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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Having managed to miss Ang Lee's Hulk from 5 years ago, I watched this version of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's green-skinned, gamma-radiated monster with an open mind. In a word: AWESOME! Nice recap of the origin during the opening credits before we find Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) in Brazil having basically stayed calm for at least a year. That won't last long. There's also General Ross (William Hurt), Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth) who later becomes The Abomination, Samuel Sterns (Tim Blake Nelson) who tries to cure Banner, and Betty Ross (Liv Tyler)-the general's daughter who stands by Bruce through all his trials and tribulations. Great mixture of drama, suspense, and action as provided by director Louis Leterrier. Eagle-eyed viewers who've lived for the last 40 years should have no trouble spotting previous portrayers of Banner/Hulk: Bill Bixby in a television scene from his earlier series "The Courtship of Eddie's Father", and Lou Ferrigno as a security guard who lets Norton in (He also says something as the Hulk in a later scene). And of course, Stan Lee puts in his Hitchcockian cameo! One more person I'd like to mention is Ty Burrell-late of the cancelled show "Back to You"-playing a shrink who also gets involved with Betty. In short, The Incredible Hulk is another very worthy movie made from a Marvel Comics character. P.S. My first real encounter with the Hulk was from a comic book I got for my 9th birthday that had a 45 r.p.m. record attached from Power Records that provided the voices of the characters and narration in that book. The Abomination was the villain in that one.
This film is amazing! You can actually tell that the director, Edward Norton, and Tim Roth are fans of The Incredible Hulk unlike most Marvel films. The Incredible Hulk is such an underrated comic series, I would probably say Bruce Banner is the one of the most emotionally intriguing characters in Marvel. So what is your favorite Marvel film to date? X-Men? Spider-man? Iron Man? Well I'm a fan of all of those mentioned but I would say that The Incredible Hulk is better than the ones mentioned because it stays true to the comics/TV series. X-Men and Spider-man had lots of problems that I won't get into right now, and several are saying that Iron Man is the best Marvel movie now. Well, Iron Man may perhaps be the most "fun" film, but due to The Incredible Hulk having more interesting characters, great cinematography, and a great score make this an epic masterpiece. There are so many things in the film that made my inner-nerd geek-out, including cameos by the late Bill Bixby, Lou Ferrigno, and Stan Lee. I also loved the use of "The Lonely Man" and "Hulk Smash". The cast was also amazing in this...I believed that Edward Norton was a scientist on the run, that Liv Tyler and him had a past together and believable chemistry. I believed Tim Roth was an aging mercenary that was power-hungry and wanted to find the fountain of youth, and that William Hurt was a corrupt General...but to him Hulk is the bad guy. William Hurt totally gets into character here as always, he doesn't look or sound like himself, crazy.
OK, I didn't think the 2003 Ang Lee version was THAT bad, but you ever
figure out the faults of a movie when seeing the sequel/reboot to it?
Now I do with Ang's version and after seeing the new improved Hulk I
must say this is 100 times better! We see more of Bruce "Hulking" out
and less of the drama the first showed to us. No more of Bruce blaming
his father for what happened to him.
Also this presents to us something else the first lacked: humor. OK, don't want the movie to be a total laugh fest, but nothing wrong with a little moments of laughter, such as some nods to the comic and TV show (the purple pants, and of course Lou's cameo, dang he's huge!). A little humor made Bruce seem like a real human rather than Eric Bana's deadpan performance.
Speaking of, the cast, like the story, is redone and redone well. As I mentioned, Norton makes Bruce Banner more human. Nothing against Sam Elliot, but Hurt gives off a better presence as Thunderbolt Ross. Liv Tyler is easy on the eyes (she does have daddy's lips, but still hot), and easy on the performance as well. Tim Roth just owns as the villain here.
The villain of course is the Abomination and what a sweet villain he is (better than the CG dogs and the Absorb Man). And believe me, the fight scene between him and our green friend will bring out the inner nerd in you. Oh, and hearing "HULK SMASH!" will too!
Overall, more action than the 2003 "drama" and more humor leads to what we WANT a Hulk movie to be like. Oh, and don't forget to watch for a surprise cameo (hint: not Stan Lee or Lou) which hints at a possible cool movie event in the future!
Edward Norton is right & wrong. This movie could have used more of him
in it (when the DVD comes out I hope they include "his cut" if it
exist), but he is wrong for not promoting this movie.
This re-boot is a blast to watch. I actually liked much of Ang Lee's version but only in fits & starts. This Hulk is a much smoother machine that never drags. The FX are spectacular & sometimes inspired --every part of the production is great. The battle scenes are ferocious. I never tired of watching Mean Green do his thing, but I guess thats the point. The movie makers knew when to cut the action.
However --like Iron Man-- the acting is way above average for this sort of escapism, but, come to think of it, all 3 Spideys & X-Men + Batman Begins (& Returns) also featured really fine & often great acting. AND this Hulk could've used more of it. Norton is 1 of the top 5 actors currently working. There are moments in this movie when his talent really pays off and they are all too brief. William Hurt makes a fine foe. And, so help me movie gods, Liv Tyler gives a memorable performance although she is mostly stuck saying the name "Bruce".
Overall this movie ROCKS.
And I thought all movies released b4 July 18th were just time-killers until the Dark Knight arrives. Thank you Tony Stark, Indy & Bruce Banner for proving me wrong.
Here's the thing about comic book heroes. Most of them have silly names
and often sillier costumes. But there's something so fundamental and
human about the ones that have survived half a century. Spider-Man
isn't just some dude swinging around New York. He's a young kid trying
to balance so many competing parts of his life and spreading himself
too thin. We all know what that's like. With the X-Men it's not just
people with cool powers kicking the crap out of each other. It's about
being part of a minority and others discriminating against you. Who
hasn't had a taste of that? And with the Hulk, it's ultimately anger
management. Literally having a monster inside of you and how difficult
it is to control it. It's about being at war with yourself. So yes...
his name is ridiculous. The idea of a giant green monster is a little
out there. But when these movies have enough small character moments
peppered in with the action there's a chance to really connect with
them and allow yourself to forgive how unrealistic they dare to be
because you're so immersed in their universe. The Incredible Hulk is
not the best comic book movie ever made. It's not even in the top
three. But it's a solid film and it could have been so much worse.
I have fond memories of the old TV show. Back then it was a waiting game until the Hulk showed up. Now it's the hardest part of the show to swallow and I find myself really intrigued by David Banner's plight. I didn't hate the Ang Lee movie but I have no desire to ever revisit it. This new incarnation has elements of both but for the most part does a satisfactory job of establishing itself as something new. The first act was the best part of the film for me. Everything until the battle on the college campus. The introductory scenes of Bruce were really effective and the first Hulk-out was almost legitimately frightening. The later action scenes are bigger in scope but they're never as creative.
Norton's been making headlines for all the wrong reasons lately but there's no denying he's got the goods. I have a feeling there were a lot of character moments left on the cutting room floor but what's left is still an admirable performance. And even though it's an underwritten role, Liv Tyler is a complete sweetheart as Betty. There's such a charming girl-next-door quality to her and even though I don't completely buy her as a scientist I totally believed in the connection she and Bruce shared. I felt like William Hurt and Tim Roth both received pretty thankless roles. They weren't bad by and means but the script (or this cut anyways) never allows them the chance to do much other than beg to fight the Hulk again or scream for more firepower.
The CGI isn't fantastic. That's just a fact. But it only pulled me out of the film a couple of times. And the Hulk looks about a million times better than he did in the last movie. As expected it does take over once the third act hits and for me that stuff just isn't as enthralling. The film never lost me, it just never reached the heights of the opening thirty minutes. Not for me at least. If I were thirteen I probably would have drooled over the last fight scene.
In the pantheon of comic book movies Hulk stands above Fantastic Four and Daredevil but never quite makes it to the top tier of films like Spider-Man 2, X2, Batman Begins, or even Iron Man. It's comfortably in the middle. I don't feel like I wasted my time or money. But I'm not anxiously awaiting a sequel either.
You really could do worse.
Just saw the movie last night and I'm happy to say that I was very
pleased with the movie. The first Hulk movie was kind of a let down.
The Hulk was so over the top and unbelievable. He was made to be
something that he wasn't. This one was was quite the opposite.
From the start it I felt as though riding a roller coaster. A slow start a nice build up, then the trough, then once again a bigger build up then a long level ride. then the final heart thumping thrill ride that leaves you cheering and, like any adrenaline junkie, wanting so much more.
I wish that they would have developed Betty Ross' character a little more but over all they did a great job.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I suppose any review about a comic book movie must be preceded by a few
disclaimers as to the reviewers objectivity. I've been a Hulk fan for
more than 30 years, since I started wearing my first Hulk T-shirt at
around age 5. I love the big green guy and all the angst and brooding
and power and potential carnage he represents...especially knowing that
somewhere deep within that poisoned, rippling, veiny interior is a
sensitive soul struggling to stay attached to its compassion and
humanity. I really liked Ang Lee's 2003 version but I absolutely LOVED
this version! The other disclaimer would be that while I am just as
fond of "thinking" movies like Schindler's List or Flags of our
Fathers, I also freely embrace the "summer blockbuster" and am more
than happy to check my brain at the door and munch away on m lapful of
over-priced goodies while things blow up real good in front of me.
So with that, you already know my opinion of this newest rendition of The Incredible Hulk. The other reviews who have given this movie an 8-10 have pretty much said it all...so I am not going to elaborate on the awesome destruction scenes, the CGI (which I thought was incredibly well done and realistic), the dialogue or what have you. Quite simply I thought it was perhaps the greatest summer smash movie of all time (in a very elite group amongst T2, Jurassic Park, True Lies and Transformers).
Stepping away from my Hulk manlove for a moment, and trying to find some objectivity...I can let readers know that the movie is not without some technical flaws which, if you know in advance and can forgive the filmmakers for, it will likely enhance your enjoyment of the overall product. Some attempts to create humour or "classic memorable lines" in summer blockbusters do not always work, and the Hulk has its share of cheese that made me wince. For example, in trying to pay homage to the classic Bill Bixby TV series, Edward Norton's Bruce Banner (who is very weak in his Portuguese) says to a colleague in Brazil..."Don't make me...hungry...you wouldn't like me when I'm hungry!". Yes, I admit I laughed, but was secretly miffed at the openly cheap attempt to create humour from a classic line...because the part of my brain that I didn't check at the door realized that "faminto" and "zangado" don't sound enough alike that a person uttering a sentence in a newfound language simply wouldn't make that mistake. There were other examples as well of things that appeared to be created for the cheese-factor that simply would not happen in real life (or likely the comic book for that matter). Things like Bronsky saying to the Hulk "Is that all you got!?" when he wasn't yet quite sure that his body could withstand a massive beating and when any other mortal man would be crapping his pants...or as the Abomination speaking fluent English. Why could a man who only recently became the Abomination talk freely in his native tongue, while Banner has been the Hulk for years and finally took everything he had just to grunt "HULK SMASH!"?
And finally, the scene in the cave with the Hulk and Betty Ross. As a movie maker and a seller of comic books...you've just asked me to suspend all disbelief and accept that a giant green monster can withstand a barrage of 50-caliber shells bouncing off his chest like Nerf balls...but then you want me to believe that when he accidentally bumps his head in a cave it's going to hurt so much that he yells out in pain? Again, I understand the motives behind all this stuff...and it is funny, so the humour can be appreciated...it's just that it becomes "frying pan in the face" obvious to anybody watching this movie that it tries just a wee bit too hard to be all things to all people. But for 2 hours, it really does succeed in doing that. 9/ 10.
Out of the five original Avengers, I always thought that the Incredible
Hulk was the least interesting and therefore least likely character to
be adapted to film (except Ant-Man, although he'll be arriving in
2010...look forward to that.) However, here we sit in 2008 with not
just one, but TWO different portrayals of the less-than-jolly green
giant. The main problem that the new film faces is that some people
will believe it to be a sequel to Ang Lee's 2003 effort, which upon
release was blindfolded, made to stand against a wall and executed by
public firing squad. The fact is that it is not a sequel at all.
Instead, director Louis Leterrier has pulled a 'Batman Begins' and
rebooted the franchise, and not just in name only. Everything about the
'Hulk is excellent. From the special effects to the characters to the
reticent nods to other superheroes within the Marvel universe, the
'Hulk succeeds on every level.
The film sidesteps the curse of the tedious 'origin story' by showing it to the audience in the opening credits. That should really be a law within superhero movies. It works so well: Bruce Banner works on a radioactive serum with love interest/scientist Betty Ross (played by Liv Tyler's lips), he injects himself to see if it works, it transforms him into the Hulk. There, that didn't need to take one hundred minutes of screen time did it? This means that director Leterrier has free reign to explore how Bruce Banner lives as the Hulk and the attempts by the United States army to track him down and neutralise him, which leads to several action set pieces involving vehicles being thrown into walls and soldiers firing a nimiety of bullets at the Hulk, even when they can clearly see them bouncing off his body. Really, what is the best they are hoping for in a situation like that? "Keep firing, he might develop a vague sense of moral ill-being and stop!" Ultimately, the film boils down to a brawl in New York City between the Hulk and his evil counterpart, a special-ops soldier (Tim Roth being exemplary as usual) willingly injected with the Hulk genes, much like the climax to 'Iron Man.' The difference here is that the build up to this fight doesn't seem rushed like in 'Iron Man' because Leterrier has been able to utilise the whole of the film's running time to arrive at this natural conclusion, instead of being preoccupied with the origin story and tagging on an antagonist at the end.
Whoever cast Edward Norton as Dr Bruce Banner is almost as much of a genius as the person who asked Robert Downey Jr. To play Tony Stark in 'Iron Man' (who makes an appearance in the film inducing fan-boy erections everywhere.) Norton plays his role with understated finesse, never resorting to overly pained facial expressions, intense eye contact or shouting to display the anguish which is consuming him for the majority of the film. He simply shows that the Hulk sized burden on his back is destroying him, crushing his will to live. He looks haunted and tired, but possesses a steely resolve not to succumb to the beast within, although it would temporarily end his struggle if he did so. He's so good that Christian Bale will have to turn water into wine in The Dark Knight to retain his title as King of the Superheroes (Tobey Maguire? Hahaha, you're kidding...wait, you aren't?) There are many minor elements in 'The Incredible Hulk' that elevates it above most movies in this genre. For example, for nearly half of the film the audience are only provided with fleeting glimpses of the Hulk, much like Batman in 'Begins. His presence is not overused, though it easily could be with the bravura CGI shown at the end. Indeed, the first chase scene does not involve Banner turning into the Hulk at all, it is just an exciting pursuit across rooftops in Rio De Janeiro. Also, the orchestral score lends an air of intelligence to the film and enhances the scenes much more than an overdriven guitar track (hello, Iron Man) would have done.
The Incredible Hulk is one of those minority superhero films; it's good. In fact, with regard to any competition it faces, you (if you were looking to conclude a film review with a dialogue related pun) might be inclined to say "Hulk smash!"
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Incredible Hulk is a tough character to adapt and I really think
any filmmaker would have trouble making a good film version of the
green guy. When a comic book film is adapted to the big screen the
movie goer wants a story to balance the action and in this movie we
have no story. The entire film is a special effects extravaganza
wrapped in between pieces of bad dialouge and characterization.
Creating an effective Bruce Banner is key to making any Hulk adaptation
work and it hasn't been done yet. The original Incredible Hulk series
that is beloved by so many plays like a melodramatic continuation of
Adam West's Batman series, and Ang Lee's Hulk, which I feel is still
the best adaptation of the story, tried to add too much dramatic
Norton structures the story as a fugitive film where the Hulk is constantly on the run from Ross and his endless search. Ross enlists the help of Emil Blonsky, a skilled agent from the British Marines to help him find the Hulk. Blonsky eventually becomes a super villain which leads to one of the most painfully fake looking CGI battles ever seen.
The main problem with this film is it's script but the acting isn't good enough to salvage it. Edward Norton doesn't really give me a reason to pity him or feel bad about his condition. Sure he says he is haunted by the prospect of the Hulk hurting people but I didn't get any sense of those emotions in Norton's performance. I don't know what went on because Norton is a very talented actor. I sense he tried to underplay this role. On the other hand William Hurt looks like he wanted to overplay the role and he gives the worst performance of his career as General Thunderbolt Ross. I honestly thought he looked silly in the Ross wardrobe and make-up. Hurt overplays this role and his performance is silly. Liv Tyler is a beauty but her methods of soothing the CGI beast look forced and unreal.
Tim Roth is the exception, he is terrific as the villainous Blonsky. He gets too little screen time in my opinion because the way the super soldier injections drive him mad could have made him a more effective villain if he were given more screen time. Roth is underrated actor and he uses the most of his screen time. His dialogue is bad too but he has terrific presence with it. When he bulks up himself the build-up is disappointingly taken away by bad effects and terrible video game dialogue but the performance is still very good.
The action scenes are somewhat interesting and they are well imagined but I just felt that they could have done more with the human aspects of the character or at least have him battle more than just the military.
The Incredible Hulk ends the same way it began, Bruce Banner is on the run and I am still waiting Hollywood to produce a decent adaptation of this character
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I can't help but say that I liked this version better than "Hulk"! It stuck really close to the comic book. I liked "Hulk" but it strayed a bit and they didn't stick to the personalities and physiques of the characters. In "Hulk" Eric Bana portrayed Bruce, and although his acting was impeccable, he was wrong for the part. Bruce and the Hulk are supposed to be complete opposites. But Eric Bana doesn't look the part of a potential "science-nerd". He almost looks like Hulk. Now, in The Incredible Hulk", Edward Norton played the part very well. He has the ability to look like a geek which would be hulks opposite. The graphics in the movie are brilliant. And of course the ending opens the door to the next chapter. Hopefully we will see the uniting of the Ultimate Alliance!
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