JT Film Review

100 – The Incredible Hulk (2008)

The Incredible Hulk REVIEW

3.5/5 stars

Director – Louis Leterier

Cast – Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, William Hurt, Tim Blake Nelson

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The Incredible Hulk, directed by French action director Louis Leterrier, continues the slew of superhero movies we’ve been getting recently. It is set in the same Marvel Universe as Iron Man, and the upcoming movies The Avengers, Thor, and Captain America, but we do not know that until the end. This is not a sequel to Ang Lee’s 2003 movie Hulk, but is a reboot of the series.

Edward Norton takes the role of Bruce Banner, a scientist who accidentally exposes himself to massive amounts of radiation while undergoing an experiment. Unable to control the beast that he can periodically become when angry as a result of the accident, he flees the country. The father of his fiance, General Ross (played admirably by William Hurt) chases him, wishing to find a way to make a weapon out of the Hulk.

Edward Norton is effective as always, but I have never been as huge a fan of Norton as others seem to be. William Hurt is excellent as the General hunting Banner down, but the true standout in the movie is Tim Roth as Blonsky, a soldier working under the General. He eventually injects himself with a serum, attempting to recreate the effects of the Hulk, and he becomes a beast known as the Abomination. Roth retains his British accent for the role, and is natural, menacing, and entirely believable.

The movie itself is gritty and tough. The new Hulk is a darker shade of green, and a little oily looking. (This may be a reflection on the slightly “off” CGI used with the Hulk though.) The movie in general seems to have been tinted slightly green, as a recognition of its main character, and that look works very well.

The Incredible Hulk really tries to get to the heart of its main character, to display some feeling and create empathy. It tries but ultimately fails to do this, or at least in as lofty a manner as it wants to, mainly because it sticks to the tried and true formula of this type of movie. There is not much here that we could not have guessed beforehand that we would see. Banner doesn’t like being this uncontrollable, check. His girlfriend has moved on and he doesn’t like it, check. He forces himself to fight the Abomination at the end, check. I sometimes think that when you can’t get the level of emotional intensity needed by focusing on the characters (Fantastic 4 is a perfect example), you shouldn’t try. Directors should remember that these characters already come with a certain level of emotional investment, and shouldn’t push for too much of it in their films if it doesn’t come naturally.

The action in the film is good however, it is quick, clean, and often brutal. Once or twice it may get a bit fanciful, mainly after Blonsky gets a low dose of “super soldier” serum (or something). I think the main problem with the movie is that whenever there is not an action scene the dialogue often feels draggy, unfocused, and repetitive. I don’t want to speak of what I do not know, but after hearing of Norton’s constant script meddling I can’t help but wonder if this comes from him? Maybe?

OVERALL

The Incredible Hulk is strong when it comes to action, but the whole thing comes off as tired, mainly due to its meandering non-action scenes. A little less of the repetition and less cliché would have produced a lean, mean little movie. This one is fat and mean, and could have done with some trimming. However the effective action and the superhero universe references let me recommend this, but mainly to superhero fans. And hey, it’s better than Ang Lee’s Hulk.

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TRAILER

“The Incredible Hulk” on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia

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July 18, 2010 - Posted by | 3.5 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Superhero, Year - 2000-2009 | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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