Sunday, June 24, 2018

REVIEW: The Incredible Hulk (live action movie)

The Incredible Hulk is a superhero movie. I'm pretty sure it's the second Hulk movie, a reboot after Ang Lee's Hulk.


Possibly because Ang Lee's Hulk was released only 5 years prior, The Incredible Hulk doesn't attempt to give viewers a movie-length origin story. Instead, the Hulk's origin story is sketched out in silent (and fairly cheesy) snippets during the opening credits. The rest of the movie is about Bruce Banner's quest to cure himself as General Ross, the father of Betty Ross, Bruce's ex-girlfriend and fellow researcher, tries to find and capture him. The General wants to examine the Hulk and use him to engineer an army of super-soldiers.

That's it, that's really all there is to the story. The story also has a breathtakingly unethical professor and a soldier who inexplicably decides to keep working with the General after the man purposely sends on him a mission with disastrously incomplete information.

I'll just say right now that I was never a fan of the Hulk comics. I think I might have read a few, but I definitely never got into them. I know I saw Ang Lee's Hulk but all I can remember about it, besides its distracting use of split screen, is that it underwhelmed me. A second Hulk movie didn't seem like a good idea to me.

Surprisingly, this wasn't all that bad. Yes, nearly every other movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that I've seen is better than this one, but it could have been a lot worse. Edward Norton was excellent as Bruce Banner, the Hulk looked fabulous, and I enjoyed most of the movie up until the appearance of the Abomination. Considering how many of the first movies for particular characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are origin stories, it felt a little weird that this one sped the origin story in the opening credits and then moved on from there, but I adjusted quickly enough.

Still, the movie wasn't without its problems. It was cheesy as heck at times, and General Ross was so obsessed with the Hulk that he came across as being a little ridiculous. It was hard to believe he kept getting the funding and soldiers necessary to keep going after the Hulk when he wasted his resources so spectacularly.

And speaking of difficult to believe things, Blonsky/the Abomination didn't work for me at all. A smart man would have ditched General Ross. Instead, Blonsky asked to be injected with stuff that hadn't even been properly tested, all because he'd been promised it'd make him stronger. Then he was left unsupervised long enough to have a chat with "Mr. Blue," even though he looked absolutely awful and should have set off all kinds of mental alarm bells in the people around him.

Betty was an uninteresting character, and it didn't help that I'm really not a fan of Liv Tyler. Marvel movies have a terrible habit of pairing superheroes up with utterly boring love interests. Of the ones I've seen, I can only think of one or two exceptions. The most interesting thing about Betty was probably the guy she was dating when Bruce came back. Yeah, the guy did something that could have gotten both Bruce/Hulk and Betty killed, but his reaction afterward demonstrated more mental flexibility than most of the movie's named characters combined.

I haven't seen this movie on any "you need to watch this before Infinity War" lists, and I don't recall any of the events and characters in this movie ever coming up again (other than Bruce/the Hulk, of course). I don't imagine it's very high on most people's MCU-watching priorities, but at least it isn't a terrible one to get through if you decide to be a completeist and watch the whole MCU lineup. The only thing I'll add is that, other than the cab ride scene and the issue of Bruce's pants, it doesn't really have much in the way of lightness and humor.

Additional Comments:

There's a scene where you're made to think that Bruce's dog was killed. It's then revealed that he was actually hit with a tranquilizer dart. The dog is never seen again after that point - I prefer to think that he found a new home.

  • Deleted scenes: Nothing much worthwhile here.
  • Feature commentary with director Louis Leterrier and Tim Roth: I didn't listen to this.

No comments:

Post a Comment