June 12, 2008 at 8:38 pm #1342
You know, I wouldn’t be surprised if every reviewer on the internet starts off by giving their thoughts on Ang Lee’s Hulk. Well I’m going to do the same because I want to be cool
I liked Ang Lee’s Hulk. It was an interesting take on a comic book movie and when the Hulk was unleashed, his rage was spectacular. But I understand why people didn’t like it. HULK was more of a character study than a superhero action movie. Now having said that, I still feel that the Desert Base to San Francisco sequence is one of the best comic book action scenes in the history of cinema. But fans wanted more Hulk, less Bruce and no crazy Nick Nolte.
So. Is this later effort better? I’m not sure I’d say that…it’s certainly different, geared more towards the action crowd. But the problem with THE INCREDIBLE HULK is that it doesn’t have enough of what HULK had too much of – story.
Marvel cut 70 minutes of story out of the film and it shows. The film really suffers for it. Characters aren’t fleshed out enough, especially Bruce. His struggle to come to terms with the monster inside him is pushed to the side in favour of getting to the next action sequence a little more quickly. And frankly there is no need for it. It will be interesting to see the dvd, with those scenes hopefully restored. The character of Betty Ross probably suffers the most. Her role is more of a cameo than a full supporting role and it’s a shame.
But as it stands, it’s not a terrible film. What’s there is good, if a little abrupt due to the cuts that were made. While I miss Eric Bana as Banner, Norton does a fine job taking on the role and you can see the influence of the TV series in his performance, which is a good thing (and yes, THAT music is heard…though it’s all to short). Tim Roth’s transformation from soldier to unstable super soldier to Abomination is well handled and once again proves that the guy should be getting more big roles.
William Hurts "General Ross" is a little different than the superb Sam Elliot, but it is still a good performance. You can see that his hunt of the Hulk isn’t just about doing his job, it’s personal. But you want to know about the action…
Well, it’s ok. I was a little disappointed to be honest. The cgi was mediocre at times, making it look like a video game in some areas. The Hulk himself actually reminds me of Goro from the Mortal Kombat movie. More attention is paid to making him looked "ripped" than big.
There wasn’t a moment in the film where I felt that the Hulk was incredibly powerful…put it this way…Superman could kick this Hulk’s ass…easily. The Hulk was strong, but never felt or looked powerful. The big fight between Hulk and Abomination was underwhelming and cheesy at times.
The best thing about the movie isn’t the action or the story or the Hulk himself…it’s the geek stuff. The stuff that ties the Marvel movie universe together. SHIELD, Stark Industries, Captain America….it’s all being set up throughout these Marvel movies, leading towards Avengers, and while it’s totally cool…it’s a shame that the best things about the film are about what’s yet to come and not about the central focus of this film.
There are hints towards Hulk sequels (so says The Leader) in there as well and hopefully Marvel will see sense and not interfere the way they did with this film.
Overall, it’s an ok movie…but it needed more. It needed more action…or bigger, more powerful action, it needed more focus on the characters and story (which I suspect we will see in the Directors Cut) and it needed to focus a little more on the Hulk himself.
I wouldn’t call it incredible…more…The Above Average Hulk.
I think it’s possible to do a great Hulk movie…somewhere in between this movie and Ang Lee’s film.
Before I leave this review I want to talk a little about Captain America…the way Tim Roth moves when he first takes the super soldier serum, is very promising. I would expect Cap to be more fluid and graceful…but if that movie builds on the way they handled it here, I think we’re in for some cool Captain America action.
As for The Incredible Hulk, it’s an ok film…if the sequel can combine the summer movie feel of this one with the sheer power of the Hulk in Ang Lee’s film, then I think we may finally see the great Hulk movie that we all want.
This film is good popcorn entertainment, if a little lacking in substance, and any Hulk fans will be geeking out at certain moments (Thunder clap and Hulk Smash) and Marvel fans will geek out over the hints of what’s to come. It’s certainly not as good as Iron Man, but it is above average and will entertain you.
Final Score: 6/10
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