It’s not easy being green, but for the millions of comic fans who have yet to see the trailer for “The Incredible Hulk,” your time being green with envy is finally over.
We went through the trailer shot by shot to SMASH (sorry) open our first extended look at our favorite green hero for clues on how he will be realized in this eagerly anticipated summer blockbuster, which hits theaters on June 13.
Get your first glimpse of the Abomination, the Hulk and director Louis Leterrier’s comic vision exclusively on MTV.com, then read below to discover what each image means. Not doing so would make us angry. You wouldn’t like us when we’re angry.
(Check out brand-new “Incredible Hulk” images and sound off on the trailer at the MTV Movies Blog.)
00:09: Fade in to the Marvel logo as Edward Norton’s Bruce Banner is heard in voice-over. “I’ve got a problem,” he begins.
00:10: “There are aspects of my personality,” he continues, “that I can’t control.” Pay close attention to the choice of words here. We’ll revisit “control” later in the trailer.
00:16: After a brief establishing shot, the trailer’s first close-up belongs to Doc Samson (Ty Burrell), Banner’s friend and psychologist. Much has been said in recent months about how Marvel’s controlling interest in these new films means a slew of crossover opportunities for other comic characters, like Nick Fury and, well, whoever the heck Hilary Swank is supposed to play in “Iron Man.”
Judging by the trailer, it is equally important that “The Incredible Hulk” sets up sequel characters with small roles in this film, of whom Samson is the first. (Think Dr. Curt Connors in “Spider-Man.”) A gifted therapist, Samson ultimately becomes a super himself, alternately friend and foe to his most famous patient. Though it means very little this early on, notice briefly how short Samson’s hair is. It’s a nice visual analogue to his ineffectiveness with Bruce.
00:21: “Bruce, trust me when I tell you, I’ve heard ‘em all,” Samson pleads.
00:24: “Not this one,” Banner replies.
00:26: Cue transformation. Norton’s eyes burn emerald green, a visual nod to the ’70s TV show. Lou Ferrigno told us there are multiple nods like this sprinkled throughout the film.
00:27-00:30: Shots of mercenaries getting the ever-loving snot beaten out of them. One is thrown through three walls. Notice already the abundance of green saturating many of the shots — in the night vision, behind the thrown man, etc.
00:31: Tim Roth as a pre-Abomination Emil Blonsky — supposedly an entirely new version of the character written specifically for the film — obviously unsuccessful here in his attempt to kill the Hulk. I bet that makes him green with envy. No, literally.
00:36: Our second early glimpse at a future Hulk villain is with the appearance of Samuel Sterns (Tim Blake Nelson), a menial laborer who becomes the unfathomably intelligent Leader. Diverging from established canon, Sterns here looks to be a colleague of Banner’s. Betty Ross (Liv Tyler) looks on as Sterns explains, “We’ve never seen anything even close to your levels of exposure. That you survived an event like that — it’s beyond my comprehension.”
00:40: First close-up of Betty Ross, Bruce Banner’s main love interest throughout the comic’s history. She was played in the Ang Lee film by Jennifer Connelly.
00:42: Banner beginning to Hulk out in a chair.
00:45: Banner meditating in the half-lotus yoga position, trying to suppress his rage and fear. “I don’t want to control it,” he tells Betty of his transformations. “I want to get rid of it.”
That’s the second overt mention of “control” in the trailer’s first 45 seconds, and it’s already obvious how far this film strays from Ang Lee’s 2003 original. Whereas that film deals extensively with central themes of memory and repression, judging by this trailer’s repetition, the new film appears to give Banner much more agency in his battle of wills against the Hulk, the theme here is command. (Trailer buzzwords don’t happen by accident. Think “fear” in “Batman Begins” or “hope” in “Two Towers.”)
With no control, Bruce Banner is in a constant state of panic, always wary that his inner monster will come out and destroy the ones he loves. This is especially pertinent to this particular story as his enemy, the Abomination, is defined by the very fact that he cannot transform back into a human being.
00:49: Soldiers exit a ramp as General Thaddeus E. “Thunderbolt” Ross is heard in voice-over. “Far as I’m concerned, that man’s whole body is property of the U.S. Army,” he says.
00:50: Our first look at Ross, played by William Hurt. While he was the central antagonist in the 2003 original, Ross has a much more defined arc in this film, Hurt told MTV News at Sundance — one that mirrors society’s relationship with the big green guy. “[After Hulk defeats the Abomination] it’s the moment of turn,” Hurt said, “when society’s relationship with Hulk stops being so stupid.”
00:51-00:56: Army soldiers attempt to capture Banner, first in bed, then on the streets of an unknown city. The chase recalls the fugitive aspect of the character, exploited to a great degree in various issues of the comic and, especially, in the TV series. Screenwriter Zak Penn told us last year that this would be a predominant theme in the flick.
00:58: “They want it as a weapon,” Banner screams as an image pops of Blonsky getting injected with gamma radiation. If you can’t beat ‘em, Blonsky, why not join ‘em?
01:02: Blonsky sees the dark side, his transformation signaled by a flash of bright light.
01:03: Hulk SMASH … New York? An establishing shot of the city does not bode well for denizens of the Big Apple. And they just cleaned up after that damned “Cloverfield” monster.
01:04: Our first look at the Abomination, who manages to stop destroying property long enough for a “hero shot” at 01:08. Although he sports a ridge from his neck down his back, this version of the Abomination looks radically different from his comic roots. Gone are the character’s trademark green, reptilian scales. Instead he sports a flesh-colored hide, sinewy and taut, his musculature protruding through his skin. He looks skeletal and freakish, a haphazardly mutated monster that bears almost no resemblance to a human being.
01:11: “There’s only one thing that can fight that,” Banner says from an Army chopper. “It’s in me. Maybe if I can control it … ”
Again, the word “control,” bookending its first mention at the trailer’s beginning. Hulk has always been the dark, beastly side of Banner, buried deep within his psyche, spurred to the surface by emotional stress. Can Banner control his inner demons? Can anyone?
01:13-01:19: A last kiss with Betty before Banner falls to the streets of Manhattan deliberately to provoke his fear and rage …
01:23: … and to emerge as the Hulk, whose fist pounds through a Harlem street. He begins to emerge slowly from the wreckage, back toward the camera.
Throughout his nearly 40-year run in comics, Hulk has alternately been both hero and misunderstood villain, a Frankenstein monster for the Atomic Age. As confirmed above by Hurt, here there can be no doubt: Hulk is out to save the world from greater evils.
01:32: “Our only hope …”
01:35: Onlookers stare in amazement and awe.
01:38: “… is something …”
01:41: The Abomination, strikingly large arteries on the surface of his skin, glares at our hero.
01:42: A full reveal of the Hulk, manifested in all his glory. Notice the Popeye arms and chest, disproportionate to a smaller waist and head. Notice too the color of his skin, a darker shade of green than was seen in Lee’s “Hulk.”
01:45: “… incredible.” Oh, how cute. Frankly, though, we couldn’t agree more.
01:47: The Hulk roars.
01:58: Tonight, on the world-famous “Showtime at the Apollo,” comedian Steve Harvey, a Billie Holiday revue and two large monsters beat the bejesus out of each other. On after “Saturday Night Live.”
01:59: Hulk and Abomination SMASH!
Check out everything we’ve got on “The Incredible Hulk.”
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