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Hulk, Batman, and my morning nerd-out

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9191__hulk_lWhat’s the best thing about comic-book movies? The effects? The anticipation? Predicting the next fanboy dustup/wankfest? Let’s go with the latter and look into some potentially controversial developments.

Hulk: You didn’t like him when he was angry. Will you like him when he’s… persistent? We’ve been told for some time now that a Hulk sequel (or “do over,” as Marvel honcho Avi Arad has called it) is in the works. Somehow, I didn’t really believe it until now. There’s a date, June 27, 2008. There’s a director, Louis Leterrier (Unleashed) and a screenwriter, Zak Penn (one of the large team of scribes who built the X-Men franchise). Marvel says this one will hew closer to the comic, with more action, more Hulk heroism and roughly 100% less Nolte. Let the cheering, sniping, and hulking out begin.

After the jump: More casting buzz on the next Batman

Batman: In his next big-screen adventure, Batman fill fight Hawkman.Wait… read that wrong: Batman will fight Ethan “The Hawkman” Hawke.Maybe. There’s a rumor going around that Hawke’s being considered forthe role of “a lawyer” in The Dark Knight, Chris Nolan’s follow-up to Batman Begins. Might that “lawyer” be Harvey Dent, the debonair District Attorney fated to become Two-Face?

Not sure how I feel about this one. There’s a part of me that’sstill young and foolish, and wants oh-so-very much for Billy DeeWilliams to return to the Batman franchise. He’s too old? Ha! Thanks toa diet of nutritious sausage, Billy Dee Williams is ageless. And he was the Dent to end all Dents.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I’ve been reevaluating my dismissiveopinion of Ethan Hawke ever since he more than held his own in MichaelAlmereyda’s sleek fin de siecle Hamlet.But with Heath Ledger as young Joker, Christian Bale as young Bats,Hawke as young Two Face… I dunno, is this starting to feel a littlelike Muppet Babies Batman? So many pretty boys, so few… dents.

Ah, but I quibble. I quibble because it’s my job. And I’m enormously heartened by this news: Dark Knight co-composer Hans Zimmer says he and collaborator James Newton Howard wrote an additional leitmoif for Begins,which they intentionally held back. Bats has to earn that theme, saysZimmer. This is an excellent development: If I had one problem with Begins’atmosphere, it was the lack of a clean, unified musical theme. Irealize the original Danny Elfman march wasn’t a good match for Nolan’snaturalistic approach, but I wanted something equally bewitching toreplace it. That didn’t happen, and now I see why: Batman’s stillbecoming Batman. His theme is waiting for him. So are we. With batedBat-breath! And here endeth my morning nerd-out. Please pick up where Ileft off.

Originally posted November 7 2006 — 4:14 PM EST

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