Friday, May 4, 2012

Marvel's Expanding Universe, Pt. V

Someone deserves some more screen time

Today, Earth's Mightiest heroes made us laugh, cry, and cheer as they defended us from an alien invasion. It's now safe to say the movie is incredible, and definitely worth a trip to the theater. We've been exploring some of the characters from the Marvel universe, and what they might be doing now that The Avengers is done. In the last article, I mentioned that we would be looking at some new characters who haven't hit the big screen yet, and sadly I have to take it back. Bear with me, because this series will now continue past the release of The Avengers. There's just one more character who deserves your attention.

He's been through three different actors now, since Eric Bana played him in 2003. The films have been passable, and the character has gone through some changes. Studios tried changing up his origin story. They tried making him look more attractive. They tried casting incredible talent to play him. He's been there and back again. Now the story of one of Marvel's greatest characters is being told the way it was meant to. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the big, green, ugly, unstoppable, Incredible Hulk.

As I just said, the Hulk has gone through some twists and turns.  Every movie has had it's ups and downs.  They had strengths in the acting department, but the effects and stories just weren't up to par with Marvel's other new works.  The Incredible Hulk was the only of the movies included in the continuity of the Avengers, despite the change in actor.

Speaking of said actor, now we can finally talk about how Mark Ruffalo did in The Avengers.  Plain and simple: he was incredible.  Mark Ruffalo brought a real character to the big screen, with emotion and depth. Banner himself now seems to have some control over the Hulk, which opens up many doors for us to see Hulk really be a hero.

90% of those lbs is his brain.  The other half is forehead.
In The Incredible Hulk, we saw the green giant go up against Abomination.  We also saw the beginning of Sam Stern's transformation into Leader.  This was when some of Banner's blood seeps into a cut on Stern's forehead shortly after he was attacked by Abomination.  Leader is the biggest character foil to Hulk, as well as the main villain for the series.  His abilities are the same as Hulk, except instead of enhanced strength, all the extra power goes to his mind.  His head is ridiculously big, because his mental power is so strong.  He's an expert tactician, physicist, scientist, and also a bad, bad, dude.

Now that Hulk has some control over his powers, we can see him go head to head with Leader, or maybe some other Marvel villains (or heroes).  He has hard his fair share of runs on film, and none of them have gone great.  It makes sense that Marvel would be timid in delving into the character yet again.  This seems right, but now Hulk fans can rejoice at some wonderful news.

Caution: ugly versions don't
work with every hero...
Currently, Guillermo Del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth) is getting ready to work on a television series for Banner/Hulk.  It will most likely follow the continuity set down by The Avengers, and involve Mark Ruffalo.  Ruffalo's version of Banner is very much in the style of Bill Bixby, who was in the old 1977 Hulk TV show.  Having Ruffalo and Hulk be in a new television series then would be a wonderful throwback to the old series. It would give Mark Ruffalo a chance to let us get to know his version of Banner, and after the amount of love he and Hulk got in The Avengers, that's a very good thing.  Not to mention GTD is a wonderful director, who can do a great job creating a villain like Leader so that he looks awesome and threatening.  Speaking of character design, I hope they go with the same motion-capture technology for Hulk that they used in The Avengers.  The character was far improved because of it.  Not to mention the improvement they made to the build of Hulk, where he's just a giant ugly rage monster.  No more mister good-looking Hulk.

Recently Kevin Fiege, head of Marvel Studios, mentioned the possibility of a solo Hulk film in 2015.  If they can somehow recreate the magic that Joss Whedon used when making The Avengers, Marvel will have a great movie on their hands.  If GTD's series happens, and goes well, we could be seeing a lot more Hulk, and thoroughly enjoying him as well.  Props to Mark Ruffalo, Joss Whedon, GTD, and Marvel Studios for finally bringing us an incredible version of the Incredible Hulk.

Your Friendly Neighborhood Spiderman,


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