The Marginally-Decent Hulk

In a move reeking of desperation, Marvel releases a new trailer for THE INCREDIBLE HULK in order to stem the tide of negative buzz. Does it work?

Let's just get this out in the open right now: The Hulk is one of the most boring superheroes in the history of comic books.

Let's detail what makes him so undeniably incredible: 1. He gets mad. 2. He grows large, turns green, and magically acquires purple pants. 3. He smashes shit. 4. Rinse and repeat. Folks, this is not the depth of material upon which to base an entire franchise. I mean, the Green Lantern makes more sense. Aquaman might have a better backstory and purpose in fighting crime. In fact, I'd even take The Wonder Twins over this nonsense. Despite the obvious problems inherent in the "story" of the Hulk, director Ang Lee gamely attempted to bring some depth and humanity to his plight with his 2003 adaptation. While the film had an interesting visual motif, the limp lack of a proper foil for our "hero" and all of the psycho-babble Daddy subplots angered the fanboys. All two of them. Marvel, knowing full well that they have managed to successfully market Hulk comic books over the years, decided to give their big green moneymaker another cinematic chance by rebooting the franchise a mere four years after the first film. Of course the buzz flowing freely from the set of the new movie, cleverly titled The Incredible Hulk, has been less than confidence-building. Then the first trailers were released, which inspired a collective yawn from a geeky fanbase already saturated by the splendors of better trailers from better summer blockbusters (i.e. anything else out there). So now, in a desperate move, Marvel has released another trailer in the hopes of starting some sort of positive buzz. Here it is:

My thoughts: From watching the first trailer, I had a distinct feeling that the film would contain one action scene in the streets of a city, preceded by two hours of whining. This trailer addresses that palpable concern by showing that there are possibly two action scenes in the movie, punctuated by the same whining we saw in the first trailer. Does Liv Tyler need to look like she just finished crying in EVERY SINGLE ROLE SHE EVER PLAYS? I have had enough of the pouty-faced, doe-eyed routine that she wore out in Armageddon and The Lord of the Rings. Edward Norton is the absolute wrong person to play the role of Bruce Banner/The Hulk. I understand the premise - Bruce is a science nerd and a drip. Great. And Norton is undeniably a terrific actor. But Norton's appeal comes from playing aggressive, unstable outsiders as in American History X. And while he here plays an outsider with obvious problems with aggression, Norton is a fairly cold presence onscreen; this is exactly why some of his roles have that edge to them. He is the wrong guy to pull off a comic book creation, especially the hero of one that is expected to garner the enthusiasm of an audience. Norton is too slouchy, too schlubby, too vacant. They have whipped up some sort of villain for the Hulk in this movie, but he obviously comes in very late in the film (shades of the Venom mistake from Spidey 3). Besides that, the confrontation looks fairly standard and poorly rendered from this trailer. Where's the one money-shot that is supposed to bolster trailers like these?? All in all, I think this will prove to be one of the great failures of 2008. Yes, it will make money, but I think the limitations of the character, in addition to a failed translation, equal box office poison.

All you need to know is that I love movies and baseball. I write about both on a temporary medium known as the Internet. Twitter: @rayderousse or @unfilteredlens1 Go St. Louis Cardinals!