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When two Hulks collide, which one rules?

June 17, 2008

norton.jpg The two movie versions of Marvel comic book character the Incredible Hulk can never truly battle on the streets, but at movie box offices and on the film review pages, the latest green giant in “The Incredible Hulk” is being compared to his 2003 predecessor in 2003′s “The Hulk.”

The critics are not universally pleased with “The Incredible Hulk,” directed by Louis Leterrier and starring Edward Norton. It opened on Friday and captured the No. 1 position at box offices with $55 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales. Then again, critics also had mixed praise for its predecessor, directed by Ang Lee and starring Eric Bana. Some reviewers described it as an art-house treatment of a superhero comic but opened to $62 million on its debut weekend.

The latest “Incredible Hulk” movie has a slight edge among critics. Yahoo! movies gave the film, starring Edward Norton, a “B-” rating among reviewers, and a “B+” from Yahoo! users. That compares to a “B-” and a “C” respectively for the 2003 movie.

The Web site compares the two films and finds that “The Incredible Hulk” comes out on top. The movie is “simple but deep it its own instinctual way,” reviewer Beau DeMayo wrote on the site. The 2003 “Hulk” gets “lost in its own murky head,” DeMayo wrote.

After a strong opening, the 2003 “Hulk” saw its box office figure drop quickly as fans moved on to other films. It ended its run in domestic theaters with a little more than $130 million. One question Hollywood box office watchers were asking on Monday was whether that same fate would dampen the long-run prospects for “The Incredible Hulk.” But with good reviews and positive buzz following its debut, ”Incredible Hulk” would seem destined for “hit” status.

If you got an opinion on which you liked better, post a comment. We’d like to hear from our readers.


Well, here’s the deal. The 2003 version didn’t show how Bruce Banner truly became the Hulk. I didn’t like the fact that he received his gamma powers through his dad and a lab, rather than the desert explosion in the comic books and cartoon. The 2003 version truly explified his true speed, stregth and size. The color was a little to green. But his performance when he ran and jump was exactly like the cartoon and comic book. I loved it. Whereas, the 2008 version did show more action, the Hulk size was too small. You see, I am a Hulk fan, and in the comic books and in the cartoons, he really towers over humans, like the 2003 version. However, I did like the color of the 2008 version, and the fact that he talked and sounded like the 1996 cartoon version. And man, let’s not forget that in the comic books, the Hulk drags the Abomination, from the begining to the end of all his fights. The fact that the producers made the Abomination as strong as the Hulk during their fight was not comfortable with me. Now, there was a couple of scenes where both producers could have made things work together. Like the part where he was in the factory, the should have shown where he jumped out of the building and got away. And when he was fighting on the campus, I thought that if producer had made the Hulk jumped from out of the fire holding Betty Ross would have been a great display of comic and cartoon likeness. And on the end, fighting the Abomination, on the cartoon and in the comic books, the Hulk always says, “EAT GREEN.” And when he was leaving, the producer ince again should have used Ang Lee’s style where the Hulk jumps away as if he was flying like in the comic books and cartoon. Overall, both films are about equally rated with me.

Posted by Edward L. McCray | Report as abusive

“The Incredible Hulk” is far more entertaining and far less meandering than “Hulk”. It follows the TV series and doesn’t get weighed down by psychodrama as “Hulk” does.

Plus, Hulk himself is better rendered and The Abomination proves a much better adversary than the Absorbing Dad.

Ed Norton plays it lighter than Eric Bana did, which is a good thing, although I prefer Jennifer Connolly to Liv Tyler.

Lots of great, sometimes subtle, nods to the TV series and some very subtle (as in opening titles) to other members of the Marvel Universe.

Really solid summertime action flick. Seen it twice and will surely buy the DVD.

Posted by Shawn | Report as abusive

I disagree Ed; the Abomination originally was stronger than the Hulk (indeed in their first comic book fight the Abomination nearly beats the Hulk to death). The Hulk’s advantage is he’s able to get stronger with anger.


Posted by X | Report as abusive

The new Incredible Hulk is sooo much better, I can’t believe anyone prefers the 2003 version. In 2003, the Hulk looked like a big baby throwing a fit, in this version he looks like he should: very, very angry and something you DO NOT want to mess with! Also, Norton rules, period.

Posted by Cate | Report as abusive

Quite the opposite, the new Hulk actually didn’t seem angry at all most of the time, except for a few mean looks and snarls, he acted far too in control for what the Hulk should be. The 2003 Hulk really looked like he was ready to explode with rage in most of his scenes, and his strength and speed reflected it (and he actually DID get stronger as he got angrier). Also, where was the leaps in this new movie? The Hulk can leap for MILES yet he spent pretty much all his time on the ground or making small leaps across buildings ala Spiderman. He wasn’t too green, the new Hulk is not green enough IMHO, and certainly not mad enough. As an overall movie the 2008 version is better, but 2003 version wins for the most “incredible” Hulk.

Posted by EM | Report as abusive

I agree that the new Hulk didnt get angry enough before he actually turned into the Hulk, it wasnt like he turned into the Hulk because he was angry, but only because his heart rate went up. But this movie still hands down triumphs over the 2003 version. Its a better movie and I agree with Cate, Norton does rule, period.

Posted by SpecialK | Report as abusive

Eric Bana and Ed Norton – two different actors but each did a good job with the scripted charater provided. I too, did not like the father-son story line in the 03 version but the gamma exposure was at least logical. The leaps of the 03 more accurately reflects the comic books but in the actual rendering of the Hulk – the 08 versions is great. I particularly liked the verbalizations – Hulk smash!!! – absent from the 03. Overall, I enjoyed the 08 better – and the snippet of gamma-irradiated drip on the head of the scientist – perhaps a precursor to the introduction of “The Leader” character for an adversary in future films. Looking forward to what appears to be the development of the Avengers – Hulk, Iron-Man, Thor, Ant-Man and the Wasp with Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. in the mix.

Posted by State-man | Report as abusive

“The Incredible Hulk” was a great movie but it could have been way better. It had some truths to both the comic books and the TV show but I never enjoyed the TV show. (Comic >>> TV show). The story was great; I enjoyed Ed Norton as B.B. but I thought the Hulk showed very limited personality. The Hulk had excellent colors and shapes but he was just too small for my liking. The main let down of the movie was that the Hulk never really seemed to be in any kind of real danger. I mean come on, yes he nearly gets stabbed half to death by the Abomination but it almost seem like he then just casually gives the Abomination the beating he undoubtedly deserved. My biggest peeve of the movie was that it didn’t really show the true potential of the Hulks powers. In the movie where it said something along the lines that the hulks power is somewhere comparable to a god, so why didn’t they show me this!!!… THE MADDER THE HULK GETS THE STRONGER HE GETS… why oh why didn’t they show this?!!? The Hulk in the movie would never go from being enraged to “kicking-a-cute-little-bunny-furious . This was a big let down to this hulk fan. They showed this in the first movie “Hulk”. His power is virtually limitless and is only limited by his anger. Everyone knows that Hulk can kick Superman’s ass but the Hulk from this movie, I’m on the fence on this one. And I hope they show the Hulk leaping over building instead of climbing them in the next movie. Rickson Gracie can armbar this Hulk.


I think the 2003 version is alot better, the 2008 hulk is the same recipe as the other superheroes recent movies, lots of action but really empty. 2008 version seems to me that hulk was in many ways kind of king kong, specially in the cave scene with the female. 2003 hulk is deeper and more meaningful than just punch punch. I hate this little gags that we are soo use to now. this kind of cooolness funny situations. I had it with this kind of movies. thats why 2003 hulk rules.

Posted by rodrigo cortes | Report as abusive

this new Incredible Hulk is a lot more fun than the first one with Eric Bana; as usual Ed Norton has gravitated to a “split personality” role…


It’s a little odd that both hulk movies are being held to standards set by a saturday morning cartoon and an 80′s show I’m sure few, if any, have actually watched in recent memory. In a recent interview, Stan Lee (Hulk’s creator) expressed how shocked he would have been at the time he created the first comic book if you’d told him we’d still be discussing the Hulk today. The first Hulk was smaller than a modern day football player, gray, and turned into the creature when night fell. My point is, this character would never have survived without being allowed to evolve into something more sophisticated and interesting. Ang Lee’s Hulk relishes in the comic book world: Colors are saturated, angles split screened and dramatic, and the Hulk leaps are dramatic to say the least. Leterrier’s Hulk is rooted to a more recognizable world, and could nestle comfortably between the recent Spiderman and Iron Man; Suitably “realistic.” Oh, and strongly “inspired” by the t.v show, which the film-makers need to remind us of every twenty minutes or so. Lee’s Hulk was a total spaz, and I thought he was great! His reactions were totally believable: anger, fear, frustration, pain, clumsiness. Also, his relationship to Bruce Banner is quite obvious; they are one being, sharing traits between them. Leterrier’s Hulk is not particularly fleshed out. He is definitely surly, and adept at turning a police car into a pair of boxing gloves, though I can’t imagine why he’d need them. When the Hulk is on screen, Ed Norton is not, and that’s about the only connection I can draw between them. I think the 2003 movie, goofy moments and all, will survive in the hearts of many for years to come. This year’s movie will shrivel on the vine once the novelty wears off because it just boils down to two big things fighting until one gives up. The End.

Posted by eduardo | Report as abusive

Both films stink: a waste of time and money.

Special affects that don’t look real do not make a good movie!

What is wrong with Hollywood – have they all lost it there?

Posted by The Truth Is... | Report as abusive

personally, i’m glad it got made, but i was reading some blogs and this person seems to think otherwise about the situation … this is the craziest thing i’ve read in a long time,  /17/how-to-start-a-smear-campaign/

Posted by Bon-Joevi | Report as abusive

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