You know what I love?
My Hulk Hands.
I know. It’s a weird, mysterious love for something that’s a toy. Something dumb and ridiculous, but still amazing. So, let me tell you a story.
Hulk Hands came out with the first (not quite excellent) Hulk movie. Massive foam-rubber fists that went up to about mid-forearm and made noise when you hit things. You know the ones.
At the time, I was young(er). I didn’t have much disposable income, as most of my money went (and still goes) toward books, and begging my parents was really not an option. But, these Hulk Hands were such a Thing of Want, I had to force myself to stay out of the toy aisle. They made my Christmas list, but Santa declined.
When I heard of the new(er) Hulk movie, my heart leapt. There were bound to be tie-in Hulk Hands and now I was old(er) and could drive myself to Target and had my own job and my own money to throw at whatever I deemed worthy. But, what I got was disappointment.
Really? Padded? I was so sad. I couldn’t even…argh. Not foam rubber at all. These were like Stuffed Animal-Hulk Hands. Where were the veins? Why didn’t they look all muscley? Despite my wanting-hunger-pains, I couldn’t bring myself to purchase these…travesties.
Then, Avengers came out. A cardboard Hulk hung from the ceiling, guiding the children (and I) to the toy aisle, promising a glut of superheroics. I followed the decal foot stomps to the back section.
And they were there. One last pair of Hulk Hands. I stared at them. They stared at me. I took a picture of them. I glanced up and down the aisle because I had to TELL someone. I wanted to run through Target and tell everyone that I had found a pair of Hulk Hands. Because they were foam rubber. And green. And muscley. And there were veins.
It was so strange. This thing that I had wanted for 8 years was finally within my reach. Those years of not having it didn’t lessen the want, this burning desire for something as trivial as foam rubber fists. I hadn’t assigned any significant meaning to them. I had no attachment to the Hulk, more than a general enthusiasm for all things Marvel. I wasn’t going through something when I first started wanting them.
I know everyone says that material things can’t make you happy, but, guys, my Hulk Hands make me happy. They make me really happy. When I’m said, I put them on and just wear them around the house. I bang them together like a boxer getting ready for a bout. You can’t cry when you’re wearing Hulk Hands.
Perhaps there is some greater meaning behind my Hulk Hands. I mean, we all like to get what we want, right?
But, then again, they’re only toys.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of The Avengers. After Hulk smash puny wizard by knocking Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II from the top spot for domestic grossing opening weekend, The Avengers is headed for another record breaking weekend. The second weekend will be in the $95-105 million range pummeling current record holder Avatar, which earned $75.6 million in its second weekend.
No film has ever done it faster.
A moneymaker does not an Academy Award make, but Writer/Director Joss Whedon deserves a nod all the same. For at least three categories, including Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Picture, here’s why I nominate Joss Whedon for the Academy Award.
BUT BE YE WARNED, THERE BE SPOILERS AHEAD
1. He made the Hulk work.
When most people walked out of Avengers, the name playing across their lips wasn’t Stark or Loki. It was Hulk. Whedon installed a personality upgrade to the big green rage monster. Hulk wasn’t just fueled by the most brutal of human emotions, which seemed to be the trend of the Hulk’s previous two films, Mark Ruffalo’s CGI monster has a sense of humor.
There’s even a moment when he saves Iron Man’s life and practically shouts him back from the dead. There was plenty of concern pre-release on what role man’s bestial nature would play and if Whedon and Ruffalo could pull it off. They did.
2. He got that cast to make that movie
Let’s crunch some numbers.
Gwyneth Paltrow – Winner Academy Award Best Actress, 1999
Robert Downey Jr – Academy Award Nomination for Best Actor, 1992; Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actor, 2009
Mark Ruffalo – Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actor, 2011
Jeremy Renner – Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actor, 2011; Academy Award Nomination for Best Actor, 2010
Samuel L. Jackson – Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actor, 1995
That’s six noms, 1 win.
If you’re judged by the company you keep, the Avengers is a pretty good crowd to hang around.
What’s even more impressive: find any interview featuring more than one Avenger and you might get an idea of what it was like to work with these guys day to day. They are impressive. They are hilarious. It’s remarkable they got any work done at all. But, you can tell from the linked interview that Joss Whedon can take control and command the personalities.