I don't wanna control it. I wanna get rid of it. – Bruce BannerI dug Ang Lee’s somewhat morose and semi artsy take on THE HULK in 2003 (mutant poodles and mutant Nolte aside). With that said, I can capish why the film didn’t catch on. I mean most folks going to see THE HULK (many of them with their kids) want to see Hulk throw down and intentionally or unintentionally “save the day” to then leave the theatre with a smile carved in their faces. Personally HULK 2003 kind of bummed me out. I wasn’t in a good mood when I stepped out the cinema that’s for damn sure! Well I got a polar opposite vibe after experiencing this reboot/can almost work as a sequel. THE INCREDIBLE HULK (yup same title as the David Bixby/Lou Ferrigno 1978 TV series) had me feeling like a kid again. Where I would call the 2003 THE HULK the “drama Hulk” this new installment was giant hands down the “action Hulk”. After a brief recap of Hulk’s origins over the opening credits and a swift set up of the situation; THE INCREDIBLE HULK launched itself into full-on action mode, using relationships and plot turns as starter pistols for you guessed it…more freaking action. And you know what? NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT! I mucho appreciated that the flick was low on dialogue. it let its physical get-downs and its audio/visual hat tricks do the talking while rarely sacrificing character development, emotional resonance and the dramatic quotient of the story in the process. I was touched by the lovey dovey shite, involved in Banner’s plight to cure himself, loved to hate the awesome villain (Tim Roth can do no wrong) and was totally rooting for Abomination to get his scaly butt whooped by Hulky come the finale. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!
Moreover, the CGI went from adequate to mind blowing, the affair had a winnings sense of humor that went down smooth, it also hinted at enough other Marvel properties/characters (Iron Man, Captain America, The Avengers and some say Daredevil) to get my fan boy blood in a tizzy, slyly nodded the 1978 HULK TV Show (all about that theme song surfacing – I went nuts!) and served up one hell of a final battle between THE HULK and ABOMINATION. I read somewhere that only “children” would enjoy the CG mano et mano that this flick put out at the end. Man I hate when critics do that; speak out as if their word is gold. Hey man, I’m no f*cking child and I had goose bumps going on when the rumble in New York between the two mutants erupted. Over the top, inventive, visually arresting and running at just the right length, it OWNED ME! WOW!
That's not to say the film didn't have its snags. It was at times edited too tightly for my liking. Before I could digest what I had just seen, the flick would cut to another frame, hence making some of the action bits not hit as hard as they should've. Random plot holes and one dangling plot line were also in the house. I mean was it just me or was General Ross' "carte blanche" a little too "blanche"? I mean who’s approving this man’s "careless" actions? He’s opening fire in public places for Zeus’s sakes! COME ON! And I really wanted to know what happened to the person that drank that contaminated (by a drop of Banner’s blood) bottle. Maybe it was a set up for the next HULK movie or maybe it was just bad storytelling – only time will tell. Lastly, the Samuel Sterns character (played by Tim Blake Nelson) was not funny (Was he supposed to be?) and he got on my freaking nerves hence taking away from the crucial happenings on hand. I hope he’s not as grating when/if he becomes “The Leader” in future HULK movies.
THE INCREDIBLE HULK was for me a perfect flip side to 2003’s THE HULK. Changes in plot details aside, both films actually complement each other as they offer two different perspectives on the same subject matter. You bet your ass I’ll have a HULK/INCREDIBLE HULK back to back night when this one comes out on DVD. Till then…ARROW SMASHED…on JD!