The Incredible Hulk Movie Review
He is bulky, big, and has a green temper. The second MCU picture is one of the most underrated movies of the franchise!
Genre: Action / Fantasy / Sci-Fi
Director: Louis Leterrier
Cast: Edward Norton, Tim Roth, William Hurt, Liv Tyler, Tim Blake Nelson, Ty Burrell, Debora Nascimento, Peter Mensah & Lou Ferrigno.
Run Time: 112 min.
US Release: 13 June 2008
UK Release: 13 June 2008
German Release: 10 July 2008
This reboot of the green rage monster is disliked by a lot of people, yet it is my third favourite Phase 1 film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Honestly, I don’t see anything wrong with it, well that is not completely true; this comic adaptation does have a few weaknesses, but in a nutshell, it is a very good Hulk movie!
As with Iron Man, I was worried when I heard of this film’s production. We all remember Ang Lee’s Hulk as one of the worst portrayals of this beloved Marvel character. Eric Bana was completely miscast as Bruce Banner, while Jennifer Connelly did not feel like Betty Ross. The cinematography is crap and the storyline about Bruce’s father was incomprehensibly and bad. Until now, no one exactly knows what it is that he turned into.
First rumours on the net suggested that this might be a sequel to Lee’s abomination of a sequel (pun intended). After announcing Norton’s involvement as Banner, however, my interest grew. When it finally came out in cinemas, I was blown away by how good it was! Granted, after seeing Mark Ruffalo in The Avenger, all I could think was: “Yes! This is Dr Bruce Banner”, but Edward Norton was good in this movie.
— WARNING, THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS! —
The Incredible Hulk was directed by French Regisseur and Hulk-fan Louis Leterrier (The Transporter) and released in theatres during the summer of 2008. It stars Edward Norton, Tim Roth, Liv Tyler, William Hurt as Gen. Ross and Tim Blake Nelson, among others.
The plot revolves around Bruce Banner (Norton) who is on the run from the US army after an experiment turned him into the raging green monster. Leading the search for him is US Army Gen. ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross (Hurt), who is the father of Banner’s girlfriend Betty (Tyler). In Ross’ strike team is the middle-aged but eager Emil Blonsky (Roth), who is willing to do anything to obtain the power that was bestowed on Banner.
I personally like the story of this blockbuster. It is a simple getaway thriller, partially reminding me of The Fugitive, with superhero aspects. Writer Zack Penn and Leterrier took the spirit of the 1978 TV series, of the same name, and turned it into a great two-hour blockbuster. It has good pacing, the action sequences are immensely entertaining, and the tribute it pays to the Hulk TV series, such as the screening of a Bill Bixby series on a TV in the background, the small cameo given to Lou Ferrigno as a university security guard, or the scene in Guatemala that plays the score of the series.
The strawberry on top of the sundae in this movie is the post-credit scene in the bar when Downey Jr. appears as Tony Stark. That is when Marvel Studios unofficially announced a joined movie universe. As a marvel fan, it is nice to see that they respected the material given, though, the story is tweaked to fit into our generation, nevertheless, it resembles the original tales.
As to the characters and actors in this film, Edward Norton is one of the best actors, able to transform into any character given. His depiction of Bruce is very accurate. Sure, he isn’t the person that comes first to mind when hearing the name Banner but Norton does a brilliant job at portraying the character. There is no doubt that Ruffalo does a spectacular job in the titular role since he combines the physique and personality of the character, yet Norton was what this blockbuster needed.
Tim Roth is great as the villain Emil Blonsky. The writers changed his biography a little bit, given that the cold war is over but the rewrites make sense. Roth is a fantastic British actor and brought the persona of Emil Blonsky real depth. Another great depiction of a character is that of General Ross by William Hurt. Liv Tyler did an all-right job as the Ross’ daughter; she looks the part but was at times too childlike.
Tim Blake Nelson was a nice addition, as Dr Samuel Sterns. The plan was obviously to work on a sequel, with Sterns as the villain The Leader. Sadly the planned follow-up was scrapped due to the bad ratings.
Louis Leterrier did film a superb hero flick. The action sequences had a sense of urgency that represented the desperation of Banner, to try and get away from Ross, really well. The fight between Blonsky and the Hulk, at the university campus, was brilliantly elaborated and contains fantastic choreography. The same goes for the battle between the Hulk and the Abomination at the end of the film, which is designed amazingly. The only issue concerning the animation of the Hulk is the fact that he wasn’t modelled after Norton’s face. That is however a minor flaw. It also seems as if the Hulk looks better during sequences at night than at day when he looks less realistic.
Verdict: The Incredible Hulk is one of the better Phase 1 films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, fans finally obtained a Hulk movie they deserved, with Norton, as well as Roth giving amazing performances. While most of the story is a great depiction of the fantastic 70’s TV show, it can be clunky at times. The cinematography and effects look amazing, although the Hulk’s animation looks better at night than day. The atmosphere is spot on with the comics. I will give The Incredible Hulk an 8.0 out of 10! If you are interested in reading further Marvel movie reviews scroll down to find links to my Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and Avengers Review.