The Incredible Hulk

So Mrs. G2B and I saw The Incredible Hulk last night.

I had a great time. Be aware: the film is not nearly as artistically ambitious as the 2003 Ang Lee film, but it doesn’t drag, either. If you went in wanting to see scenes of the Hulk destroying midtown in a battle with another giant beast–which I did–you’re going to enjoy yourself.

I think the best way to look at Incredible Hulk is to see it not so much as an adaptation of the comic (or a sequel to the Lee film) but as a big-screen adaptation of the 1970s television series.

Ed Norton makes a better Bruce Banner than Eric Bana did, not only because he’s a better actor, but he also has the thin, reedy physique that contrasts well with the bulging Hulk. And I liked Liv Tyler as Betty Ross more than I did Jennifer Connelly. What I enjoyed most in the movie were the scenes of the Hulk interacting with humans in ways other than being shot at by them or smashing their vehicles.

Not that there isn’t plenty of that. The film also fails to follow up any of the intriguing threads it introduces, such as the development of the Hulk’s personality and how it relates to Banner’s. There’s also such an unbelievable amount of military recklessness and disregard for (American!) civilian casualties that in the real world, General Ross (William Hurt) would be charged with war crimes–but to that I say, come on, it’s a Hulk movie. Everyone got out of their cars, helicopters, and apartment buildings in time. This isn’t the Ultimate universe, where the Hulk is a living tactical nuke who eats people.

While most of the mainstream reviews I’ve read have commented negatively on the CGI Hulk, I thought he worked fine. Mrs. G2B was quite amused by several of his expressions, which usually related to exasperation regarding his situation. Unlike in the 2003 film, this Hulk can talk (somewhat)–and makes it clear he just wants to be left alone. The Hulk may be the modern equivalent of one of Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein’s monster, and it’s clear that was what director Louis Letterrier was going for.

There are many references to the Marvel universe and its history, of course, a cameo by a recent Marvel superstar. Overall, I found the Hulk to be an entertaining action film and a rip-roaring monster flick. And that’s all I wanted from it.

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  • I'm looking forward to seeing this but I still wish they had gone with the abomination look represented in the comics.

    And while Ang Lee's film had it's problems, I don't think it's entirely deserved all the bashing it got. I wish they had just made this a sequel and ignored the size-changing bit.

  • They don't have a star spangled cameo, but Captain America is all over the movie. Pretty much the middle act of the movie is all about Cap's origin. Indirectly of course.

    I loved the new Abomination. At first I thought he sucked, but seeing the movie? Give me that Abomination over the Incredible Fish man any day of the week.

    Loved all the 1970's show references. It worked VERY well to me. Even Bixby got a cameo!

    I know this will make me the odd man out, but I liked it BETTER then Iron Man. Which I feel ended up just a tad overrated (Great film though) although I'll admit that Hulk is a better movie because Iron Man came out a few months back.

    This was the first movie where I actually FELT there was a Marvel universe. I felt like I was knee deep in a comic book, which lots of details here there and everywhere with a lot of it having to do with the Hulk and a lot of it having to do with others.

    And finally… STAN LEE SMASH!

  • @Poe – As you know, Norton was being bashed about in the press for his behind-the-scenes battles with Marvel over the final cut. Depending on who you believe, there is anywhere from 30 – 70 minutes excised from the final flick. While we will undoubtably see that on the DVD release, I've read a couple of intriguing elements that were part of these cuts:

    1. On the Frankenstein connection, there is a sequence missing where Banner/Hulk begins a trek through the Arctic in a bid to either kill himself or chase down 'the creature' and come to terms with it. (strong shades of the Frankenstein novel)

    2. In regards to the cameo question, he encounters Captain America during this journey. My guess – frozen in a block of ice.

  • Yeah, I read they'd cut the Captain America cameo. Too bad. The whole Arctic trek would have made a good post-credit sequence.