The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Riding hard on the coat-tails of Iron Man is Marvel's next superhero adventure, The Incredible Hulk. To clear up any discrepancies you may have about whether this film is a remake of or a sequel to Ang Lee's 2003 Hulk, it is neither. The Incredible Hulk is simply a "revisiting" to the character with a different approach. In other words, the first movie sucked, so they started over. The new film finds Bruce Banner (Edward Norton), a once leading scientist on the run in Brazil five years after he was exposed to the gamma rays that gave him his incredible abilities. He is being chased by General Ross (William Hurt), the man who inadvertently caused Banner's change while trying to create a new weapon for the army. When Ross finally tracks down Banner, he enlists the help of decorated soldier Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth) to bring him in. When Blonsky witnesses the Hulk's power first-hand, he volunteers himself to undergo a procedure much like Banner did, only with a controlled dose. Meanwhile, in the search for a cure, Banner finds his way back to the States where he is reunited with the love of his life Betty Ross (Liv Tyler). The two meet up with Banner's internet pen pal Dr. Samuel Sterns (Tim Blake Nelson), who has been working tirelessly to come up with a cure. But the army is hot on Banner's tail, and they finally capture him after years of pursuit. While this is happening, Blonsky becomes obsessed with becoming a super soldier, and forces Sterns to make him into a creature much like the Hulk. From this, the Abomination is born. Banner must now become the Hulk in order to save the city from destruction.

I must admit that in my personal opinion, the Hulk is the least interesting superhero from both the Marvel and DC universes. The idea of having a superhero who's main enemy is himself is far from, well, incredible. But even with this mentality, I was able to thoroughly enjoy The Incredible Hulk for what it was. A major reason this film works is Edward Norton. Much like Robert Downey Jr. represented billionaire playboy Tony Stark in a believable fashion, Norton convincingly plays scientist Bruce Banner. Whoever is in charge of casting for Marvel movie heroes should get a promotion. However, his performance was far from outstanding, as I was hoping to see a little bit more from him. I do not feel he properly acknowledged the potential that his character had. Even so, he was able to keep an air of suspense present throughout the film and his performance felt authentic. Although his performance was very good, it did seem magnificent compared to the complete and utter disaster that was Liv Tyler's Betty Ross. Emotionless, uninvolving, annoying, laughable at the wrong times: these are just a few ways to describe her performance. I would not be surprised if her name appears on the Razzie ballot for Worst Actress. Luckily enough for Tyler, she was surrounded by enough talent in Norton and William Hurt to save basically every scene she appeared in. Hurt plays her army general father Thaddeus Ross, and he did a very believable job of it. He played it with the gruff attitude and stern demeanor that a General would need, especially in periods of distress. Hurt is also accompanied by one of the greatest mustaches I've seen in recent movie history. I think it is accurate to say that William Hurt's mustache provided more entertainment by doing nothing than Liv Tyler did by "acting". The role of Emil Blonsky was very well cast, as Tim Roth did a terrific job with the part. Even though the Abomination isn't the coolest villain around, the character of Blonsky was very interesting to watch, and I sensed that Roth really became this role. At no point did I feel that Roth wasn't trying his hardest to achieve the best results from Blonsky. Tim Blake Nelson plays the eccentric Dr. Samuel Sterns and pretty much does his job. He acts eccentrically. In this film Nelson's role was pretty minor, but if there is a sequel he will be a crucial character.

The Incredible Hulk was directed by Louis Leterrier, who had previously helmed Transporter 2. With that under his belt, it makes sense that the action sequences in The Incredible Hulk were remarkable. There is something about watching two giant blobs of CGI (Hulk and Abomination) hurl cars at each other that is simply awe inspiring. By calling them "two giant blobs of CGI" I do not intend to insult the film, because it really did look fantastic. I only call them that because, well, they are two giant blobs of CGI. But Letterier's direction was very much a mixed bag. Some scenes were shot with such beauty and professionalism that I would be floored with astonishment. But then other scenes would be so cheesy and amateurish that I would shift uncomfortably in my seat thinking "Ouch, that was awkward". Letterier also did something which I cannot stand, and that is overuse dramatic rain sequences. At most, a film could have two dramatic rain sequences, but they MUST be at least 45 minutes apart. Letterier brought us two in a matter of 15 minutes. Yes he can film one hell of an incredible action scene, but the man cannot do serious very well.

A major reason I enjoyed The Incredible Hulk was it's pace. I should also credit director Louis Letterier with an ability to keep a film alive, not allowing it to sag any more than it should at any given time. At just under 2 hours, the time seems to fly by as the story unfolds so steadily you'll find yourself in disbelief that you are already watching the final battle (much like I was). It was said that over 70 minutes of footage was cut from The Incredible Hulk, and thank goodness it was. The 114 minutes in the final print were entertainment enough, we don't need a 3+ hour epic. In the version sent to theaters, every scene had a purpose and no of them were dull. Keep your 70 minutes, we don't want them.

When it comes down to it, the Hulk is the lamest of the superheroes, but this film certainly makes him seem more interesting than he is. Some very good performances and some great directing (50% of the time) really make The Incredible Hulk worth a watch. The dialogue at times is choppy and contrived, but I found myself overlooking that fact. Not without its fair share of flaws, The Incredible Hulk is still a fun summer film with intense action sequences that aren't too dizzying or incomprehensive (::cough:: Spiderman 3 ::cough::). Marvel, you are 2 for 2. My rating (7/10)

Oh, and if you were as excited as I was about the after the credits scene of Iron Man, you're going to love the final two lines of this film. (There is no after credits scene, I figure I'll save you 10 minutes)


  1. I also saw this movie... but I dont think I liked it as much as you did. I am all for super-hero movies. I usually love them. This time I found myself looking all around the theater wondering how much longer the movie would be. I was bored. Not that there wasnt enough action, I was bored WITH the action. Too much of it in my mind. The entire movie was basically a big green monster yelling and screaming the entire time. I liked Iron Man a lot better.

  2. ed norton and roth actually acted out that last fight scene and then the cgi was added over them.

    I actually hate the hulk character but i liked the movie a lot

  3. I've decided I'm going to start progressively commenting most of your posts!

    So here we are, and I know that I def. paid for this movie Because I had to force you to see it.

    DVD is coming out soon and you're going to watch those 70 minutes so :p

    If you don't become a professional movie critic I'm never letting you have Chinese food ever again.Ever.


Movies given a 10/10

  • Milk
  • In Bruges
  • Slumdog Millionaire
  • The Dark Knight
  • Iron Man
  • No Country For Old Men
  • The Shining
  • A Clockwork Orange