Stephen Vaughan, Warner Bros.
The late Heath Ledger plays the Joker and Christian Bale is Batman in "The Dark Night," scheduled to open in theaters on July 18.

First impressions are important. Two trailers from this summer's superhero movies, "The Incredible Hulk" (June 13) and "The Dark Knight" (July 18) didn't exactly knock anyone out at first.

"The Incredible Hulk" is being described as a "requel" — partly a sequel to and partly a reboot of the 2003 movie "Hulk."

The first trailer for the movie clearly had some unfinished, computer-generated effects, and as a result the hero and villain characters looked more rubbery than those in its predecessor.

However, the Ain't It Cool Web site (www.aintitcool.com) has some more encouraging, nifty-looking footage featuring the title character doing battle with a soldier character played by Tim Roth.

The same story also has links to more footage featured at www.yahoo.com and www.mtv.com as well.

As for "The Dark Knight," it's a sequel to the 2005 hit "Batman Begins." Some of you may remember a teaser last December that showed absolutely nothing. Instead, the voices of Christian Bale and Heath Ledger could be heard.

Fortunately, subsequent, considerably better teasers have concentrated on footage as Ledger as a very scary Joker. And an even newer one shows Brigham Young University product Aaron Eckhart as district attorney Harvey Dent, the initially heroic character who eventually becomes the villainous Two-Face.

So, hurray for second ... and third or more ... impressions.

BUT THEN AGAIN ...

Further trailers and teasers for the Mike Myers comedy "The Love Guru" (June 20) look every bit as dreadful as the initial sneak peek. Here's hoping they're misleading.

IT'S ONLY SORT-OF SUPER!

Getting back to "The Incredible Hulk," it was co-produced by Marvel Studios, which has been taking control of Marvel Comics-related projects. First up for the studio was the very well-received "Iron Man," which was released by Paramount Pictures.

Future Marvel Studios productions include an "Iron Man" sequel and movies based on the comics "Captain America," "Thor" and "The Avengers," the last being a follow-up to the teaser featured during the post-credits scene in "Iron Man."

Marvel doesn't control all of its movies, though. Sony still has the rights to "Spider-Man," and Fox has the "Fantastic Four" and "X-Men" properties.

Those latter two are featured in the "Marvel Heroes Collection" (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, $69.98) a nine-disc boxed set collecting all of Fox's superhero projects to date.

While it is nice to have all of them in an economically priced package, it's sad to see the quality of the movies has declined so quickly. The first two "X-Men" movies were quite good, but the third ("The Last Stand") was awful. And while "Daredevil" wasn't terrible, its spin-off "Elektra" sure was.

By the way, an eighth disc features the first season of the recent, mediocre "Fantastic Four" cartoon, and a ninth disc is actually a CD-ROM that contains comic book art.


E-mail: jeff@desnews.com