Images 2008 04 10 Arts 10Hulk-600
Some mixed messages for Marvel’s next two films — both of them from the newly launched Marvel Studios.

First, the New York Times rounds up what everyone has been whispering for some time: THE INCREDIBLE HULK movie may be more of a tantrum than a rampage:

Bad buzz. Creative infighting. Superhero gridlock at the multiplex. For Marvel Studios, handling gamma rays is starting to look like a cakewalk compared to turning “The Incredible Hulk” into a movie franchise.

The article covers all the familiar beats: Ang Lee disappointment, blah blah; Edward Norton and studio feuding, blah blah; fan dismay with cgi, blah blah.

The story reports “lip-biting” among investors and worries over Norton’s continued feud with the filmmakers: if he doesn’t get his say over the final cut he may not even do any publicity, a body blow in a summer crammed with competing action/adventure movies. Marvel Studios head David Maisel handles the rumors with the diplomacy one must develop when dealing with volatile stars whom you wouldn’t like when they are angry:

“When you get to this point in the process, there are always lots of passionate discussions,” he said. “Edward is very passionate. He is as passionate about the Hulk as we are.” (For those unaccustomed to Hollywood speak, “very passionate” roughly translates to a seven on the “he’s a difficult person” scale.)

 Thompsononhollywood Images 2008 04 10 Iron32
BUT all is not gloomy for Marvel, as trade reporter Anne Thompson delivers a big wet kiss to Marvel’s OTHER summer movie: “Iron Man: Why it Will be Huge”:

Those of us who saw Paramount’s first Iron Man materials at Comic-Con–and witnessed the hordes lining up just to see the damned costume unveiled–don’t need to be convinced that this picture will be a summer boxoffice juggernaut. It should easily pass $200 million. Will it get to $300 million is another question.


1. NEW ACTION HERO. This may be the robust male action fantasy hero that we’ve been waiting for. A new contemporary complex male who isn’t Batman or Superman. (Face it, they’ve been around for a while.) Check out the latest clip and our photo gallery. Who wouldn’t want to fly around like that? While Iron Man comicbook fans are legion, this is a new modern movie hero who kicks ass. And he’s not a nice guy.

All systems seem to be go for IRON MAN — good buzz, great looking trailers, well received assets. Even people who aren’t familiar with Ol’ Shellhead think the movie looks “fun.”

Our guess? IRON MAN will do very well; THE INCREDIBLE HULK will make money on DVD.


  1. Does the Times have the tidbit about how all the hubbub is over a link to the Ang Lee? I can’t remember who had that item, but someone ran it a couple weeks ago–it’s supposedly all over how to handle the bridge from the first to the second movie, but no word on what Norton wants versus what the studio(s) want… Though, does Universal even have a say?

  2. I’m not sure what people see as so wrong about the Hulk’s CGI. It looks as believable (or unbelievable) as any other CGI I see in movies. I don’t think Spider-Man looked any better. It’s a popcorn flick. It looks good enough for me to just sit back and have fun. The first one was just dull. That the real sin of a summer movie.

  3. Ditto what Christopher said. Empire magazine said nice things about the CGI work in the Incredible Hulk movie that the actors will at least retain their alter ego faces (i.e., Roth and Norton’s when facing each other in battle.



  4. I think Iron Man is interesting because there’s no definitive Iron Man comics run (unlike X-men, Spider-Man, Daredevil). Seems like the movie has a chance to do a memorable version of the character because it won’t be compared to some nostalgic version that exists in fans’ heads (also it has to be easier to film an attractive robot costume than a spandex one).

  5. Saw the premiere of Iron Man in Sydney last night, and it could well be the best comic book superhero action film yet. The whole thing really works, the origin is a seemless fit into the overall film (not leaving it in two parts as a lot of superhero origins do to the plot), Downey Jr is fantastic, and the CGI is really strong.
    There’s a lot of humour in it, none of which feels forced, and the creation of the suits is done really imaginatively. It’s a very very good movie.