Written by Zak Penn and Edward Norton
Directed by Louis Leterrier
Running Time: 1:52
for sequences of intense action violence,
some frightening sci-fi images,
and brief suggestive content.
The Incredible Hulk was a pretty decent action flick that should help erase the bad feelings everyone has from the last try at the big green monster.
Bruce Banner is living in Brazil, hiding from the U.S. military. After being hit was a massive dose of gamma rays, Banner changes into a creature he can't control when he gets agitated. The government wants to bring him in and figure out what causes this change, so they can make an army of supersoldiers. Banner only wants a cure. He is tracked down in Brazil and manages to barely escape and immediately heads to the U.S. where there is someone who believes he has a cure. But will Banner get the cure before the government finds him? Or will the creature take over his soul forever?
It hasn't been that long since The Hulk came out so it was a curious decision by Marvel to try and reboot the character so soon. I didn't mind the previous film, but there were a lot of people who hated it and that was evident in the amount of money it made. So, taking a cue from the long line of superhero films that have serious actors as leads, Edward Norton stepped up to the plate to play the jolly green giant. As it turns out, it good decisions were made all around. The movie is a fast, action-laden ride that only slows down when it feels the need to play out the love story between Banner and his girlfriend Betty Ross.
The movie opens in Brazil and you see this long shot of the small town Banner is hiding within. All the houses seem shakily built and are all right on top of each other. You could tell that this was going to make for a great chase sequence. And, a few minutes later, we are treated to a claustrophobic chase through the streets, ending with our first glimpse of The Hulk. What I liked was that we only really see him in shadows and never get the full image of him immediately. As Banner hightails it out of South America and back to the U.S., we meet his girlfriend, played by Liv Tyler, who burst on to the scene in her daddy's music videos, but lately has turned kind of glum. She was the weak link in the movie because she didn't bring anything other than some doe eyed looks and a couple of crying scenes. While Norton was inspired casting, Tyler was likely, who can we get on the cheap who has some street cred. The scenes when the two of them are alone are almost painful to watch as the dialogue becomes choppy and the chemistry between them is non-existent.
Thankfully the rest of the supporting cast was inspired. Tim Roth plays a soldier who is on the hunt for Banner. He sees what Banner can become and wants to get some of that inside him. His transformation from military man to psycho is a brilliant one. My only question to everyone is, what the hell happens to his creature at the end of the film?? Tim Blake Nelson plays the professor who thinks he has a cure for Banner. His role is only in the last part of the film, but it's a high energy, very funny role and it hints at his possible inclusion into a sequel. And finally, there was William Hurt as General Ross, the man in charge of bringing Banner back. He reminded me a lot of Jeff Bridges in Iron Man - two highly respected award winning actors who, much like the leads in two films, you wouldn't expect to be in a superhero movie. And speaking of Iron Man, look for a cameo from Tony Stark at the end of the movie.
The movie has some issues with it. During that chase scene in Brazil, the lighting goes from dark to light back to dark, all in the span of a few minutes. Continuity was apparently not a major part of the editing. As I mentioned before, any scene with Liv Tyler brought the movie down. And then there was the CGI Hulk. The biggest problem I had with the first go around was the creature effects, especially in his face. And I had the same problem here. While the special effects have gotten better over the years, and the direction was more in-your-face than the last time, the face of the Hulk still looks bad. CGI still hasn't gotten to the point where they can make a really good, realistic face. Everything else about it was good, but it's hard getting emotions from a CGI face. The plot of the movie overall was so-so with the standard 'Hulk being chased down by bad guys while wanting to rid himself of his problem' storyline. The ending of the movie however makes me believe a sequel could be even more entertaining.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I liked The Incredible Hulk. The action sequences were pretty intense and very well done. The movie as a whole was much better than the previous incarnation. If you take a nap during the Liv Tyler scenes, you'll really like the movie.
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