So the new Avengers movie is out in theaters. People have been waiting with bated breath for three years and what are they saying about it? Well its a mix of “WOW!!” and “Pretty Good”. The movie was a wild ride and for most it was enjoyable. However, it didn’t quite hold onto the magic of the first one. Since there are so many reviews of the movie already out there I will not add to the bulk with another. My review is specific to one detail, a big detail…Hulk.
**SPOILER ALERT** you have been warned…
Hulk in this film definitely had more screen time and for the first time in cinema history he actually appeared on screen within the first ten minutes of the film. In all previous Hulk films one would need to wait at least 30-45 minutes before seeing any green skin (the credit sequence at the beginning of Norton’s Hulk doesn’t count). So this was a pleasant surprise. Though his time on screen was still considerably less then all the other Avengers (Tony Stark still in the lead) it was a vast improvement from the first. Though of course being as this is the only time I get to see Hulk on screen I wanted more. Most Hulk appearances happen so quickly you barely have time to absorb all the details of the performance and the grandeur that is Hulk. This film actually gave a few special moments where you could actually take in the performance and not worry about blinking.
The performance of Hulk was also improved. Andy Serkis (Lord of the Rings, King Kong, and Planet of the Apes) assisted Ruffalo with his mo-cap performance. For a couple of scenes I could see a bit more “ape” in the acting, most likely a carry over from Andy’s previous work. Hulk was more primitive, more scary, and of course more angry. But there was also a tenderness given, especially in the scenes with Black Widow.
Now most people have complained about this ham fisted attempt at romance between Black Widow and Hulk. And for the most part I tend to agree…it totally appeared out of nowhere and really didn’t lead anywhere. It was more a plot convenience then anything. It gave a mechanic for easily calming Hulk back into Bruce whenever needed. Hulk has always had a weakness for the ladies. Also it did help bring out the pain/suffering of both these characters and assisted in exploring their characters depth. Banner was definitely shown grappling with his own personal demons, in this case a big green one. Widow also opened up emotionally in response. This was good for the Hulk/Banner in the sense it reflected the comics and the turmoil between the two. However, it kind of sapped the fun out of the Hulk. The Hulk was fun in the first film. Though attempts were made in this second film, I don’t think anything topped that “Puny god” moment.
The Hulkbuster scene definitely was a wild ride for the Hulk and easily the most epic Hulk battle on screen with the Abomination battle a close second. I am also happy they decided to keep him green for the sake of the audience and fans. Though rumor is he was going to be grey for that scene…it would have not added much to the Hulk on-screen. The true grey hulk was a bit smarter and could even talk a bunch. So unless this grey version was going to live up to its roots, it’s better he stayed green. My only other gripe with the scene is once again the prevalence of Iron Man dominating screen time during the fight. Tony Stark and his weapons took up most of the scenes with Hulk peppered seemingly in-between. Also I plainly do not agree or believe a punch from the Hulkbuster would have knocked the Hulk out cold. I more easily would have accepted him being drugged or maybe running off, after seeing the destruction he caused, and reverting to Banner somewhere quiet.
And finally we reach the end…the Hulk flying away into hiding. Many think the jet took him into space. However, the jet was supposedly reported to have crashed in the ocean. The evidence supports Hulk is still on Earth and in hiding on a tropical island. My dreams for a Planet Hulk movie have been continually dashed upon the rocks of Hollywood. I cannot see a studio picking up the tab on such a film and be expected to do the comic justice. I will cling to the hope of it happening someday…but not anytime soon. Hulk is most likely on Earth and he’s hiding (though with Marvel anything can happen). What will bring him back? The Civil War? Ruffalo is supposedly slated to be in the film. Will Banner/Hulk accept registration or oppose it? But then again Hulk was never part of Civil War in the comics. Could he team up with the Guardians? Or will he remain hidden until Thanos comes calling? I hope we see Hulk again long before Thanos shows up. But if that’s the way it has to be…Hulk better put a green fist into that Mad Titan’s purple jaw.