Compare these to the…

Original Hulk Hands

Crafted from the same solid, heavy, firm, spongy Nerf-like material they use to make cheese heads. Original Hulk Hands are awesome. They are awesome in ways that the New Hulk Hands can never hope to be. They are awesome in ways that the new Hulk Film can only dream about.

In short, the Original Hulk Hands are a masterpiece.

If there are any doubts, they will be allayed upon viewing this:

Note to MARVEL: Hire J.J. Abrams to shoot a Cloverfield 2 starring a 4 year old boy as HULK.

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