As long as I’ve remembered, the Hulk has been my favorite comic book character. This nine-foot-tall green creature that could just wreak havoc practically anywhere and also go toe-to-toe with any other member of the Marvel Universe pulled at my imagination like any other. There was a time five-year-old me wanted to get a too-small shirt and just rip it like the Hulk did when he transformed.
The problem was that Hollywood couldn’t translate what I saw in the comics to what I saw on the screen. Well, live-action, anyways. I thought the Hulk on the “Spiderman and his Amazing Friends” show was pretty cool. The Hulk TV show with Lou Ferrigno, while impressive in some areas (I loved how Bill Bixby’s eyes would look right before he changed and that whole sound effect of the transformation was cool), it lacked compared to the comics. Ferrigno’s Hulk never spoke, didn’t leap anywhere, instead opting to run and sprint in slow motion away from wherever he had been. Also, this Hulk could be wounded with bullets (they bounced off him in the comics). I do admit to liking the sad notes at the end of each show, as Bixby’s Bruce Banner would hitchhike wherever he would go next.
There was a long time before the movies gave the Green Goliath a chance. First there was Ang Lee’s “Hulk” in 2003, which featured impressive CGI for the Hulk. It was the first time that he was shown in his true immense size. But there were several things missing… Eric Bana was not who I thought of when it came to Banner, Lee made a huge mistake being the one doing the motion capture for the Hulk, since the 9-foot-behemoth ran and moved like a thin five-foot-something man. He just didn’t move BIG. Also, the plot sucked and the ending was the most confusing thing I’d seen in a movie in a long time, with the battle with the Absorbing Man concluding the way it did.
They gave it another shot with Edward Norton as Banner. It moved in a slightly better direction, but even though the end battle was a REALLY long drawn out one, it still didn’t quite grab me. There is one scene I’ll watch if I run across it on cable, though – the one when Banner’s grabbed by his fellow co-workers who were jealous of a pretty female co-worker there liking the good doctor. When he’s growling from the darkness and then we see the Hulk…. awesome. Yes, that’s the fanboy reaction, I know.
But then came “The Avengers” and Mark Ruffalo’s Banner was just perfect. Joss Whedon also showed us the Hulk from the comics… the one who is a green wrecking ball that can take on a God of Thunder if he’s suitably pissed (and cheap shot him at one point too). There’s two parts that I just adore and watch when I can… the second one especially when I need a laugh. The first time I saw that second link, I was watching it late at night on Netflix and I was terrified I was going to wake up my sleeping wife and son, I was laughing so much.
“The Avengers 2” will be coming sooner than later and I hope they keep the same Hulk character from the first… perhaps there will be a scene when he punches Ultron through a wall and snarls “Puny Robot…”