Compiled by Anealla Safdar, Digital Department, DFI
Who’s your favourite Marvel character and why? We polled a bunch of superhero super fans to find out theirs. Here are the results:
Disclaimer: Doha Film Institute cannot be held responsible for super fans’ choices (or the popularity of Hulk). If you would like to tell us about the Marvel character you consider marvellous, tweet us your 140 character review on Twitter to @dohafilm, get in touch on Facebook or use the comments section at the bottom.
Waheed Khan, 39, DFI Senior Producer
I was a sickly child, suffering from asthma, unable to participate in sports and forever reaching for my inhaler. I wanted to be strong, win trophies and score goals but it wasn’t to be – I was never hero material. Cinema became my sanctuary and I got lost in the big screen’s make-belief worlds.
I first watched ‘The Incredible Hulk’ series and immediately connected with Dr. Banner’s character. He didn’t have strength. His Gamma radiation experiments began, he got angry and soon he metamorphosed from puny human to gigantic, green, super-human creature of power, rage and destruction. He’s our modern day Frankenstein.
When anger takes over Banner, his eyes changes colour from blue to electric-green. His shoes split, shirt splinters and he gains an Olympian God’s muscularity.
Many mild-mannered men have turned into movie monsters (Michael Jackson in ‘Thriller’, David Naughton in ‘An American Werewolf in London’, Michael J. Fox in ‘Teenwolf’). For me it began in the 1970s with Bill Bixby’s transformation into bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno.
I’ve avidly watched each modern movie incarnation. Ang Lee’s art-house ‘Hulk’ took Banner almost 60 minutes to transform. ‘The Incredible Hulk’ starring Edward Norton felt like a Bourne Supremacy Hulk on-the-run. Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk in 2012’s ‘Avengers’ changed the game. His anger simmers, he controls it to keep peace and then Hulks out to save the planet.
Director Guillermo del Toro is due to produce a new television series. There is talk of Ruffalo starring in six more movies. In July 2011, Marvel released a comic-book series ‘Hulk of Arabia’. For these adventures, Hulk is red and his first mission takes place in Qatar.
But for me, nothing beats the image of Bill Bixby walking a deserted road with that haunting piano music playing. In Hulk, I trust.
Howard the Duck
Michael Maksoudian, 35, Filmmaker and Movie Blogbuster Founder
It was common practice for my dad to take my brother and me to the movies every Sunday. We would eat our lunch as quickly as possible and head to the cinema. At that age, all screens felt IMAX-sized to me. Popcorn in one hand and a soft drink in another, this film mesmerised from the get-go.
The hero was a 27 year old walking, talking, duck with martial art fighting skills. He also played the electric guitar and was supposed to save the earth from an alien invasion. Pure magic! A perfect film for little me.
Mine might not be as famous as Hulk, but this is a Marvel character. He goes by the name of Howard the Duck. Howard the who? Howard the what? A cynical duck from outer space, Howards smokes cigars, wears a tie and is a master of Quack-Fu. It was the first film based on Marvel comics that was released in theatres in colour back in 1986, produced by the one and only, George Lucas.
Reem Shaddad, 25, DFI Social Media Strategist
“How do you make someone stronger than the strongest person? It finally came to me: Don’t make him human — make him a god.” Stan Lee, Creator of ‘Thor’, former President and Chairman of Marvel Comics.
This is where the evolution of Thor began. For the generic film-goer or blockbuster lover, ‘Thor’ (2011) was a delicious treat. For devourers of Scandinavia’s glorious ancient mythologies, ‘Thor’ was a taste of grandeur, nobility and utopia of a world so unlike our own.
A mixture of power and bashfulness, Marvel has created a force that is feared and desired. In fact, Thor is reminiscent of another on-screen symbol who transcends modern interpretations of super human aptitude – DC Comics’ Superman. They’re both alien, god-like beings, sent to earth. They love and protect humanity. Superman has been an icon for the last eight decades. Thor is a younger but worthy heir to the throne.
The son of Odin, ruler of the Nine Worlds’ capital Asgard, Thor symbolises much more than the Norse Gods’ golden locks and shining armour. Thor is an emblem of hope for those with their hearts and minds firmly planted in the worlds of fantasy and mythology; an unashamed form of escapism to a story that continues to plant seeds of faith in goodness beyond our capacity or understanding.
That is my Thor.
James Rawson, 26, DFI Associate Producer
As the founder and leader of the world’s greatest crime-fighting team, Professor Charles Francis Xavier protects the free world from the tyranny of evil, puts the X in X-Men and provides inspiration for sufferers of male pattern baldness the world over. He is, quite simply, the greatest Marvel character.
According to official comics (yes I know the movies say differently, be quiet) a young Xavier was crippled after Lucifer, a malevolent alien, dropped an enormous stone tablet on his legs (don’t you hate it when that happens?) However, thanks to a genetic mutation, Xavier remained one of the world’s most powerful psychics. Calling on these powers and Cerebro, a giant mutant-finding machine he built, Xavier summoned together the original X-Men: Scott Summers, Bobby Drake, Warren Worthington III, Henry McCoy and Jean Grey. Or Cyclops, Iceman, Angel, Beast and Marvel Girl, to give them their mutant names.
As the X-Men’s leader, Professor Xavier has often been compared to Martin Luther King during his time as a civil rights leader: when there is a possibility of violence, Xavier opts for diplomacy, and when his own ranks call for segregation, Xavier campaigns for co-existence. I think we can all agree; the world would be a better place if there were more Xaviers in charge.
Arafaat Ali Khan, 35, PR Director at ExtraCake PRA, organisers of the Middle East Film and Comic Con
I still get goose bumps when I pick up my 1989 issue of ‘Hulk’. It’s not in the best shape. Who knew about preserving comic books back then? It was the start of something special. It was when the geek in me was truly born and I began the fantastic journey that I still find myself on today – that of a comics and collectibles collector (okay, a geek fan-boy).
The character is deeper than many give him credit for. He has two personalities with shades of schizophrenia: a command of pathos and then there’s the obvious smashing. Hulk is grey, green, smart and mindless all at once. I’ve revelled in some great shows over the years. Who can forget the classic television series with Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno? I still consider Bixby the best Dr. Bruce Banner out there. Perhaps it’s nostalgia.
When Hulk finally made his way to the big screen, I was thrilled. I enjoyed Ang Lee’s take on the character. The comic book panel style editing worked. Sure, the end dragged on a bit and there was too much forced empathy, but I can forgive him for that.
As a comic book fan I was worried about this year’s representation of Hulk in ‘The Avengers’. I needn’t have been. This Hulk is really strong yet holds on to that irreverent attitude, which makes him so much fun. Multiple viewings later, and Captain America’s line wins every time. “Hulk…SMASH!”