Cue Heroes: It's Summer Movie Season

With a cast of characters that includes Iron Man, Batman, the Hulk and Indiana Jones, the 2008 summer movie season is shaping up as a summer of heroes.

The summer movie season had a superstart at the beginning of May with the release of "Iron Man," which scored a $100 million opening weekend and has gone on to rack up some $350 million worldwide at the box office.

And it seems Ol' Shellhead, as Iron Man is known among comic book fans, is just getting started. The movie hasn't even been out a month, and there's already talk of a sequel.

Robert Downey Jr. who plays the metal-suited billionaire Tony Stark in the film, told reporters, "We've been talking about the most ass-kicking opening sequence, if we were to do another one."


Next to Iron Man, the two big comic-book icons hitting screens this season are Batman -- in the movie, "The Dark Knight" -- and "The Incredible Hulk."

Wait -- wasn't there already a Hulk movie out just a few years ago? Well, yes, it starred Eric Bana as the Hulk's alter-ego, Dr. Bruce Banner, and was helmed by "Brokeback Mountain" director Ang Lee. However, the folks behind the new Hulk are hoping audiences' memories aren't that long.

Entertainment journalist Eddy Friedfeld, who snarkily refers to Lee's 2003 "Hulk" as "Brokeback Banner," said, "They're just kind of wiping it away. There's just kind of an understanding with the audience: 'Look guys, we made a mistake. If you forget about it, we'll forget about it.'"


The new version stars acclaimed actor Edward Norton, and the plot finds Banner on the verge of a cure for his anger management problem. In addition to the Hulk being green, this time around the entire film is "green," as in environmentally-conscious.

Norton, who drove a hybrid vehicle to the carbon-neutral set of "The Incredible Hulk" each day, feels the big guy's story is something of a metaphor for global warming.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News Radio's David Blaustein, Norton said, "It's sort of like the guy who monkeys with nature, and it blows back in his face. That's kind of like what the world's going through in a way. We've done these things and all of a sudden, we don't even know what's going on."


On a less serious note, Norton admitted that "The Incredible Hulk" isn't one of the comics he grew up reading as a kid. His familiarity with the Hulk came more from the '70s TV series starring Bill Bixby.

As he told ABC News Radio, "The Hulk was not one of the comics I read regularly. I liked Batman a lot. When the graphic novels of Batman came out, like "The Dark Knight," I thought they were really dark and complicated."

Conveniently, "The Dark Knight" is the other huge superhero flick of the summer. But in reality, this film -- the first Batman movie to leave the word "Batman" out of the title -- isn't really about the Caped Crusader at all. It's about the Joker. And more significantly, it's about the man portraying the joker -- the late Heath Ledger.


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