Caught the midnight showing of Incredible Hulk tonight. Very fun movie that’s definitely better than the Ang Lee non-prequel. It flows nicely and the action wasn’t too brief, as it sometimes felt in Iron Man. Not to say it’s better than Iron Man, because it isn’t, but there’s no shame in that. Besides, this is the second episode of the Avengers Movie Saga and it does feel right in that respect.
Several weeks back I read the Peter David novelization, as I’m wont to do, so I already had been spoiled in terms of the plot. While there are few surprises, there’s still the interesting experience of seeing stuff that was in the original version of the story that got cut out. I’ve done this before, of course, with Spider-Man 3 and Iron Man. The former was originally a solid story until important chunks of it got cut out. The latter remained good, despite a subplot cut out because of the Air Force’s say so.
With Incredible Hulk, the good outweighed the bad in terms of cuts. God, did it ever. Yes, there was definitely some stuff that should have stayed in there. No doubt. It’s just that a lot of scenes that got ousted had the potential to be really bad. Really bad. I’m talking Superman’s cellophane S projectile bad. I’m talking Matt Murdock fighting Elektra at the playground bad. I’m talking the entirety of Rise of the Silver Surfer bad. It’s cool that I count that movie as one long, horrible scene, right?
Word on the street is that there are 70 minutes of stuff cut. It’ll probably be seen in DVD form. Whether or not that makes for a better movie remains to be seen. The deleted scenes below, filled with spoilers, don’t seem to sum up to 70 minutes, but when it comes to cutting them being a good or bad idea, I’ll let you be the judge.
- The opening scene, which appears to be the kind of thing to take place before the credits, has a truck driving through the arctic. Bruce Banner asks the driver to stop when they’re in the middle of nowhere. Then he gets out and walks away. The driver is confused, but drives off anyway. Banner walks through the blizzard, pulls out a pistol and tries to off himself. His arm won’t let him and he unwillingly pulls the gun away from his head and fires it empty. Then he falls to the ground, hoping to die from the cold, but transforms into the Hulk instead. As the Hulk, he smashes the ground and breaks it into icebergs.
This was probably going to be where the hyped Captain America appearance was going to take place. I suppose that without Namor in the cards, they would just have Hulk be the one to smash up the arctic and release his frozen body into the water. From what I understand, a version of this scene is in the videogame.
Whoever decided to cut this scene is a total pussy.
- There are a couple bits in Brazil that were removed. Nothing too important. Banner refers to his dog as “Rick”, giving us a groaner of a reference. When sparring with his aikido instructor, Banner cuts his face. He immediately goes to treat the cut and make sure the blood didn’t get on anything. That probably explains the scar on his cheek he has throughout the movie.
- Whenever Banner tries to go to sleep, he starts getting flashbacks to being the Hulk. He has to force himself to calm down before he can get to sleep.
- Stan Lee’s cameo wasn’t originally meant to be the guy who drank the poisoned soda. Instead, the scene involves a black kid named Jimmy, whose asshole brother steals his lunch and drinks his soda. The brother then collapses and goes into convulsions. Jimmy is supposed to be the same kid that’s there during the Hulk vs. Abomination finale.
- Major Sparr, the female military character, had a ton of scenes cut. Not that anyone cares, even if she is taken from the comics. Prior to the mission, taking place before Blonsky asked about whether Banner is a fighter or not, one of the soldiers asks Sparr about the excitement of getting away from her desk job for this assignment. Sparr talks down at the soldier and points out that she’d rather be back at the desk. Also, from the debriefing and the mention of radiation being involved, one of the soldiers suspects to the others that Banner is smuggling plutonium.
- That scene where Banner comes to the aid of his female coworker at the bottle factory has a notable cut. In the movie, the jerk gets in Banner’s face, but the boss calms things down before things can get bad. Originally, he tries to hit Banner and misses. The two have a full fight sequence that’s the one guy trying to attack Banner and Banner casually dodging. Then the boss steps in before Banner can get hurt. Probably would have been an awkward bit.
- When the military guys put a camera in Banner’s room, Rick the dog doesn’t try to eat it, but instead licks it. One soldier looks at it and snickers as Blonsky just rolls his eyes and acts annoyed.
- After Hulk leaves the bottle factory, Ross steps in to chew everyone out. When Major Sparr promises that they’ll get Banner next time, Ross gets angry that there shouldn’t have to be a next time.
- General Ross and Sparr try to explain away the Hulk incident to Blonsky by talking about a gorilla sighting in the area. Blonsky doesn’t buy it and wastes no time in disputing it.
- General Greller (the military guy played by the “This is SPARTA!” victim) chews out General Ross in his office. He refuses to believe Ross’s story about the Hulk. Blonsky comes in and explains what he saw, though when describing the color of the monster, he says that due to the darkness he wasn’t sure if it was green or gray. It’s also mentioned that the only major war medal Blonsky hasn’t received is the Medal of Honor. Greller ends up going forward with another strike against Banner, but with better soldiers.
Walking outside the office, Ross and Blonsky get in a heated exchange briefly, which leads to the beginning of the hallway scene in the movie. Ross adds a couple more details to the situation that created the Hulk. Banner wanted to use himself as a test subject because the government – not caring about the individual soldier – cut their funding. Ross gave Banner his blessing.
When talking about the Super Soldier Serum, Ross brings up that the project to recreate it had been shut down due to it getting out that they had been testing it on terrorist prisoners. The sample he had in storage is something he snuck away for a rainy day.
- There’s more to Banner’s pizza delivery antics, including a comedy scene where he delivers to a bitchy sorority girl who doesn’t want to pay full price. She opens the box, saying that the pizza is cold, despite all the steam coming out the top. Banner tells her not to make him angry, etc, etc, and she calls him a psycho, flicks an olive at him and slams the door.
A nearby college student with a keg tells Banner that he shouldn’t take that.
“You gotta smash that door in and… and tell them…”
“It’s clobbering time?”
“I’ll keep that in mind.”
- That Asian college student from the post-Ferrigno scene is supposed to be Amadeus Cho. You would know this because when Banner offers him the pizza, he says, “Whoever you are, you are my new personal hero. Amadeus Cho, at your service, and you couldn’t have come at a better time. Gotta feed the brain.”
When Banner is messaging Mr. Blue, he gets an IM from “Stealthwarrior229”. Banner cautiously accepts the message and sees a digital animation appear on a chat screen where a monster goes on a rampage, causing Banner to widen his eyes in paranoid panic. Then the monster finds a pizza, eats it and devolves into Amadeus Cho. Banner looks over to see Cho holding a slice of pizza and waving back.
- When Banner is hitchhiking to escape Betty, a truck does stop and the driver decides to let him in. That’s when Betty drives over and gets out. The truck driver asks if Bruce is in or out, but when he and Betty embrace, the driver wishes them well and drives off.
- Leonard Samson gets a lot more play in the middle part of the story, which is the one major thing other than the suicide attempt that should have remained in the movie. I mean, they don’t even mention him by name in the film.
When Banner and Betty enter the house, they find him on the phone – likely with the military – acting like he’s speaking with a patient. He gets acquainted with Banner and insists that Banner and Betty sit together and talk as he goes to make dinner.
The discussion between Banner and Betty is longer, including Banner saying that Mr. Blue is Samuel Sterns. Betty recognizes the name. Banner is a bit paranoid that Sterns blew the whistle on him to the government, which is how they knew where to find him. Betty argues against that because Sterns is more of an anarchist and hates the government. In the middle of the conversation, Samson interrupts with dinner.
We see later, towards the end of the meal, where Samson is in the middle of an anecdote about one of his nuttier patients. Everyone has a good laugh and Banner starts joking with him. Having had a good time for the first time in years, Banner’s laughter breaks into hysterical crying as the other two get silent.
- Betty and Samson are in bed together, but Betty’s trying to hide her crying. Shortly after, Banner, who can’t sleep, goes into the living room to find Samson sitting back, drinking. The two have a long conversation about Betty and is where the “go see a shrink” bit from the trailers comes from.
Great bit comes before that, though, from Samson’s side of the discussion:
“I’ll confess something to you if you’ll clear up some things for me. First, I confess, as a man, as Betty’s lover… that I have always hoped you were dead. Not because I didn’t like you, but because I love Betty and I’ve known that unless you were really gone, or she believed you were, that there would always be three of us in this relationship. I’ve dreaded the thought of you walking through the door. But now that you’re here… I have to admit that I’m very happy about it. Because I’m also a psychiatrist. And I’m committed to putting light into dark corners, so to speak, and I’m very good at finding my way into the places people hide their secrets.”
The big thing is that he admits that Betty never told him anything Hulk-related and it’s always made him curious.
- The next morning, the car doesn’t work. It seems the battery is dead, but Banner knows that Betty turned the headlights off the night before, making him suspicious. It’s decided that Betty will walk him to the bus.
- In the campus battle, the sonic amp trucks are referred to as Discos. Also, when Hulk powers through them, Sparr makes note that the angrier he gets the stronger he gets. Maybe it is for the better that they didn’t play into that like they did in the Ang Lee movie. The viewer’s ignorance of that does make Hulk seem slightly more beatable.
- When Banner wakes up in the cave, he wonders if he’s dreaming. He admits that he’s had many dreams involving Betty. Then he starts vomiting. He says that that usually isn’t part of the dream, which relieves Betty.
- As Betty moves Banner into the motel, Banner mentions another dream he would have where the world is empty except for himself, the Hulk and insects that devour them on a daily basis, only for the Hulk to regenerate. A random allusion to Hulk: The End. This proceeds to weird out Betty.
- Betty gets confused at Banner’s facial scar, when all his wounds as the Hulk healed up. Banner points out that any scars he gets in his puny form are permanent. This conversation leads to Betty ducking her head and brushing her hair to a certain spot to show a scar of hers from the initial Hulk incident. Once Banner realizes what it is, he tries to look away, but she insists he see it and assures him that it’s okay and stopped hurting a long time ago.
- You know that news footage of the two college students describing Hulk? Notice how they only have like two seconds of them talking, just long enough for them to describe him as being a “hulk”? Yeah, there’s a reason for that. The full dialogue the two of them had was unbearable. What the hell, here it is:
“Dude, it was like a huge and green… huge… I mean, like, the way Steve Nash looks standing next to Shaq? Shaq would look like that standing next to this.”
“Dude, it was so big. It was like this huge… hulk. And home was stompin’, yo.”
- General Greller yells at General Ross for the Hulk information getting out to the public and for Blonsky getting demolished. He also makes a cryptic mention of another Super Soldier Serum failed experiment that Ross was involved in. Sounded like a reference to something for the Captain America movie. Shortly after, when Ross sees that Blonsky is fully healed up, Blonsky is actually showed in good spirits, joking with the nurses. This just shows more contrast in Ross’ disturbed seriousness in what’s happening.
- While driving around, Banner asks Betty about how long he’s known Samson and whether or not she trusts him. He doesn’t say that he believes Samson ratted on him, but it’s implied. Once they drop the subject, that’s where the discussion about what it feels like when he becomes the Hulk occurs.
- Major Sparr speaks with General Ross, suggesting that they up the terror alert so that they can inspect car passengers and have a better chance at finding Banner and Betty. She then questions Ross over Banner’s quest to cure himself. Considering what the Hulk’s done to them, who are they to keep him from stopping it? Ross then goes into a speech about his side of things. He feels that the technology involved with the Hulk is like fire. You can be afraid of it and run, or you could be the one to tame it, use it and bring the world to a new age. He chooses to be that man. Ross offers to allow Sparr to stay at her desk position, but out of loyalty, she asks to remain a field soldier for him.
- Don’t know if this was filmed or note, but there’s a montage of Banner and Betty enjoying songs on the radio as they drive. Though Banner sits one out when Aerosmith plays and Betty gets way into it.
- From the descriptions, the boat captain that Banner and Betty hire was supposed to be Stan Lee originally. His ship is even called the S.S. Excelsior.
- Okay. Now here’s the part that I’m really glad they cut. Do you remember the SHIELD scene where they’re able to figure out who Mr. Blue is and where to catch Banner just because of one sent email? That was WAAAAY better than what they originally had in mind.
Major Sparr is running into dead ends trying to figure out who Mr. Blue is through government technology, so she decides to type “Mr. Blue cellular biology” into Google. She finds a crapload of search results but after a couple pages, she finds a link to a YouTube video. Yes, a YouTube video. That video shows Samuel Sterns doing a presentation where he turns his unfortunate subject’s skin blue. As everyone laughs at the proceedings, Sterns refers to his subject as “Mr. Blue”. Sparr then puts “Samuel Sterns cellular biology” into Google and figures it all out.
She solved the huge national security mystery with Google and YouTube. It’s like that 24 parody on South Park, only not meant to be funny.
- Sterns’ lab is described as being more disturbing. His test subjects, as he mentioned to Banner, are revealed to be fetuses in jars.
- When Banner is shot with the tranquilizer dart, he hears a high-pitched scream. He then realizes that it’s not Betty, but Sterns.
- Up on the helicopter, prior to jumping to his possible death, Banner admits to Betty that because he thought he killed her when he first became the Hulk, he tried to kill himself. The Hulk wouldn’t let him, which is why he thinks the Hulk will save him from the fall. Also, someone suggests using the Disco amps on Abomination, but Ross refuses. There’s not enough open space and it’ll do more damage to the city.
- There’s supposed to be a ton of fight footage from Hulk vs. Abomination on the cutting room floor. As far as I can remember, it was pretty much the same as in the book. The way I figure it, test audiences probably wanted more fighting, so they worked on adding more to it. Only they couldn’t finish the effects in time, so they’ll leave that for the director’s cut. Just my guess.
- Hulk gets a few lines in the movie. Namely, “Leave me alone!”, “HULK SMASH!” and “Betty…”
The novelization only has the third. So glad they changed that. I get that they wanted it to sound important that his first word was “Betty”, but we want the money lines. I still can’t believe Ang Lee’s Hulk only had him grumble, “Puny human,” in a dream sequence.
- When authorities and New York citizens step in to watch the end of the final battle, someone asks which one is the Hulk. General Ross yells, “It’s the one that’s winning! The one that’s here to save your asses!”
- Hulk stops killing Abomination in the movie just because Betty screams, “Stop!” In the book, she screams his name a couple times and goes into one of those speeches about how if he kills Abomination, he’s just as much a monster as he is. Once he lets Abomination go, the crowd starts chanting, “Hulk!”
- At the end of the movie, we see Leonard Samson trying to call Betty over and over again. Finally, she picks up. They talk for a little and she asks him if he ratted out Banner. Samson admits it and apologies profusely. Betty says she accepts the apology, but in a disingenuous manner. She isn’t sure where she’s going now, but promises to tell him when she figures it out. After the call ends, Samson starts crying into his hands.
Once the call is ended, Betty gets the letter sent by Bruce with her mother’s necklace in it. She remarks, “Incredible.”
And there you have it. Again, I think the only things that needed to remain in are the opening scene and the Samson stuff. I just found him likeable, like Lois Lane’s husband in Superman Returns. It was the kind of thing where Banner liked him enough to think that Betty was in good enough hands, putting them in a stalemate, but the love triangle was destroyed by Samson’s betrayal. Without all that, it made Betty’s movie self seem really petty. Like the second Banner returned she tossed Samson to the side without thinking twice about it.
I was going to try the same experiment with the Dark Knight novelization, but that thing’s not coming out until late July, after the movie’s already been released. What’s the fucking point?