When “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” by Alejandro González Iárritu won the Academy Award for Best Picture in February 2015, it seemed to be a critique of current blockbuster patterns. Michael Keaton gave a superb performance as Riggan Thompson, an actor who became famous in the 1980s and 1990s for his role as Birdman, a ridiculous comic book superhero. Riggan has been struggling to prove himself as a “real actor,” and the film’s central performance is in a critically acclaimed Broadway production.
A central theme in “Birdman” is that superhero films are a type of selling out and that the temptation to star in what the film views as meaningless fare is incompatible with art and the discipline of acting. Eight years after “Birdman’s” criticism, superhero movies dominate box office receipts.
The Popularity Of The Hulk
After its first release, Universal’s “The Incredible Hulk” was only added to the expanding MCU. Disney wouldn’t buy the film rights to most Marvel Comics characters until the following year, delaying their plans for an “Avengers” feature picture and, eventually, an all-encompassing cinematic universe by a full year.
Cute Easter eggs were added as winking fan service in both “Hulk” and Jon Favreau’s “Iron Man” from the same year, but they were not intended to be read by viewers as advertisements for future works or statements of intent. For this reason, Leterrier’s picture didn’t get the same kind of publicity blitz as other MCU films have now.
Why Did Edward Norton Leave The ‘Hulk’?
Ruffalo could now be the name most synonymous with Banner and his green alter-ego. Still, at the time of his departure, he was one of the biggest stars in the MCU’s burgeoning roster, and until Disney purchased the Marvel moniker, he was seemingly on course to have a vital role throughout. However, when Norton dropped out before The Avengers, Kevin Feige hinted that it had nothing to do with the reasons he later cited.
CBR quotes Feige’s statement from the time as saying that Norton’s departure was because they wanted “an actor who reflects the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members.” While this is consistent with Norton’s reputation, it may also explain why a guy of his caliber would never join the MCU today. After all, it’s hard to envision Norton fighting alongside Thor in Ragnarok or fading to the background in other event-driven flicks. In any case, Norton and Marvel parted ways, and it’s possible that it’s for the best for all parties.
Why Did The Incredible Hulk Fail?
The Incredible Hulk was just a moderate hit with audiences back then. In the sequel to “Iron Man,” “The Incredible Hulk,” Edward Norton portrays Bruce Banner as a darker version of himself who goes into hiding to escape being exploited further. When movies about superheroes had a more substantial stigma, the picture received generally positive reviews from critics. When it comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the film in question stands out as an anomaly regarding its overall tone and how it was put together.
Although Norton was not given any writing credit for his work on “The Incredible Hulk,” it is well known that he has a significant amount of input into the creative process for many of the roles he plays. According to Norton, he contributed sufficiently to the script to merit credit but was not given one. Even though the movie earned positive reviews in 2008, Marvel swiftly moved on a new path, which was toward a more cooperative strategy for the MCU.
However, it is difficult to get a straight narrative out of Norton about why he departed the series if you ask him about it. At other times, he makes it appear as though it were merely an inventive diversion. He had a specific vision for the character, but Marvel had a completely different one in mind for how the character should develop.
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