I thought the horror geeks were a pretty demanding lot, but they've got nothing on the comic book stalwarts. Give these guys safe, obvious, conventional superhero flicks like Elektra, Daredevil, Ghost Rider, and The Punisher -- and they complain. Rightly so, in my opinion. But then a filmmaker comes along and tries to buck that trend -- by bringing a decidedly untraditional approach to such an oft-told tale -- and those fans still find a way to get angry. I'm speaking of Ang Lee's Hulk, of course, a film that seems destined to be considered a "failure" for all eternity. And I think that's just lame. People talk about Hulk like its one step above Catwoman, for crying out loud!

Yes, the movie most definitely has its flaws, its missteps, and its slow spots (and really, who thought "mutant poodles" were a good idea?) -- but I'm of the opinion that Mr. Lee struck a very engaging balance between his affection for the source material and his intent to try something ... different. So while Hulk does offer your standard "origin story" and requisite battle scenes (most of which are pretty spectacular), it seems pretty obvious that the director was shooting for something both playful and "artsy" at the same time. Perhaps I'm just being a little bit charitable, given that The Hulk is my all-time favorite Marvel character -- but I tend to think that would make me a little more critical, all things considered. And since I've seen Hulk at least four times now, I'm well aware of what I consider to be its flaws and its assets. Clearly I think the latter outweigh the former. (Plus it stars Jennifer Connelly, don't forget, and she's my Kryptonite. Seriously.)

So there. I'm a fan of the first Hulk flick and I don't care who knows it. Frankly I think it's a flick that deserves a second chance. Erik and I will be reviewing The Incredible Hulk this weekend, but here's a little teaser: I dug it a whole lot. It ain't Iron Man awesome, but it's a lot of fun. It "fixes" a lot of what people didn't like about the first flick, but (more importantly) it stands as a rock-solid action flick in its own right. (Plus it stars Liv Tyler, and she's my younger Kryptonite.)