The 2013 MTV Movie Awards are this Sunday, April 14th. The fate of one category, Best Hero, rests in your social-media-savvy hands. In this rousing opinion piece, Splash Page writer Eddie Wright passionately explains why Hulk deserves your vote.
Hulk smash. Two words, yet so much meaning. What did the those two words mean for movie-goers in 2012? What exactly did Hulk smash? Why did he smash it? And will he smash it again? Let’s take a look at why 2012 was the year of the most deserving nominee for Best Hero at the 2013 MTV Movie Awards, “Marvel’s The Avengers’” Hulk.
Last year, Hulk was the black sheep of the Marvel movie universe. Sure, there had been bigger Marvel-based clunkers like “Fantastic Four,” “The Punisher,” “Ghost Rider,” and “Daredevil,” but Hulk was part of something bigger. The Hulk was part of the newly streamlined Marvel Studios movie universe. He was a character fully licensed and produced by the very comic company that created him. The Marvel Studios movie universe (or MSMU as no one calls it) was something special after “Iron Man” in 2008. The second Nick Fury showed up after the end credits and told Tony Stark that he was part of a larger world full of super-powered nutbars and costumed weirdos, the Marvel movies began to form into a cohesive whole, structured similarly to their comic book counterparts. And after “Iron Man” set the table by netting nearly $600 million, it was up to the big green guy to smash it to bits with “The Incredible Hulk,” the second theatrical Hulk outing following Ang Lee’s Freudian freakfest (which I kind of love) “Hulk.”
But it just didn’t happen. The movie was fine. It wasn’t a disaster by any stretch of the purple pants, but it just didn’t have that “thing” that “Iron Man” did. And even though I think “The Incredible Hulk” is a vastly superior movie to “Iron Man,” the audience just wasn’t there. Was it Edward Norton? Maybe. Was it the endless CG battle at the end that was like sitting on a couch and watching a friend play a video game and never getting a turn? Maybe. Was it making a completely animated character in a world of real relatable? Maybe. Was it a combo everything I just listed? Yuppers.
“The Incredible Hulk” is fascinating in its analysis of the effects of out of control anger, and in the hands of a more adept filmmaker it could have truly been wonderful. But alas, it didn’t happen. And after bringing in just $263 million, Hulk was left to sit alone. Sequel-less and shirtless and green and alone. It ain’t easy being green, big guy. It just ain’t easy.
But then in 2012 something happened. Marvel called Hulk back into action for its boffo team-up blockbuster “Marvel’s The Avengers.” Ed Norton was out as Bruce Banner/Hulky for undisclosed reasons (he was difficult or wanted too much money or both), the very likable Mark Ruffalo was in, and geek master Joss Whedon was directing (remember what I said about more adept filmmakers?). And guess what? It worked!
Hulk was the shining star of “The Avengers,” completely overshadowing (literally) Iron Man (enough already), Captain America (too young), Thor (zzzzz), Black Widow (whatevs), and Hawkeye (who?). For me, Hulk was everything. He was tragic, he was exciting, he was relatable, he was fully-realized, and most importantly, watching him SMASH and leap around New York City was some of the best conceived action in any movie from 2012. Hulk in “Marvel’s The Avengers,” made me want to read every “Incredible Hulk” comic from the early days of Lee and Kirby to the current “Indestructible” run by Mark Waid, Leinil Yu and Walt Simonson. Hulk was my guy. Hulk was my hero.
“Marvel’s The Avengers” was an uneven experience for me, but every time Hulk was on screen, it worked. Ruffalo perfectly balanced the rage-suppressed intensity of Bruce Banner with the utter badass insanity of his big green counterpart. The best of the action, the best of the drama, and the best of the humor (“puny god”/”son, you’ve got a condition”) involved the Hulk.
Hulk didn’t speak in a ridiculous raspy voice (Batman), he wasn’t the standout in a convoluted/overrated film (Catwoman), he wasn’t sound asleep (Snow White), and he wasn’t a Hobbit (Bilbo Baggins). Hulk was Hulk through and through. He was, and will, always be a brilliant creation brilliantly realized by a fantastic genre filmmaker and a terrific actor. Hulk was “The Avengers” and I hope we get more of him.
Huk smash. What do those two words mean? To me, they mean best hero. #VoteHulk
You can vote for your favorite hero by including the following hashtags in your tweets on Twitter or captions on Instagram: #votebatman – #votebilbo – #votecatwoman – #votehulk – #voteironman – #votesnowwhite