The Incredible Hulk Review

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Amidst fierce competition by other superheroes on the big screen, the biggest superhero makes a grand return to the big screen. But does the world’s favorite green giant match up to the likes of Spidey, The Dark Knight and the latest success Iron Man? Read on for the complete low-down on…THE INCREDIBLE HULK.

The Good: Director Louis Letterrier starts off this movie in a way unlike any other superhero movie. Instead of wasting half the movie to explain the Hulk’s origins, he goes through the motions in the opening credits itself! With the background out of the way, the movie takes the viewer right into the busy lanes of Brazil where leading man Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) hides in the shadows away from the prying eyes of his arch-nemesis General Thunderbolt Ross (William Hurt). Banner, determined not to let Gen. Ross exploit his powers for the wrong purposes, desperately seeks a cure to rid the monster that resides within him albeit with little success. His only hope is to go back home where it all began and retrieve the data of the failed experiment that unleashed the monster within him. Ed Norton puts up a gritty performance of a man torn between a Super-ego that wants to put an end to its destructive Id and a monstrously powerful Id that does not wish to hand the reins back to the Super-ego once in control. The choice of the storyline (borrowed from late-70s TV series) is sure to go down well with long-standing Hulk fans. The unbridled, insane destructive action sequences are sure to get to your adrenaline pumping. The CGIs are tastefully blended with the real-life action which is commendable in a movie where the main draw is a computer generated figure. The fast pace of the movie and the solid supporting performances by Liv Tyler as Betty Ross and Tim Roth as the main villain of the movie The Abomination add to the strengths of this movie. And of course, the liberal use of inside jokes on the Hulk certainly pleased this reviewer.

The Bad: There aren’t many bad things to say about the movie. The movie maintains an even pace from start to finish but unnecessarily digresses a bit when the romantic angle between Bruce Banner and Betti Ross is focused upon. Though it successfully captures the struggle of dominance between Banner and The Hulk, the psychological turmoil isn’t exploited to its fullest. Though every actor does total justice to his/her character, there isn’t a stand-out performance in this movie. Norton comes also to achieving that and so does Tim Roth, but apart from that, the performances are at best above-average. A thumping, guitar-heavy soundtrack would have gone brilliantly with the stunning SFX but then again, that’s a luxury and not a necessity.

The Verdict: The biggest superhero in the world may have not delivered the biggest superhero flick of the year, but it’s definitely a movie worth your cash. A certain surprise twist towards the end opens up a whole new world of possibilities for the sequel. The sheer magnitude of the destruction The Hulk causes is sure to leave the viewer open mouthed. All in all this is a well rounded movie. We definitely like it when the Hulk gets angry!

Rating: 3½ out of 5.

What the Ratings Mean:

0 – Terrible Beyond Imagination
1 – Mostly Pathetic
2 – Strictly OK
3 – Good
4 – Very Good
5 – Bow Down and Worship!

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2 thoughts on “The Incredible Hulk Review

  1. Jesusbuddhaman

    A Couple of notes – here’s some scribbles on my thoughts of the Incredible Hulk..

    People of Mass Destruction

    My grandmother always regarded Bill Bixby’s Hulk fondly – to paraphrase her with her firm ‘hand smashing’ motion and a large grin on her face – ‘He just kills everything in sight’. Well not entirely – See the Hulk is a superhero and superheroes don’t kill. ‘The most powerful superhero in the world’ That’s the byline we get on the poster from Marvel’s recent sequel to Ang Lee’s Hulk. Ang Lee’s Hulk – For the sequel It’s Marvel’s Hulk? – I can’t say Edward Norton’s Hulk or Letterier’s Hulk because the film clearly doesn’t stick t’em – Marvel’s Hulk is a case of fan-boy Marvel writing meets reduced FX budget. Two very large individuals clash in the boroughs of New York and the only question running through my mind was ‘What’s the body count?’. There never really is anything truly destructive happening – I’d have loved to see the factory in the favela become a smoldering ruin, the university campus grounds looking like an earthquake struck and the buildings in the boroughs being bought down with hurricane force.

    General Ross (William Hurt) in TIH unlike General Ross (Sam Elliott) in Hulk is looking to harness the Hulk for a weapon rather than seeking to contain him. If the Hulk was about rage, abusive fathers, absent mothers – subject material for a Greek tragedy – with nary a comic moment, the Incredible Hulk is its polar opposite – playing into the original territory of the comic book and later TV series which saw Banner as a fugitive from everybody.

    Ed Norton saw the Hulk as part of the the Prometheus myth: ‘It’s tapping the story of stealing fire from the gods and being burned by it […] There’s a certain blowback to messing with nature.” Ang Lee’s film deal with the idea of hubris – of monsters of our own creation – coming back to haunt us – Banner’s father’s self-testing and his mother’s death, Ross’s high-handedness leading to the imprisonment of Banner’s father and Banner’s subsequent isolation, Banner’s own bottled up rage and its effecting the Hulk transformation. The Incredible Hulk on the other hand seems incredibly simplified by comparison reveling in the hunt with Banner being chased down by the U.S army. Blonsky’s hatred for Banner might seem inexplicable since they have no working relationship prior to their first meeting, but Blonsky’s competitiveness that defines him, as a professional soldier cannot stand being beaten by an ‘accident of nature’.

    The origin story varies here from the first film – Banner is seen as an accident resulting from self-experimentation unlike earlier where his transformation is a result of self-sacrifice. His relationship with Betty also changes – from her being a ex-lover who walked out on a decent but emotionally repressed man to being a doting almost fawning girlfriend of a man she sees as wrongfully harassed. The best moment in TIH for me was when Betty gives Banner a gentle head massage..

    Ang Lee’s Hulk remains the only mature film adaptation of a comic book ‘superhero’ out there – while all the other superhero movies get spelled out as gritty, norish, super and fantastic in terms of their adaptations, they still retain their pulpy roots and you cannot take them seriously (Not that you’d want to – put away yer fucking superhero tights). The Hulk had layers being about more than just a man in purple tights who smashes – a critique of American foriegn policy -creating monsters that come back to haunt them, allowing clearly clinically unsafe nuclear and biological testing and the most dangerous enemy to the States – an accidental home-grown uncontrollable ‘Weapon’ of Mass Destruction.

    TIH remains nothing more than a remake of the original TV series and for all the grousing done by executives at Sony, Edward Norton, fans, Letterier about the cartoonish animation, the absence of the Hulk for the first 45 minutes (its actually 33 minutes), not enough action sequences (Hulk has 45 minutes featuring the Hulk, TIH has 23 minutes) the different rendition of the Hulk from the original comic book (I prefer Ang Lee’s Hulk oversized child-like Id creature over this cheesy computer game monster) and all sorts of fanboy quips (‘nagnagnag—The Hulk doesn’t increase in size when he gets angry – that is soo wrong’) – the fact remains that Ang Lee’s film had the one thing lacking in TIH – a bloody pulse.. When you came out of Ang Lee’s Hulk, you just wanted to smash something.

    I did.. I upturned a rickshaw that banged into me.. I’m a PMD – Person of Mass Destruction..

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