Movie: "The Incredible Hulk"
Genre: Action / Adventure
Directed by: Louis Leterrier
Writing credits: Zak Penn
Plot: Hulk Smash.
Review: I went into The Incredible Hulk not expecting much, which is probably a good thing, as I ended up enjoying the movie far more than I figured I would, and even if I had expected a good quality film, I still would have walked out entirely happy. Let me just say right off the bat that I'm one of the apparent few who didn't hate Ang Lee's Hulk movie. While it wasn't quite what I was looking for out of a movie about everyone's favorite big green goliath, I appreciated the experimental nature of the film and thought it brought some interesting things to the table. That said, Louis Leterrier's version is much more along the lines of what I believe most of us were expecting and hoping for.
Nothing against Eric Bana, but I found Edward Norton's Bruce Banner to be a more interesting take on the character. Maybe it's because Norton's love of the character (he's a fan of the comics) shines through more, or maybe it's just because I prefer Norton as an actor. But either way, he was great in the role of our troubled doctor, which is good, because he has way more screen time than the Hulk (which is how it should be, as Hulk becomes less threatening and more ridiculous the longer we see him). I think I preferred Jennifer Connelly and Sam Elliott in the roles of Betty and General Ross, but Liv Tyler and William Hurt handled themselves well enough.
This movie borrows about evenly from the old Incredible Hulk television series and Bruce Jones's three-and-a-half year run on the comic, so fans of either of those works will be satisfied by the references littered throughout the film. It's primarily a fugitive movie, which is what the Hulk should be, and Leterrier and writer Zak Penn understand that very well. Hulk is a character who has long wanted to be left alone more than anything in a world that won't allow him that one simple luxury.
Another thing this movie gets right is that it actually gives the Hulk someone worthy to fight in the form of the Abomination, who is a far more satisfying opponent than the mutated dogs or half-assed version of the Absorbing Man from the first movie. Tim Roth does a fine job portraying Emil Blonsky, who mercifully doesn't attempt a Russian accent, a fact that was explained away to my satisfaction in one simple line of dialog. His confrontations with the Hulk, as a regular human and a gargantuan brute, are a joy to watch.
In fact, Hulk's rampaging in this movie is always fun to watch, and though he's still obviously a CGI fabrication, he looks far more convincing than the video-game quality graphics that were bounding around the first movie. I've heard some reviewers complain about how Hulk constantly changes size throughout the film. I can't say I was bothered by this, or even noticed it much, but then I suppose that's because I know that the "rule" in the comics is that the angrier he gets, the bigger he gets. Still, if they'd had just ONE line to that effect in the movie, it might have staved off some nitpicking.
Fans of the comics will also be thrilled to see Samuel Sterns make an appearance, with a very strong indication that his gamma-irradiated alter-ego The Leader will be a big player in the inevitable sequel. Apparently Doc Samson is in this film as well, though chances are you wouldn't realize it before reading the credits. There's another Marvel character with a smile-inducing cameo at the very end, which is all part of Marvel's effort to portray a shared movie universe now that most of their movie productions are being made in house.
Hulk actually speaks in this movie (though only on two occasions) too, which is something I was seriously hoping for. When I heard him utter his famous two-word catchphrase at the end of the film, I had an ear-to-ear smile plastered on my face. And really, when I go to see a movie about a giant green man who is usually portrayed in ridiculous purple pants, I can't ask for anything more.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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