Are some franchises cursed? That looks like the implication of today's article in The New York Times about the intense reactions to The Incredible Hulk, which has divided fans online and elsewhere ever since the trailer came out last month. According to reporter Brooks Barnes, the preview was released "to vanquish memories of the 2003 film." Instead, it resurrected them with complaints that the character looked too fake. Hollywood has acknowledged pre-release backlash before -- remember how Ain't It Cool News supposedly impacted the reception of Batman and Robin over a decade ago -- and they've adapted to it, as demonstrated by the way all the anti-Brett Ratner venom leading up to the release of X-Men: The Last Stand didn't affect its box office reception one bit.
Commercial prospects aside, it would've been nice if Marvel and Universal had turned to the source material to uncover the best possible Hulk material for the big screen. I've always felt that the Planet Hulk series (continuing now as World War Hulk), which found the Angry Green Giant on a foreign planet adapting to alien culture, does the best job of tapping into the character's fragility while simultaneously illustrating his ability to kick major ass. Plus, it brings other Marvel characters into the mix -- which is something the studios are trying out with the confirmed Tony Stark/Robert Downey, Jr. cameo in Incredible Hulk. Then again, maybe the best stories shouldn't get butchered by less-than-stellar adaptations. Remember the goofy symbiote in Spider-Man 3? I've tried to forget it.