Monday, June 16, 2008

Double Double Feature

Okay, now what could be cooler than a double feature of "The Incredible Hulk" followed by "Iron Man?" Nothing!

No spoilers. Keep reading!

Saturday night was a perfect night for the drive-in. My buddy Doug and his whole family went with us to Plymouth. This is the time of year when the theater's concession stand starts getting crowded, so we ate before we left. We stopped by Little Ceasar's and picked up pizza and sat around and chatted for a while, then made the short trip down to the drive-in. From Doug's house, it's a really short trip because they live in a spot where back roads bypass two speed trap towns that we ordinarily travel through every week. The towns are no joke. When they post 35 miles per hour, they mean 35. Their main source of revenue is from speeding ticket fines. I think they have Mad Max's Interceptor vehicle from the 80s standing by in case it's needed.

When we got to the theater we pulled up next our blue poles as usual, and got out the chairs. We spread a blanket on the ground for Sera to play on and I ran in to get the popcorn. We always tell Sera to stay on the blanket so she knows where her boundaries are. When I got back, Sera asked for her baby's blanket, which I dutifully got from the car. She laid it down next to her blanket, thus extending her permitted travel area! This girl is a precocious one. Uncle Doug brought back cotton candy for his two youngest and Sera got to share in the sugary goodness. I figure they owed me at least one sugared-up kid. Back when their 16-year old was eight, I took him and his then-teenaged uncle to a movie and then bowling. We went to Seven-Eleven to get a 44-oz. Slurpee right before I brought him home, and they reported that he bounced off the walls for hours. At the time I thought I was safe from retribution, but I was mistaken!

When the sun set and the movie began, we settled in to watch. "The Incredible Hulk" did not disappoint! Unlike the Ang Lee film, which I didn't think was bad, this movie was great. I think it was almost as good as Iron Man. It captured all the right beats of the tragedy that is the Hulk's story. It showed Bruce Banner as a responsible guy on the run, and trying to get out from under the curse of his gamma-irradiated alter ego. Like "Iron Man," there are nods to the past, some subtle (and some not-so-subtle) in-jokes, and of course the ubiquitous Stan Lee cameo. Every time I see Stan on the screen, though, I always think that it's too bad that co-creator Jack Kirby couldn't have lived to see this.

Marvel Productions has really done a good job establishing a new paradigm for their superhero movies. Seeing both these movies together, you really do get the sense that both characters live in the same world. It doesn't appear to be the same world that the movie Daredevil, Fantastic Four and X-Men live in (I haven't seen "Ghost Rider" yet), but I do think Spider-Man and the Punisher as portrayed in the movies would fit in well. It will be interesting to see what they do next as far as establishing future crossovers.

It's a great time to be a comic book fan at the movies!

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