Hulk

2003

Universal Pictures

Director: Ang Lee

Screenplay: John Thurman and Michael France

Main Cast:
Actor
Eric Bana- Bruce Banner / Hulk
Jennifer Connelly – Betty Ross
Sam Elliott- General Ross
Nick Nolte – David Banner
Josh Lucas – Glenn Talbot

I have to give props to Ang Lee for trying to inject a deep psychological subtext into his film version of the Hulk story. He took the long-running comic book’s basic storyline (Bruce Banner and his alternate personality of the big green monster) and turned it into a tale of a son who is cursed by his father’s misdeeds. Unfortunately, this new updated version of the Hulk turned off a lot of fans who wanted more action and less character development.


Hulk juggles too many plot elements for one movie. -especially a movie whose main audience wants to see the Hulk destroy things. The plot includes: Bruce’s relationship with his father and Bruces's trauma of seeing his mother killed, Betty’s conflict with General Ross, and a scheme by the U.S. Army to experiment with the Hulk. If a sequel was already planned when this version was in the works, why not focus more on Bruce and the Hulk and save some of the back story for another movie?

Is Hulk a bad movie? My answer is “no”. It does have a few things going for it. One of its strong points is that all of the actors were perfectly cast- especially Sam Elliot as General Ross. He looked and sounded exactly how I imagined the “no B.S.” warrior would. Jennifer Connelly was gorgeous as usual and also did a great job as Betty.


Hulk's main problem is that it tries too hard to be intelligent and thought-provoking while forgetting what made the comic book so much fun- turning the Hulk loose, letting him get very angry and smashing everything in sight. I think the movie can still be appreciated as a brave experiment that didn’t quite work. Who knows? In a few years, Hulk might be appreciated more for the huge risks that Ang Lee and the producers took in order to make an "intelligent" superhero movie.

Batman: The Movie

1966


Adam West – Bruce Wayne / Batman
Burt Ward – Dick Grayson / Robin

In 1966, the campy, cartoonish, Batman debuted on the ABC television network and garnered 30 million viewers a week and top 20 ratings. That same year, Twentieth Century Fox rushed Batman: The Movie into theatres and it too was immensely successful. While the general public loved this version of Batman, long-time fans hated that their once dark, brooding hero was portrayed as a clown. National Periodicals, the parent company of DC Comics, had no complaints, however. It earned over 600 million dollars over the next few years licensing Batman’s image on every conceivable product. Despite its cheap production and corny dialogue, Batman: The Movie still has an influence over pop culture to this day.

Batman:The Movie drove hardcore Batman fans nuts for decades. I understand how a lot of fans wanted to see a realistic, mature Batman, not the clownish one that Adam West portrayed, but I always thought it was hated on way too much. Yeah, it was corny and made the Dark Knight look like a joke, but I just think of it as another incarnation of the character- no better or worse than other incarnations.