The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

NYCC 2008: The Incredulous Hulk

Written by: Ron Bricker

ImageIt’s a difficult thing to do. Standing in front of a panel made up of the creators, whom you have no ill will against, of a sequel you’re not anticipating, with a question in mind that not only will you know attract boos, but is one of the only worthwhile questions because it has nothing to do with spoilers or sequels. Heart racing, nervously standing in front of a microphone below the only house lights, and ignoring the response I will no doubt get, I approach to ask a question about The Incredible Hulk. Of course, much was preceded by my visit to the question spotlight. A panel made up of director Louis Leterrier, producers Kevin Feige and Gale Anne Hurd, star Tim Roth, and soon to be joined by Lou Ferrigno. Clips of non-stop, “kick-ass” action were shown, with Edward Norton turning into a smash and crash version of everyone’s favorite giant, green Jekyll and Hyde. Another clip followed with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) speaking with General Ross (William Hurt) in a trashy bar. Spoilers highlighted and tank pieces turned into blades aside, I rose to ask a question I felt relevant.

After the 4th or so person telling Tim Roth how great they think he is, Lou Ferrigno came out to thunderous applause. He flexed his massive muscles, won over the crowd with his great personality, and was half-jokingly offered the part of the Hulk’s voice in the movie by its director. Finally, it became my turn to ask my question, the last of the panel.

Fair enough, I thought, was stating the fact that this version of Hulk will no doubt be different from Ang Lee’s Hulk. As soon as I even mention the title, rabid, concrete villain loving junkies went wild with boos, although I did hear a few claps amongst the crowd. My question, therein, lied in whether or not fans of the ’03 version will be able to find anything similar in terms of tone, feeling, or anything near the nature of that film. A question with a bit of depth, maybe possibly even quickly and thoroughly answered, but better than asking about whether or not an Avengers movie will come out or if Nick Fury makes a cameo appearance. Kevin Feige, in turn, answered me with great producer power, saying that there are great aspects of that film which are true to the original comics, and there will be aspects of this film that are true to the original comics as well.

Side-stepping a real answer to my question, he also missed an opportunity to convince me and most likely the thousands of other fans of that ’03 film that this version will be something we will want to see and enjoy. That isn’t necessary, however, as fans like myself are in the minority, with enough respect for the Hulk’s character to hope for something continually new, not the same formulaic comic book film that has been placed on our plates year after year during the comic boom. In other words, fans needn’t worry, they will get their “HULK SMASH!” but it seems from the clips and the lack of addressing anything but action that it will be at the expense of those of us who loved the treatment of Hulk as a living, breathing, and emotional character.