Easily the best rendition of the hulking green hero, thought it had flaws.
Following the world-wide success of Marvel’s “Iron Man” came the second film in what would be called Phase One of the ‘Cinematic Universe’, “The Incredible Hulk” starring Edward Norton as Dr. Bruce Banner. Liv Tyler (Armageddon 1998), Tim Roth (Reservoir Dogs 1992) and William Hurt (Dark City 1998) round out a solid cast.
This is a reboot of the Hulk character after Marvel was able to reclaim film rights in 2006 from Universal Pictures. Once a sequel to Ang Lee’s 2003 “Hulk” never came to fruition within specific time frames. Thus the character has been reborn and in my opinion, for the better.
Following a disastrous accident during a gamma ray experiment Dr. Bruce Banner (Norton) finds himself turning into a massive green monster once his temper and pulse rate increase too much. Banner flees the area and lives on the run from the military hunting him, while he searches for a cure.
After unsuccessfully being able to capture Banner the military uses the same technology to transform a soldier into a similar creature similar to the Hulk. Not only will Banner/Hulk realize he has met his match in this new beast, the military will learn they have created something they cannot control.
From start-to-finish “The Incredible Hulk” was a relatively entertaining adventure. It was nice to get a fresh outlook on the Hulk after a less than stellar 2003 outing. That film had CGI elements that were astounding for the time. But there was too much melodramatic dialogue, that simply failed to weave a compelling story. The script lacked a wealth of action, and really any scenes that built much intrigue. This movie was much different, and while the story-line was rather simplistic, it was still enjoyable.
The story was well structured and able to progress through the plot while adding implements of the past. The plot was rather predictable, but it still passed the time and built the characters foundations by reexamining the devastating accident that turned Banner into what he was. The flashback sequences and dialogue references to the past kept from slowing the pace of the film down, and helped round out the origin aspect of the script.
The action sequences that were in this one were amazing in my opinion, the camera angles and backdrops added to the overall package of the scenes, and were a delight to watch. Without giving spoilers lets just say the battle’s Hulk endures in this movie are imaginative and top-tier fun. The devastation that the Hulk is known for was nicely implemented into the film and provided many eye-popping visuals.
The acting is also well rounded, Edward Norton’s version of Bruce Banner was pretty good, but in my opinion he just didn’t look the part. It would have been nice to see what Mark Ruffalo could have done with a solo film of his own. I feel he is a much better actor for the role, able to pull off the persona of Bruce Banner in much more convincing fashion. Tim Roth was excellent in the role of villain and as more Marvel films are released I still feel he is under-mentioned in the conversation of solid antagonists in the run of movies Marvel Studios have pumped out.
Although Liv Tyler was far from convincing, I feel it was more of an indictment on how her character was written into the script rather than her performance. Her role wasn’t given too much depth and came across as flat and very generic. But in the end there was so much other stuff going on in this film you would really be nit picking if you starting digging into minor character flaws. It is a pure comic-book movie, and a top-of-the-line one at that, although there was some lost potential in the story.
“The Incredible Hulk” was a fun adventure and regardless of its flaws, still the best full-length film for the green hero. It would have been nice to see this one fit better into the ‘Cinematic Universe’ but it is still a fun watch. It does feel like one of Marvels more rushed projects, but overall it is still very good.
Time: 112 min
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (For sequences of intense action violence, some frightening sci-fi images, and brief suggestive content)