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The Incredible Hulk Review July 17, 2008

Posted by Einar Rowan in Movie Reviews.
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Let me begin by saying that I enjoyed the relaunch of the mean green fighting machine, The Incredible Hulk. Marvel is the new Carlco for the current generation, giving us a wealth of wonderful stories attached with real actors and reputable directors. Although it has it’s flaws it is no where near as boring as the original Hulk from Ang Lee and way more entertaining than the Superman Returns movie. Both of those movies failed because the directors forgot the reason we read comic books is because in comic books you can make the action and fight sequences as big and bold as you like. The Incredible Hulk should go third in line after Batman Begins and Iron Man as far successful, well made, entertaining superhero movies. I think it is fair to put this above the X-Men movies as well. As good as the X-Men movies are, we all recognize that Wolverine is the most interesting character and deserves his own treatment, which is currently in the works. That will be a movie to see, lets hope the makers of that movie have following the trend of current superhero movies that are winning the audiences and critics over.

The movie starts in Brazil five years after the first Hulk. Banner is working at a soda bottling factory, trying to stay under the radar and figure out a cure for the monster within, until an accident at the factory happens that forces Banner to go back on the run. With a platoon of US Army troops hot on his heels, plus a special weapon on loan from the British SAS, Banner leads them to the factory where he works. At the same time Banner is being chased by the Army he is also being chased by a group of disgruntled coworkers that are upset with Banner. This all comes to head in the factory and the coworkers start to rough up Banner while the Army watches in the distance. By now Banner has been punched in the gut, his heart beat is racing beyond the boiling point, and Hulkamania is about to start. This first battle between the Army and the Hulk was filmed like a horror movie, very dark and the Hulk hiding in the shadows, the silhouette of his massive form moving in the darkness. When you get to see his face for the first time it is a relief to see he does not look like Ang Lee.

Since this is a movie I think everyone who likes these kinds of movies should go see I don’t want to give too much of the story away. If you’ve seen the trailers then you know that there are at least two other sequences, one that is done very well and shot in the daylight on a University campus, and another where the Hulk battles The Abomination. Speaking of which, one of the reasons I thoroughly enjoyed this movie is because Tim Roth is a very underrated actor and a better actor than Ed Norton. Since the movie makers rightfully assume we all know the background story of the Hulk, we are treated to a much healthier dose of story telling with the character arch of Emil Blonsky, played by Tim Roth. It was so bad-ass to see Roth play the tough military type because, to put it in the words of his character, you’re going to have a lot of professional tough guys pissing in their pants when the Hulk shows up again. We all know from the trailers that Blonsky become The Abomination and the best scene from this movie is when Blonsky battles the Hulk at the University campus. This is what really got my attention, because the SFX guys were confident that there creation could be filmed in daylight, not using the dark to hide imperfections.

The CGI is much better this time than the last. The Hulk gets to use weapons this time and uses them with deadly force. We don’t have to wait 40 minutes this time before we see the Hulk, we don’t have to sit through pages upon pages of exposition and character buildup. The Incredible Hulk moves at a quick pace and is only hampered in part by Liv Tyler. She is a wonderful actress but we are getting tired of her angelic, holier-than-thou, pure image. She needs to find a role that can give her a different tone, like a heroin addict or some flawed character. Here her only role is the damsel in distress and the ever loving girlfriend, plus the Generals daughter. I was almost reminded of the scene in King Kong with Naomi Watts when they are in the jungle on the rocks, when the Hulk rescues Tylers character from the scorched earth left by her father and bring her to to a mountain side in the pouring rain. I liked this scene because the director played with the colors and the Hulk almost appears grey, a direct homage to the original comic where the Hulk was painted grey.