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How The Incredible Hulk’s Final Battle With Abomination Pays Homage to Iconic Hulk Hands Toy
Along with the Spider-Man web shooter, Hulk Hands helped create a new generation of Marvel fans.
There was a period of time in the early 2000s where you weren't cool unless you had a pair of Hulk Hands lying around the house.
Released by the now-defunct Toy Biz as a tie-in product for Ang Lee's pre-MCU Hulk movie, the foam fists modeled after the destructive mitts of Bruce Banner's rage-fueled alter ego made "real Hulk sounds" (the commercial's words, not ours) when hit against solid surfaces. Along with the web shooter made for Sam Raimi's first Spider-Man film, they helped create a new generation of Marvel fans.
"The thing about the Hulk is that you don't give him something,” Damon Nee, one of the masterminds behind the popular product, explained during a 2020 interview with Marvel.com. “You don't put something on the Hulk. He didn't carry anything. He doesn't have a Web-Shooter. He doesn't have a shield. He doesn't have a hammer. The Hulk is the Hulk. You know? His power is who he is. And I was thinking, like, 'What if he had great, big hands that made you feel that you're powerful like the Hulk?'"
How 2008's The Incredible Hulk pays homage to iconic Hulk Hands toy
Hulk Hands clearly made a lasting impact on director Louis Leterrier because when The Transporter alum got picked to helm 2008's The Incredible Hulk (now available to own from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment), he decided to pay homage to the iconic plaything in the final battle between Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) and Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth). Acting contrary to Nee's reasoning, however, Leterrier did "put something on the Hulk," though you won't hear us complaining.
"Remember the Hulk gloves? Everybody had the Hulk gloves," the filmmaker said during a recent rewatch of the movie alongside MTV's Josh Horowitz. "I was like, 'Oh, let's do some cool, new Hulk gloves.'" That idea manifested itself as the badass visual of Hulk ripping a cop car in half and using the two pieces to bludgeon the Abomination senseless.
Released into theaters a month after the first Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk helped jumpstart the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which continued to chug along this past weekend with The Marvels and the Season 2 finale of Loki.
Several Incredible Hulk characters — Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross, Betty Ross, and Samuel Sterns (aka The Leader) — will return in the upcoming Captain America: Brave New World from director Julius Onah. Liv Tyler and Tim Blake Nelson are set to reprise Betty and Sterns, respectively. The passing of William Hurt necessitated recasting the role of Thaddeus with Harrison Ford.
The Incredible Hulk is now available to purchase from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Leterrier's most recent blockbuster for Universal — Fast X (the fifth-highest grossing movie of the year) — can be found exclusively on Peacock.