Welcome to… actually, I don’t know what to call these. I’ll eventually come up with a title for these match-ups, but for now I’ll call this “The Battle of the Hulk Movies.” When I came up with the idea of doing these comparisons, this one was somewhere in my mind. Since the Hulk is coming back to theatres in Avengers: Age of Ultron, I think it’s finally time to see which Hulk movie is truly “incredible.” Today, it’s Ang Lee’s Hulk (2003) vs. Louis Letterrier’s The Incredible Hulk (2008).
I first saw Hulk at my uncle’s house in 2003. It was either Thanksgiving or Christmas, I don’t remember which. I remember that we saw X2: X-Men United before it and I still think X2’s a better movie. It’s got Nightcrawler in it for cryin’ out loud! It was a few years before I decided to rent it at Movie Gallery and watch it again. I think I remember it being better the second time around, I’m not sure. As for The Incredible Hulk, I rented it from Movie Gallery when it came out. Man, I miss Movie Gallery. Anyway, I don’t think I’ve seen it until recently. I might have seen it on FX or something.
For this little project, I decided to re-watch both movies in order to get a better opinion. I have to admit that they aren’t the best of the genre but they aren’t the worst either. They are good movies in their own right. I’ll be looking the heroes, the villains, the supporting characters, the action and the story. I really won’t touch on the effects all that much. A movie from 2008 is probably going to look better than one from 2003. Still, there are a few things I’ll touch on effects-wise.
First up, it’s Eric Bana (nice name) vs. Edward Norton for the best Bruce Banner. Coming into this, I thought I’d be for Norton all the way. Strangely enough, that didn’t happen since I actually liked Bana’s portrayal of the tortured Bruce Banner (or Kelmzer as he’s called at first). I thought the backstory on his childhood was pretty tragic and we see how that shapes him in the present day. I liked his relationship with Betty as well. What I wasn’t a fan of was his Hulk-out scenes. I think he may have overacted there with the breathing and pouty faces. At least he made it look like it hurts.
As for Norton, I liked his portrayal of a man on the run. We see how the Hulk has ruined his life, career, and his relationships. He’s constantly searching for a cure and it’s sad to see when he can’t find one. Even though I wasn’t a big fan of 2008’s Betty (I’ll get to her later), I did like their relationship as well. I also liked the addition of Banner trying to keep the Hulk away from General Ross in order to not have his work be exploited by the military. I will say that there are times where his Banner is a little to high-strung. I guess that what happens when you have a 9-foot tall green guy in you.
In the end, I don’t know which Banner I like better. They both have their strong suits and weird moments. They also both have some funny moments in the movies. Instead of making this a tie, I need to break this tie by comparing the Hulks together. After all, what is Banner without “the other guy” around?
Next up is the Hulk, Bruce Banner’s other side. Here, I want to compare the Hulks in terms of looks, size, actions, and overall personality. It sounds like I’m trying to pick the next Miss Universe or something, don’t it? Anyway, here we go.
I do have to say that 2003’s Hulk does look pretty good for that time. Still, he has weird things that make him look a bit unappealing. He did look a little too green and I wondering where his neck was. As for the size, that was pretty weird. At first, he’s about 8 to 9 feet. After his second transformation, he gets much bigger. He’s probably at about 12 or 13 feet and I can tell because I looked up Jenifer Connelly’s height. I even thought this was weird when I first saw it back in 2003. I know the Hulk is supposed to be big, but he’s not a straight-up giant. I will say that this Hulk had some personality. We got to see a nice range of emotion when he reacted with Betty and his father. He also had some hilarious take down moves. He didn’t play around.
For some reason, I now feel compelled to get some canned vegetables.
Then, we get to 2008’s Hulk. I do have to say that he also looked pretty weird. I don’t know what it is about this one that makes him look unappealing. It may be the fact that he looks too ‘roided up. Maybe it was the lighting during the fight at the college that made him look weird. I actually think he looks better in darker scenes since he looked cool in the factory scene and the final fight at the end. He also has dark-green skin and I do like that. He’s even kept at a consistent height (about 9 feet) and that was cool. I also like that we get to see more of him in a couple of scenes with little action. The most notable scene is when he and Betty find a cave after the fight with the military. It’s quite funny and Hulk shows a range of emotion there. He also knows how to handle himself in battles against the military and the Abomination.
Dang... I see why Blonsky probably wants to look like something from Clive Barker's nightmares at the end.
In the end, I’ll have to go with 2008’s Hulk for the overall win here. He just looked much more consistent and much cooler than his 2003 version. The 2003 version does have his moments. That being said, when it comes to the best Banner and Hulk in general, you can’t go wrong with Mark Ruffalo in the Avengers movies. Don’t worry, I’m not counting that but I have to say it somewhere.
“That’s the thing, Captain. I’m always angry.” Oh Yeah!
Hulk (2003) – 0
The Incredible Hulk (2008) – 1
Next up, we have a cat-fight between Jennifer Connelly and Liv Tyler for the best Betty Ross. Here, it’s not even a contest in who is better. I honestly thought Connelly played an awesome Betty. She looked the part of a scientist, had an interesting relationship with her father and Bruce, and was actively involved with all of the main players. It also helps that Connelly was really cute. I guess every guy says that but it’s true. While she and Bruce aren’t actually together in the movie (they had previously broken up), you could still tell she loved him.
Tyler’s Betty didn’t impress me as much. She wasn’t bad at the role but I believe I didn’t like how her role in the story was. She did have some good moments. She was also pretty cute. Hey, I said with Connelly, so I might as well say it about Tyler too. I also thought her and Bruce’s bond was genuine too. Still, this point goes to Connelly in this area.
Hulk (2003) – 1
The Incredible Hulk (2008) – 1
I think I'll cut it off here for now. I don't want to have this big thing of text on the screen. Tomorrow, I'll finish off the battle by looking at the rest the categories. Until then, Peace, God Bless, and laugh at Glen Talbot's hilarious demise!