Hulk smash alright…smash his chances at the box office.
There’s something to be said for just how bad a movie can be. Some are SO bad that their reputation for being as such far outweighs the truth. For example, the original Hulk film starting Eric Bana from 2003 wasn’t all that bad. I mean, it wasn’t great (and damn near put the nail in the coffin of Marvel’s superhero cash-cow before it even got rollin’), but I still maintain it wasn’t as horrible as everyone remembers. However, the reputation for it being bad still permeates the Marvel of today. It wasn’t until the phase one reboot with Ed Norton that people forgot the bad taste left in their mouth from the first go round. If finally gave the Hulk the real chance he deserved. Up until then, people had written off the hugely popular Marvel character as a complete disaster and regulated it to the comic dump. The Incredible Hulk was the success the company needed that finally put the character back on track and set him up for a key role in the huge cross-over of The Avengers in 2009.
So with two outings featuring the rage-filled (yet lovable) alter-ego of Dr. Banner behind us, is it perhaps time to give the jolly green giant a rest? How many times should we go to that gamma-infused well?
If actor Mark Ruffalo has his way, at least one more time before Avengers 2. As the sequel, Avengers: Age of Ultron, steams along in pre-production, we already know that the film is slated for a spring of 2015 release and will feature the return of not only the Hulk, but Ruffalo portraying Banner as well. This will be the third time we’ve seen the Hulk on screen as part of Marvel’s re-vision, but none of which feature Ruffalo behind the wheel in a stand-alone iteration. Ruffalo has not been shy in his opinion that he feels a new Hulk film (independent of Avengers) is a good idea to expand his character. “I'm in The Avengers, but if you took my screentime it would come to about ten minutes, along with the 12 other people I'm sharing the screen with, so my input's kind of limited on that. But if we get to a standalone Hulk movie, I'll have a much better chance to do that. I'm just learning now how to find my voice and bring it into the studio world." He says.
So, is another Hulk movie really a good idea?
You could argue that Norton’s The Incredible Hulk of 2008 was an absolute necessity . It righted the ship of the Hulk franchise in order to make him a valuable commodity to the other Marvel superhero films (Avengers specifically). As much as I like Ruffalo as Banner, I’m not sure a new Hulk film outside the crossovers is all that necessary. I really don’t feel you’re going to cover much new ground. The previous films have already given us the story of how Banner seeks a cure he’ll never find, struggles with the dichotomy of the Bruce/Hulk identity and how this makes it impossible for him to find peace (as he’s always on the run). By the end of Avengers, the good Dr. has sort of found his place in the world. He’s working with Shield, he’s no longer hunted and he’s respected again.
I think we should accept that Hulk is possibly best used as a supporting character in an ensemble cast, rather than a main player unto himself.