Directed by Louis Leterrier (2008)
Reviewed by Steve, added on Jun 17 2008
Don’t make Bruce Banner hungry…you won’t like him when he’s hungry… If you see the movie, you’ll get the joke.
The Incredible Hulk is a relaunch of the Hulk franchise…sort of. The movie is intended to be its own story, but at the same time nothing really contradicts the 2003 film, so the four people that liked the first one can take this is a sequel if they like. The movie moves along at a brisk pace. The origins of the Hulk are covered in the opening credits so by the time the story begins; the Hulk is already in Banner. We get our first Hulk appearance about 20 minutes in which is a big change from the first film.
The storyline, well the second half of it anyways, is like a live action version of the Hulk: Ultimate Destruction game. Which is a good thing. When the film opens, Banner is trying to cure himself all the while chatting with a person known as Mr. Blue, who wants to help. After Banner’s last test fails, he agrees to go meet Mr. Blue right about the time General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross tracks him down. Banner flees to the city and the rest of the film is a series of one on one matches between the Hulk and Emil Blonksy who becomes the Abomination (even though he never actually takes the name). Like Iron Man, this movie really feels like its part of the greater Marvel Universe rather than being off in its own world. Keen eyed viewers and fans of the comic will recognize names like Leonard Samson and Samuel Sterns as well as organizations like the Super Soldier and Weapons Plus programs. And then of course there’s the cameo by Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark which became such a big spoiler Marvel went ahead and put him in the latest Hulk trailers.
Edward Norton does a phenomenal job of playing Bruce Banner and will pretty much make you forget anyone else but he ever held the roll. Liv Tyler does a decent job as playing Betty Ross, but really, what are the qualifications to be Betty Ross? A: be a brunette. B: cry a lot. C: stare blankly at the Hulk in between fits of crying. And then there is Tim Roth. Tim Roth is inherently awesome and owns the Emil Blonsky character. Right from his first appearance you know what he’s all about. He’s essentially already a super soldier before he ever faces the Hulk and becomes obsessed with obtaining the power to beat him. Just like the comics, the story shifts Blonksy into the roll of the villain while the Hulk, whose had nothing but bullets and missiles sent his way, becomes the hero. What’s more is Blonsky is so cool in this movie that you almost want him to win. The Incredible Hulk is pretty solid in the story department. Pretty solid.
What the movie really lacks is that “WOW” factor. As much as Marvel may want to forget, the Hulk made his first CGI film appearance five years ago, and this movie suffers for it. When you get your first good look at the Hulk in this film you’re supposed to be blown away. But you’re not. The Hulk looks pretty much the same as he did five years ago. He’s a bit darker and isn’t 20 feet tall anymore, but you’re breath just doesn’t get taken away like it’s supposed to. If Ang Lee’s film had never seen the light of day I’d be raving about how cool the Hulk looked. As is, The Incredible Hulk is a fun film that just never makes it to the top tier of superhero movie-dom. It’s not nearly as good as Iron Man, but infinitely more fun and appealing than Ang Lee’s crapfest. Now bring on the Avengers!