The Incredible Hulk2008
Action (Comic Book)
Running Time: 112 minutes
Starring: Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, William Hurt, Tim Blake Nelson, Ty Burrell
Directed By: Louis Leterrier
Rating: 4.5 out of 10
OutlineA scientist is on the run from the army as a lab experiment causes him to turn into a giant green monster.
The Hulk is back for round two after a dismal film debut and he is ready to Hulk Smash at will. Unfortunately for us the viewer it is much of the same monotonous film watching. This film centers on scientist Dr. Bruce Banner and his experiments with Gamma radiation. After an accident at the lab during one of these experiments the radiation changes him drastically. Bruce Banner changes from man into a hulking green monster with little to no control if his pulse hits a certain accelerated rate. Naturally the army can’t have this menace around so they need to capture or kill Dr. Banner before he does any damage to the populace or so they would have us believe.
This film gets off to a good start as the actual laboratory accident and Dr. Banner’s subsequent flight from the army is all covered in an opening credits montage. People who don’t know much about the Hulk or have not seen the first movie might find this a little strange and too quick of a plot development. Although the players have changed I liked to think of this as Hulk 2 so I liked the quick intro of the back story. I felt it could have led to a fresher film with less drawn out scenes of storyline. The film however found new ways to bore the audience even though a big chunk of the original film's storyline was cut out. The problem with the Hulk movies will always be story to action ratio. Bruce Banner is not as captivating a character as Bruce Wayne or Tony Stark. So when we are forced to watch, like we are in this movie, long dramatic scenes of self discovery and love it is tiresome. When the action scenes do finally arrive you are almost bitter they took so long to get there instead of enjoying them.
Edward Norton takes over the character Dr. Bruce Banner from Eric Bana in the first film and does an admirable job in the role. His unassuming style and smaller body type lead to a solid character that you could get behind. His quest for the truth of the accident plus trying to find a cure for his Hulkism was well done. His love interest Betty Ross played by Liv Tyler however was less than stellar. Her pained raspy delivery coupled with stupid character decisions was a major detractor. Running towards a Hulk battling men with guns is one of the many things you can look forward to from this awful character. I hated the Banner/Ross love story angle and wish it was deleted from this film. They have zero chemistry together and she should have been recast. It should come as no surprise that the star of this movie was Tim Roth playing soldier Emil Blonsky. Roth is always at his best when playing the bad guy (See Rob Roy) and he was no different in this one. His decidedly evil features coupled with a good perception of his characters focus was what this film needed. Having William Hurt in a supporting role never hurts (No pun intended) a movie either.
Comic movies are always about action and although I found the story ruined this film the action for the most part was a good if not a great watch. The film is all about the army trying to take down Dr. Bruce Banner as the hulk and while an opening scene in Brazil had a lot to be desired due to choppy camera work. The action sequences in the middle and at the end were a fun watch. The Hulk is at his best when tearing things apart so battling the army and its many gadgets is a good start. Also having the fighting venues take place in the city causes for a lot more wanton destruction and human casualties so I liked the setting a lot. The CGI while on purpose cartoonish was put together nicely and led for some great scenes. All in all the action sequences were decent and well polished but they always felt too long in the making.
Director Louis Leterrier is no stranger to action films with the first two Transporter movies and Unleashed on his resume. He unfortunately tackled a monster in this film that in my mind is not to be. Leterrier I think did as good a job as he could have with the script handed to him. The action sequences were crisp and outside of Liv Tyler the casting was correct. The film however felt like it was 3 hours long instead of just under 2 with unwanted dialogue and forced scenes of reconnecting with the past. Having to wait for the fight scenes in this film is torture as Bruce Banner is not a fun guy to watch. Leterrier did a decent job in some places but ultimately turned a film that should be action with drama into drama with action and that was a huge mistake. I also felt this movie could have used a little comic relief in places or if they did try it just wasn’t funny. Lastly and this is me just being petty I hated Bruce Banner’s wrist pulse counter telling us when he was about to Hulk up. Like the audience is really going to be scared when his pulse is rising it was a stupid addition to this film. Overall he did a respectable job with a hard topic.
I cannot recommend this film. Hopefully this will be the last of Hulk as a standalone film as although he might be called the Incredible Hulk in the title he is Mediocre Hulk at best.
T Factor + If you like lots of dramatic buildup in your movies then this could score higher on the rating scale.
T Factor – If you need lots of action in your movies then this could score lower on the rating scale.
If you liked this movie reel recommendations: Iron Man, Captain America