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The Incredible Hulk (2008)
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Review Date: November 18, 2008
Director: Louis Leterrier
Writer: Zak Penn
Producers: Avi Arad, Kevin Feige, Gale Anne Hurd
Actors:
Ed Norton as Bruce Banner
Liv Tyler as Betty
Tim Roth as Emil Blonsky
Plot:
Scientist Bruce Banner got messed up by some gamma rays back in the day and is now on the run from the government and hiding in the slums of Brazil. Despite the hotties in the area, Bruce bails as soon as the US government closes in on him, and returns to the States in order to see his honey-bunny and attempt a return back to normal. You see, whenever he gets angry…he turns into this giant green monster called the Hulk and ends up smashing everything in sight. Kinda like me every morning. Tons of smashing ensues!!
Critique:
I was one of the few people who apparently didn’t completely hate the original HULK film, as created by Ang Lee, back in 2003. Maybe it’s because I’m just a fanboy at heart, maybe it’s because the Hulk has always been one of my favorite comic book characters, or maybe it’s because I wasn’t necessarily expecting an all-out “Hulk smash!!” movie, but whatever the case, I thought the film had its issues, but all in all, was a good time and other than its final 10 minutes which were horrible (and Nick Nolte altogether), featured a great intro to the character. Obviously, many people disagreed with me, so this time around, TRANSPORTER 2 director Louis Leterrier came into the picture, armed with new actors across the board, a “re-imagining” and yes…the Hulk smashing the shit out of a lot of things over the duration of the movie. I enjoyed this picture as well, but I can’t say that I was entirely blown away by it. I thought its pacing was ideal, the acting and directing, solid all around, and the action sequences, a ton of fun – especially when the Hulk would pick up an item and toss it into oblivion like it was the weight of my socks – but I didn’t connect to the characters as I did in the first film, particularly not to Bruce Banner and the love of his life, Betty Ross, as played by Liv Tyler here.

I think the producers of this go-around obviously chose to concentrate on the “action stuff” rather than the character development, which is fine, but if you’re looking for a combination film in the same vein as SPIDER-MAN and such, you won’t find that here. That said, if you love videogames and enjoy watching two massive monsters kicking the beejesus out of one another, THE INCREDIBLE HULK is for you and then some! Despite the film’s final 20 minutes featuring all-out action between the Hulk and his monstrous adversary, there were several moments during this massive brawl that I was taken out of the film because I was basically watching two CGI characters wrestle around on the screen…you know, kind of like those scene transitions in today’s videogames? In other words, I was like, “Am I watching a movie or a videogame here?” and I think the introduction of that question into my feeble brain, was probably not a good thing, considering that movies are supposed to engage you in characters and everything.

That said, I was engaged throughout most of this film because I like the story of Bruce Banner/Hulk, and everything moved along nicely. Tim Roth and William Hurt also brought their respective A-games to the show, while Norton did a fine job as Banner, although it didn’t really feel like he was in the film all that much, since “the Hulk” seemed to appear more than he did (again, I don’t really have a problem with this though). The CGI stuff was pretty much like it was in the first film, which was acceptable, but certainly not in the mind-blowing realm. I also enjoyed all of the cameos, including Stan Lee and the great Lou Ferrigno, as well as the nod to Bill Bixby and of course, the TV show’s very melancholic theme score. I also wished they’d ended the film on the close-up of Norton’s eyes turning green (yeah bitch!), instead of the Tony Stark/Iron Man epilogue, which wasn’t as cool (granted, they were both “cool” scenes, but really…the green eyes would have been the more ideal ending), but hey…that’s life sometimes. All in all, a lotta fun, a lot of action, smashing and special effects, and even a shot of the Hulk’s flaccid penis, if you pay close attention. PS: I’m kidding about the green penis. Kinda.
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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