Massawyrm Gets Utterly Smashed To Pieces By THE HULK!!
Published at: June 5, 2008, 9:53 p.m. CST by merrick
Hola all. Massawyrm here.
Somebody pinch me. No. Seriously. Somebody fucking pinch me, because this shit ain’t happening. It’s been too long and we’ve gone through too much bullshit to have finally come over the mountain and found exactly what we were looking for. Can it be true? Can Marvel finally, really and truly gotten their shit together – managed to collect their rights back and begun releasing movies that all exist in the same universe. A universe that mentions S.H.I.E.L.D. any time the government needs to do something meta-human related. A universe where the fabric of one story is woven into the whole by the thread of another? Can our childhood dreams, the dreams often spoken aloud or written about in these very halls…finally have come to fruition?
Certainly I don’t mean to shit upon the stream of Marvel films that have come before summer ’08. There’s been a number of great ones – along with a handful of noble attempts. And a few not so noble. I don’t think I need to name names. We ALL have our lists. But what it all comes down to is this. That thing, that thing we’ve all been whispering about and talking about and sometimes even screaming about? It’s here.
The Incredible Hulk fucking rules.
Every bit as good as Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk takes the material we all love, gets at the heart of what makes it tick and then puts it on the screen FOR ADULTS. It’s dark. It’s heavy. And the bad guys aren’t playing around. With the formation of Marvel Studios, they took their two most damaged, deeply scarred heroes, handed them over to two hip, up-and-coming directors just on the verge of completely proving themselves, and hired two of the best actors of their generation to tackle the roles. The results are nothing short of geek bliss.
It’s hard to talk about this film without talking about its recent predecessor. They really are something of a package deal. Not only are they gearing up for the July ’11 Avengers extravaganza – but they really do share an awful lot in common. Their pacing, tone and structure are comparable in a lot of ways. You can really feel the hand of Marvel guiding these films toward capturing the essence of their source material. And the methodology behind who they cast and how is perfect. The focus isn’t on just big names. It’s on ACTORS. And character ACTORS. Its focus is on bringing comic books to life while making true, honest to God theatre. I mean, why get the hot new face fresh off the bus when you can get a guy we all know is LONG OVERDUE his first Oscar?
Which is why when you see this, you’ll begin to understand what all those gossip reports might be about. Edward Norton doesn’t phone this in for a second. He leaves every last bit he’s got up there on the screen. The guy IS Bruce Banner. He clearly spent some time in the Church of Bixby, and slipped into those well-worn shoes ready to slow walk down the highway to that classic piano piece. As much as this film is the reboot of a franchise, it is also just as easily the long awaited big screen adaptation of the show. So when you hear that he might have been fighting behind the scenes, you can see right there before your eyes that it was because he was in love with this character and its story – and god fucking bless him for that. Between his work, Christian Bale’s and Robert Downey Jr.’s, the question in casting superheroes from here forward isn’t Who can we get? It is finally Who is good enough?
And much like Iron Man before it, no matter how awesome the visuals are, no matter how incredible the fight scenes or ramped up the tension is, it is ultimately the performance and portrayal of the hero that makes it work. Will you walk out of this talking about how awesome the city demolishing fight is between Hulk and the Abomination? Sure. Will you talk about how great the lead ups to the inevitable next film are? Yeah, more than likely. But you’re gonna be talking an awful lot about Banner and about how Norton nailed him.
What I can’t get over are the little things. The universe tie ins that just make this FEEL like a Marvel comic book movie. The set up of the Super Soldier program and all the talk of it builds perfectly to the Captain America movie they’re working on. And it also sets the stage in a very similar fashion to how they worked it in the Ultimates universe. But there’s also little things – like weird experimental military sonic weapons – that make it feel….comic booky.
I’ve had my eye on Louis Leterrier for a while now. From his incredible work on the fun as all hell Transporter, to his career-making turn on Danny the Dog (AKA Unleashed) all the way to his awkward dog of a sequel Transporter 2. He’s been right on the cusp of success, waiting for that big film to put him on everyone’s radar – and this is it. His work blending CG performances with authentic human ones is nothing short of perfection. While watching Tim Roth jump around, dodging blows from the Hulk is breathtaking, and seeing two green CG monsters tear up NYC is the reason you’ll slap down 10 bucks for admission, one of the strongest scenes in the film is actually a very quiet moment between Betty Ross and a lovesick Hulk.
It isn’t just Norton forging a hero on screen. The Hulk himself has a personality, he has a heart. He is the green monster of legend that we’ve read so many times in the comic. As much as this story is rooted in both The Ultimates and the old television series, The Incredible Hulk surpasses them both by giving us the Hulk as a real honest to god character. They build him over the course of the film so perfectly that when he finally utters the phrase you’re all dying to hear him say…if fucking MEANS something. The payoff for this movie and everything they build to is everything we’ve been hoping for.
Iron Man was no fluke. Something is really going on. These people are bringing us THOR. And CAPTAIN AMERICA. Then they’re bringing it all together for the AVENGERS. Can you imagine the day when they get the rights back to all their heroes? A day when we can see a Fantastic Four movie made by a studio…that actually likes the Fantastic Four? Or an X-Men movie made with a studio head not traumatized by a childhood fear of giant robots? Or a Spider-Man movie allowed to cross pollinate or even team up with other heroes? Could you imagine Walt Simonson’s and Art Adam’s brilliant Fantastic Four 347-349 on the bigscreen? Wolverine, Ghost Rider, The Hulk and Spider-Man sharing the same silver surface together? My mind is swimming. That’s what these movies are doing to me. I’m 8 years old thumbing through a stack of comics on the carpet of my bedroom floor again. And really, that’s what these movies are all about.
I’m dreaming of superheroes. And today his name is The Hulk.
Until next time friends, smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em.