One of the most recognizable superheroes today, The Hulk smashed his way into comics in May of 1962 with the Incredible Hulk #1, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The character of the Hulk is composed of two juxtaposed persons, Dr. Bruce Banner, a brilliant scientist, and the Hulk, the result of a gamma ray explosion. In most cases, Bruce Banner turns into the Hulk when he gets angered. The Hulk is usually portrayed as a destructive and raging savage, the opposite of the meek doctor.
What's Been Done
The Hulk has headlined only two movies since the days of his live-action TV show starring Lou Ferrigno. The first was in 2003, simply called Hulk. This movie explored the origins of the titular character and starred Eric Bana. In 2008, the Hulk “franchise” was rebooted. Edward Norton starred in this movie called The Incredible Hulk. This was the Hulk’s last solo movie to date, now appearing in Avengers’ movies portrayed by Mark Ruffalo.
Hulk fans everywhere have been begging for a new Hulk solo film since the colossal success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a collective of twenty movies with many more to come (11 in development already!). However, to the dismay of many, this will never happen.
No New Movie
First of all, the MCU already has a solo Hulk movie. Though often overlooked, the 2008 Incredible Hulk was the second movie in the MCU line-up. In fact, Ed Norton was supposed to play the Hulk in all following films, but was replaced by Ruffalo.
Secondly, the bumbling buffoon that Hulk is often portrayed as is hard to make a good movie out of. No one wants to watch 120 minutes of a green man running around grunting and smashing things.
Coming in third, probably the biggest reason, the current producer of MCU movies, Disney, doesn’t own the rights to the character. Universal Pictures owns the rights to the entity that is the Hulk, and they will not sell. Though the goliath that is Disney may soon change this as seen by the recent events (Fox merge).
Most conclusively, in a interview with Variety, Mark Ruffalo comments on the future of the Hulk, “I want to just make one thing perfectly clear today: A stand-alone ‘Hulk’ movie will never happen.” There you have it, from the Hulk, himself, don’t hold your breath.
How I Would Do It
Now the question stands, if Disney were able to acquire the asset, how would they go about making a quality Hulk movie? Hulk is a hard character. Neither of the movies were received well and the TV show was often quite silly. The answer is quite simple. Only two words, in fact: Professor Hulk. The ideal Hulk, in my opinion, the perfect balance of Banner’s intellect and genius, and Hulk’s physique and strength. First appearing in The Incredible Hulk #377, this version of the Hulk would make a GREAT movie.
There has been a trend in the MCU movies that we might actually get this in the upcoming Avengers 4. The Hulk counterpart is seemingly getting smarter and smarter in every movie appearance. The most convincing evidence of this is the promotional art for Avengers 4, displaying a more refined, less “hulked-out” Hulk, who is even wearing clothes!
This version of the Hulk would allow for dialogue often lost due to the usual nature of the character, yet we’ll also be granted with the great smashing scenes the Hulk is known for. Though many argue this takes away from the character’s complexity, for a movie this simplicity is a must. A comic can handle the Jackal & Hyde theme better than a movie can. With moving pictures there has to be balance and enough content to keep an audience entertained for a single sitting and come to a satisfying conclusion. Ongoing comics do not,
In my eyes, the only way to successfully produce the Hulk in a movie setting is to introduce the greatest Hulk, Professor Hulk.