‘THE INCREDIBLE HULK’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
The Hulk is the Hero
Before I talk about this particular Hulk movie, I must address another certain Hulk movie before this. I’m of course talking about the film ‘Hulk’, directed by Ang Lee which I saw at the cinema in 2003. I didn’t like it. I found it depressing by the end and consider it the worst superhero movie ever made.
When it was announced a new Hulk movie called ‘The Incredible Hulk’ would be released in 2008, I wasn’t keen to see it at the cinema. I still had that bad experience of seeing the 2003 ‘Hulk’ movie at the cinema that I didn’t want a repeated experience of it. I wish I did see the film at the cinema now.
I eventually saw ‘The Incredible Hulk’ on DVD sometime during 2012. This was when the ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’ was actually happening and I discovered this movie was part of that series. I saw the film on its 1-disc DVD release instead of the 2-Disc Special Edition DVD. I now have ‘The Incredible Hulk’ movie as part of the ‘Marvel Studios Cinematic Universe – Phase One’ DVD box set.
‘The Incredible Hulk’ stars Edward Norton as Bruce Banner/the Hulk. The film was directed by Louis Leterrier. The film also stars Liv Tyler, Tim Roth and William Hurt. So, did I like this movie when I first saw it on DVD? Well, yes I did. I certainly consider it as superior compared to the original ‘Hulk’ film.
When I saw the original ‘Hulk’ film back to 2003, there wasn’t really much going on and the Hulk character didn’t seem to do much. He also didn’t seem to do anything heroic as you would expect in a superhero movie. The movie focused a lot on his origins story as well as exploring issues of trauma.
Thankfully however, this 2008 film rectified those mistakes by actually making Bruce Banner/the Hulk the hero and actually fighting some bad guys that was missing from the 2003 film. The story also moved at a fast pace compared to the original. There also isn’t an origins story featured for this.
Yeah! In fact, the origins story is cleverly handed during the opening credits of the movie which allows us to get onto main action quickly where Bruce Banner is already established as the Hulk. You could say that this movie is sequel to the original ‘Hulk’ film, but I debate it with the film’s new cast.
‘The Incredible Hulk’ is based on the original comic book character created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The Hulk made his first comic book appearance in ‘The Incredible Hulk #1’ in May 1962. He was conceived by Stan Lee as the monster superhero based on Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde.
In the movie, the story has Bruce Banner in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil where he’s working at a bottling factory in Rocinha. It’s been five years since Bruce had his accident to become the Hulk and he has been trying to find a cure for his condition in Brazil. He also tries to avoid the US army capturing him.
But very soon, the US Army, led by General Ross, locates Bruce to his hideout in Brazil where he sends a special forces team to capture him. After Bruce escapes and defeats the special forces team by transforming into the Hulk, he returns back home to Virginia where he’s reunited with Betty Ross.
Together, Bruce and Betty go off to escape the armed forces pursuing them and find the person who can help with curing Bruce of his Hulk condition. But very soon, New York City gets attacked by the monstrous Abomination. Will Bruce become the Hulk again and save the city from the Abomination?
Edward Norton delivers a great performance as Bruce Banner/The Hulk. Surprisingly, this is the only film Edward Norton did as the Hulk in the ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’ series. This is a shame, as I liked his performance. But due to behind-the-scenes disagreements, he did not carry on as the Hulk.
Bruce Banner is clearly a man on the run, but we’re spared of going through too many traumatic issues he has compared to the original ‘Hulk’ film. Instead, we’re given a sharp intelligence through Edward Norton’s performance as well as a sense of humour which I did like watching during the film.
Regarding the Hulk himself, it’s another CGI green giant like in the original ‘Hulk’ movie, except it’s grimier and fiercer compared to the original Hulk. This I don’t mind, since I’m always going to expect the Hulk monster to be CGI. I can’t see how else the Hulk can be to appear gigantic, angry and green.
Liv Tyler stars as Betty Ross, Bruce’s former girlfriend and General Ross’ daughter. I was delighted to see Liv Tyler in this movie since I’ve seen her as Arwen in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ film trilogy. I wondered what she’d be like as Betty Ross in this version of ‘The Incredible Hulk’. She is really good.
I liked the love story between Bruce Banner and Betty Ross in the movie and it’s clear Liv Tyler was attracted to the love story element in the film. I’m glad that Betty was helping Bruce to find a way to rid his Hulk condition and it was nice to see Liv Tyler in a movie where she used her normal voice. 😀
Tim Roth stars as Emil Blonsky, a Russian born officer in the UK’s Royal Marines Commandos who helps General Ross and the US Army to capture the Hulk. Now you’d think at first he doesn’t contribute much to the plot. But like Obadiah Stane in ‘Iron Man’, he happens to be the film’s villain.
In fact, Emil Blonsky becomes the Abomination, the Hulk’s arch-nemesis when he fights him in New York City at the movie’s climax. This happens after Blonsky gets injected with the same serum Bruce Banner was injected with and he becomes stronger and powerful while also becoming clearly insane.
William Hurt as General Thaddeus ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross is an idiot! Oh I don’t mean the actor! I’m sure William Hurt’s a good actor and he delivered a good performance. I’m talking about the General who’s an idiot. He is so obsessed with capturing Bruce Banner when he could’ve just left him alone.
And I know that was similar in the original ‘Hulk’ film, but the General in that had a bit more depth. This guy clearly wants Bruce/Hulk back for his own selfish ambitions. He even injects Emil Blonsky with the serum without considering the consequences. Ross is also on bad terms with his daughter.
The film also features Tim Blake Nelson as Samuel Sterns, who Bruce has been in contact with under the aliases of ‘Mr. Blue’ and ‘Mr. Green’ to help find a cure for his Hulk condition. Samuel Sterns is a biologist who’s a little self-ambitious here. Can he find a permanent cure for Bruce’s Hulk condition?
There’s also Ty Burrell as Leonard Samson, a psychiatrist who was Betty’s girlfriend during Bruce’s absence. Apparently Samson was the one who tipped General Ross off about Bruce’s whereabouts. This wasn’t clearly signified enough. I don’t think the Samson character contributes much to the film.
The action sequences are pretty impressive as well as the direction by Louis Leterrier. It’s more ‘flash, bang wallop’ as my Dad would describe it, but it doesn’t distract me from enjoying the story. I could certainly feel getting tense, especially when Bruce was escaping those armed forces chasing him.
You could also feel wanting the Hulk, even in CGI form, to win the fights he had, especially when outside Culver University in Virginia and when he fought the Abomination in New York City. It is a monster fight between the Hulk and the Abomination, but it sees the Hulk saving the day as a hero.
There is a moment when the Hulk strangles the Abomination and Betty shouts at him to stop. The Hulk hears Betty and stops, defeating the Abomination before letting out a roar of rage for everyone to hear. There’s then a peaceful moment between the Hulk and Bruce before he runs away forever.
I like that climax to an epic fight in the movie. It demonstrates Bruce has managed to gain some control of his anger and doesn’t become the murdering monster that many assume him to be. This is very different to the original ‘Hulk’ film where it had not a lot of action and there was a lot of talking.
The DVD special features on the 2-disc DVD of ‘The Incredible Hulk’ are as follows. On Disc 1, there’s a commentary with director Louis Leterrier and Tim Roth.
On Disc 2, there’s an alternate opening for the movie; 23 deleted scenes and ‘The Making of ‘The Incredible Hulk’ documentary. There’s also ‘Becoming The Hulk’; ‘Becoming The Abomination’; ‘Anatomy of a Hulk Out’, which is a collection of three behind-the-scenes looks on three exciting scenes from the movie and ‘From Comic Book To Screen’. There are plenty more special features to enjoy on the Blu-ray release of ‘The Incredible Hulk’.
‘The Incredible Hulk’ is not a great superhero movie, but it’s certainly better than the original ‘Hulk’ film. It’s pretty underrated and doesn’t get raved about nowadays. But I certainly like this movie version of the Hulk. I did enjoy the performances of Edward Norton and Liv Tyler as their characters.
The last scene of the movie has General Ross in a bar where he’s visited by Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark. This was a nice surprise to see Tony Stark at the end of the film, as I’m sure it was for many who saw this movie at the cinema. Tony Stark tells General Ross a team is being put together…
‘The Incredible Hulk’ rating – 8/10
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