16 June 2012

Hulk Comparison

          Ok, since 2003, the Hulk and Bruce Banner have been portrayed by three different actors in 3 separate movies.  He was played by Eric Bana in Hulk in 2003, by Edward Norton in The Incredible Hulk released in 2008 and recently by Mark Ruffalo in The Avengers.  So, let's take a look at those.

          Let's begin by comparing the two Hulk movies, starting with Betty and General Ross.  I preferred Jennifer Connelly and Sam Elliott from Hulk over Liv Tyler and William Hurt.  For some reason, I'm not a big fan of Liv Tyler.  Whenever I see her, I see Steve Tyler's daughter, not whoever she is playing.  I thought Jennifer Connelly did a pretty good job; I saw her and saw Betty.  I also though Sam Elliott did a better job than William Hurt, thought I did like Hurt.  I think part of it was due to Elliott having more to work with.  Hurt essentially just orders people around, while Elliot has a backstory and more of a personal connection with the other characters.

          One thing that stood out to me about the two films was Betty's relationships.  In Hulk, the relationship is more with her father and she spends more time on screen with him.  In The Incredible Hulk, the focus is on Banner and she's pretty much with him the entire time.  In Hulk, Betty is constantly with General Ross, trying to convince him to leave Banner alone.  They also have a broken relationship they are working with.  I really liked Connelly and Elliot's chemistry; I felt they were good together.  On the flip side, The Incredible Hulk has Betty always with Banner, to calm him down.

          Another thing that was different was how Banner's "hulk-outs" are managed.  In Hulk, he starts breathing heavily and his faces starts to turn green.  And he then proceeds to change into the Hulk.  However, with The Incredible Hulk, we only see Banner's eyes become green.  The actual transformation is hidden by gas or pavement or something.  I liked seeing Banner change into the Hulk, but I didn't like how Bana portrayed it.  I never understood why he was always breathed funny.  I don't know, maybe he does that when he gets mad.

          I know that about 99% of my peers will disagree with me, but I liked Hulk better.  I liked the visual style and it touched on family issues, making for a deeper movie.  But, yes, I know, the dogs were dumb.

Jennifer Connelly as Betty Ross
Sam Elliott as Gen. Ross
          Let's move on to Bruce Banner.  None of the three particularly stood out to me as Banner.  I know a lot of people really like Ruffalo in The Avengers.  I liked how Ruffalo played him physically.  He moved around like he was nervous, afraid to run into something that would make him mad.  He always seemed on edge.  Which would make sense if you were trying to keep a "giant rage monster" under control.  (Though, the reveal at the end of the movie makes his caution seem unnecessary).  However, I didn't like the delivery of his lines.  They seemed too monotone or something.  I'm not sure what it was, but it seemed off.  I had the same problem with Norton's delivery.  What I did like was his physical stature.  He looks smaller than Bana and Ruffalo, making a strong contrast between Banner and the Hulk.  However, if I had to pick one, I would probably pick Bana.  Not sure why.  Maybe because he was the first and I've seen him as the Hulk multiple times.  (Whereas I've only seen Norton and Ruffalo as Banner twice each).  But I really not care who is Banner as long as they have the Hulk down.

          Next: the Hulk.  I didn't have any problems with Hulk's Hulk.  Considering he was the first big screen attempt, I thought they did a pretty good job.  (They even included his purple pants).  Actually, I had no qualms at all.  It wasn't until after I had already seen it several times that I heard somebody complain about the color, that it looked too cartoony.  And after giving it another look, I realized that it was slightly off.  But not enough to bug me.  

          However, the second reincarnation of the Hulk I did not like at all.  I thought his color was super weird.  So was his teeth.  And I guess with this version, they wanted to make him ultra lean: all muscle and no fat.  So, you could see his muscle fiber and everything, creating a goofy texture.  Really, the only thing I can say is that he looked weird and I didn't like him.

          Finally, the Hulk from The Avengers.  I liked this one the best.  They finally got his color down to a good, realistic shade.  And he even looks like Ruffalo, whereas the other two didn't really look like their Banners.  Out of the three, I thought he was the most realistic version.

          Oh, I almost forgot the most important part:  the movie poster!  I thought the poster for The Incredible Hulk was flippin' sweet and way cooler than that for Hulk.

          There you have it.  A quick rundown.  Best standalone Hulk movie: Hulk.  Best Bruce Banner:  Eric Bana.  Best Hulk:  The Avengers.

Original source HERE

     But that's just my opinion...


  1. 2003 hulk = not good
    2008 hulk = better, much better
    2012 hulk = nailed it. Hulk actually scared me.

    But that's just my opinion... ;)

  2. Completely agree with you, Ang Lee's Hulk is the only one with a real comic-book style. The split screens, camera angles and editing choices were well thought out. Whereas 2008 Hulk is just a random action flick with no visual identity and poor CG, camouflaged by poor lighting (the factory scene or the last fight with abomination are way too dark vs the great desert fight in the first one). Lee's film is also much more psychological as the Hulk is a complete side of Bruce's personality, where he suppressed all the trauma of his childhood, becoming monstrous and violent as well as craving for freedom (the mirror scene is great). Also as you said the relations between characters are much more complex in it. And finally when Hulk runs and jumps through vast landscapes, you get the feeling of freedom that Bana talks about when becoming the Hulk (which is far better than Norton's "acid-trip" explanation). Granted there are some unnecessary scenes (the dogs or last scene) but overall the 2003 version is a successful and artistic film. Unfortunately people preferred the 2008 version, which shows that most of the audience doesn't care about visual style, character development or storytelling, they just want to put their brains in a jar and witness long flavorless scenes of pseudo-romance and poorly executed Hulk smash...

    1. I guess to each their own. 1st Hulk was a pretty good Hulk, but the movie was not so hot. Long, lethargic, ridiculous ending. I like the 2nd Hulk a little better as a character and a movie. The Avengers Hulk, for some reason to me, seemed more ominous, brutal, yet more intelligent. Just my thoughts.

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  4. I can see where you're coming from. I liked all three. Personally, I have to disagree and say Norton was the best Banner. Though it kinda ticked me off that he couldn't even do the deed with Betty when it came down to it. (Remember people, it's "Anger" not excitement that triggers the Hulk. Smh) Anyways, the second Hulk I thought was way better in comparison to the way the first Hulk I think. And hey, you did get to see him change on the table. Moving on. Mark Ruffulo just doesn't seem like a Banner to me at all. And as for the Hulk looking like him, that's nonsense. Dr. Jekyl didn't look like Mr. Hyde. I mean c'mon. I can already see it now. Someone saying, "You ever think the hulk happens to look a lot like the new Gardner we hired."