Why Was The Hulk Left Out of Marvel Phase 2?

You may have asked yourself lately “Why out of all the A-list superheroes in The Avengers, is The Hulk the only one not to be getting his own standalone movie as part of Marvel’s Phase 2?” Well, for a couple reasons… probably.

During a recent appearance at the Glasgow Film Festival, Avengers maestro and general pop culture hero Joss Whedon shed some light on the matter. In fact, Whedon expressed reservations about the problem of making a “good” Hulk film. Ang Lee’s 2003 effort, Hulk, was arguably too arthouse for a mainstream audience (not to mention the mutant poodles) while the 2008 Louis Leterier installment, The Incredible Hulk, though it may be canon, wasn’t hugely memorable, despite Tim Roth’s credible turn as villain Blonsky. The Hulk, in Whedon’s own words, “is a tricky son of a bitch.”

It’s easy to understand why: with his famous Jekyll & Hyde complex, The Hulk is definitively an anti-hero, and, so unlike Batman/Bruce Wayne or Superman/Clark Kent, he and Bruce Banner are two entirely separate (and generally conflicting) personas. Greg Pak‘s Planet Hulk storyline was recently rumored to form the basis of an upcoming Hulk movie – shades of John Carter – which Whedon has since dismissed. Planet Hulk is all about the big green meanie, leaving very little space for Banner, who, when all the CGI is stripped away, is the heart and soul of any Hulk movie.

Whedon has called Mark Ruffalo, the current incarnation, a huge asset to any future Hulk project, but has tempered that by saying, “he works so well as part of a greater whole, but by himself, its tough.” The Hulk, in this writer’s opinion, is difficult in the same way that Superman is difficult because he too is almost invulnerable but unlike Superman, there’s no Kryptonite, or indeed, emotional weaknesses to exploit. Hulk might smash, but a vibrant social life he has not. The difficulty is striking a balance between the sympathetic Banner and his rampaging alter-ego.

Hulk’s next big screen appearance will be in The Avengers 2, out on May 1st, 2015. Any changes in the status of our favorite irradiated latter-day golem, you’ll be the first to know.

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Robert Wallis

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