This weekend, when “The Incredible Hulk” finally SMASHES his way into theaters, Marvel will sit with its fingers crossed, hoping he demolishes not just expectations (and half of Harlem), but lingering memories of the character’s previous big-screen incarnation as well. And why not? As cast and crew members, including Tim Blake Nelson, Stan Lee and director Louis Leterrier told us, this could be the start of something big (read their thoughts on what they want to see in the sequel).
But while Leterrier is positively thrilled at the prospect of a “Hulk 2” and “The Avengers,” of which Hulk will be a part, he can’t help but wonder: Will the superhero genre start to drown itself in its own excess? Or, to put it more simply, when will enough be enough?
“I actually got a little scared while I was making the movie. I saw the slate of the movies that were coming out this summer: ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Hulk,’ and then you have ‘Batman’ and ‘Hancock,’ and later you'll have ‘Watchmen.’ It's getting a little oversaturated in superhero films, and at one point they're probably going to get boring,” he contended. “Especially if it's the same type of story — either the defender of the earth, Superman kind of superhero or self-doubting Spider-Man, Hulk kind of superhero.
“There's a fad of superheroes,” he added. “And they go up and they go down.”
So how do you keep it fresh, keep it different? Leterrier says that Marvel has the right idea with “The Avengers,” due in 2011. “That's the future of superhero movies: the crossover, the alternatives.”
But at the same time he insists they need to go even further.
“I'm begging [Marvel Studios President] Kevin [Feige] to do ‘1602,’ the Neil Gaiman version, you know, the almost medieval superhero movie," Leterrier said. "I'd love to see that. That'd be a nice switch on the superhero movie.
“Or Hulk goes global, even bigger. ‘World War Hulk!’ ” he added. “That would be my dream come true."
For the uninitiated, “1602” was a limited series written by Gaiman where the Marvel superheroes were transplanted to Elizabethan times, giving us characters like Sir Nicholas Fury (intelligence officer to the Queen) and Peter Parquagh. "World War Hulk" is a recent Marvel crossover comic series that saw the big green guy smash his way across the globe, fighting and defeating the likes of Iron Man, the X-Men and Dr. Strange along the way.
Forget rights issues for all these characters (which recently derailed a Spider-Man cameo in "The Incredible Hulk") — filmmakers need to start thinking of doing things like this now, Leterrier insisted. And, believe it or not, it’s easier than you'd think.
“For example, on ‘The Hulk,’ we shot a lot. We could have had a four-hour movie. Why not do our own ‘Kill Bill,’ where you have ‘1602’ part one May 3rd and then June 2nd, ‘1602’ part two?” he wondered. “It's not impossible to do in this industry, and these movies actually would be good to do. There's many, many things to do with superhero movies, many things to do. [Right now] is just the beginning.”
What do you think of Leterrier’s comments? Is the superhero genre starting to devour its own tail? Would you long to see a miniseries event like “1602,” “World War Hulk” or “House of M”? And if not, how would you go about keeping the movies fresh? Sound off below.