Movie Review: The Incredible Hulk

I am someone who really enjoys seeing comic book movies even though as a child – I never read comic books. To me, they are fun movies that distract me from the hysteria in my everyday life.

When I first started seeing previews for “The Incredible Hulk”, I wasn’t sure what to think. I, of course, wanted to see it. I was just unsure of what to expect: action, comedy, romance. I was so unsure, in fact, that I wandered around the mall of the movie theater for a half hour before even buying a ticket. Sure enough, my curiosity won over the doubt in my mind.

Sitting in the movie theater watching the previews, I was slowly becoming excited. I did see the previous Hulk incarnation as interpreted by Ang Lee starring Eric Bana & Jennifer Connelly and to say the least, I was unimpressed.

This version starred Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, William Hurt & Tim Roth all directed by Louis Leterrier of the Transporter franchise. This is a top notch cast but in all honesty, even movies with an A list team could go wrong. I am a huge fan of Edward Norton, but I didn’t see him playing the Hulk. I was not expecting too much. Was I wrong? Yes.

Edward Norton is pitch perfect as Dr. Bruce Banner, the scientist who becomes infected with what we know as the Hulk virus – turning him into a monster (for lack of a better word) when he becomes angry. Although I was not sure he could play the Hulk, he doesn’t have to. The way he portrays Banner, the Hulk is an entirely different character even though it is theoretically the same person. He was so good in fact that I hope he continues as Banner throughout the 2 planned sequels. (Norton is not contracted to continue in the title role.) For those of you living under a rock in the movie world, Norton & Marvel Comics (whom produced the film) were tied up in a dispute over the final cut of the film. When the dispute became public, Norton declined to do any publicity for the film.

Tyler, portraying Dr. Betty Ross, is at first hard to believe as a scientist, but she wins you over as Norton’s love interest. Her romance with Banner gives the film a much needed heart. Since Lord of the Rings, Tyler has opted to be a stay at home mom rather than acting in films. This is a welcome return. Hurt, as General Thunderbolt & Betty’s father, is an adequate villain who wants to use Banner’s Hulk persona as a military weapon. Although the real villain of the film belongs to Blonsky/The Abomination whom is portrayed by Roth with detestable vigor. Roth’s Lieutenant Blonsky catches one glimpse of the Hulk and decides he wants that power for himself. Once he becomes infected with Banner’s blood, his alter ego is quickly nicknamed The Abomination. The final action sequence is of a Hulk/Abomination fight in the streets of Harlem.

This movie does have a little something for everyone: a few comic one liners, romance, but it is mostly an action movie. It moves very fast – it is under 2 hours which is a welcome surprise considering most movies these days are pushing 2 and a half hours. It could have used a bit more character development, which is apparently what Norton was fighting for. If Marvel had listened, they could have had an even more enjoyable film. It will have more of an audience than the previous film. All in all, I recommend this movie for its comic book spirit and the fact that I did not look at my watch once throughout the entire film and that is saying a lot.

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June 15, 2008. Uncategorized.

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