Scientist Bruce Banner is a man who has been living in shadows, scouring the planet for an antidote to the unbridled force of rage within him: the Hulk. But when the military masterminds who dream of exploiting his powers force him back to civilisation, he finds himself coming face to face with his most formidable foe: the Abomination - a nightmarish beast of pure aggression who's powers match the Hulk's own!
The first movie based on the hulk was called, well, "The Hulk". Now that movie was great. It had ton of action scenes, storyline and other stuff. But "The Incredible Hulk", was just average. Knowing that this movie is yet again based on the hulk, i had high expectations, because the first movie was awesome. "The Incredible Hulk" follows the same storyline, basically about Bruce Banner finding the cure, which is good. Nothing wrong there. But the amount of action scenes in the movie wasn't that good. The first movie had more action scenes then the second, and if i remember clearly, the second movie only has about 3-4 scenes involving the hulk. -.- . Anyway, there isn't much for me to say except that the final scene with "The Abomination" was alright.
Five Years ago, Universal Studios released one of the most commercially panned movies to grace the silver screens since George Lucas released Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 1999, and that was Ang Lee's Hulk. Starring Eric Bana, Jennifer Connley,and Nick Nolte. Critics loved Lee's vision and internal issues that he established in the characters, but fans took pitch forks to it and ripped the film apart. Not enough Hulk, not a good bad guy, daddy issues?, doesn't feel like Hulk, they don't call him Hulk, too little action, etc. They wanted something more like the tv show, and something with a lot of action, something more like the comics. So Marvel decided to go back and start fresh with it. The second movie their new studio has released, The Incredible Hulk is what fans have been waiting for. Starring the critcally acclaimed actor Edward Norton (Fight Club, American History X) as Bruce Banner/Hulk, Acaademy winner William Hurt (Kiss of the Spider Women, Nominated: A History of Violence) as Gen. Thunderbolt Ross, Academy Award nominee Tim Roth (Rob Roy) as Emil Blonsky, and Liv Tyler(The Lord of the Rings series, Jersey Girl) as Betty Ross, and directed by French director Louis Leterrier (Transporter, Unleashed [aka Danny the Dog over seas]}, Marvel takes the Hulk back to the basics, making the Hulk do what he always was meant to do, and that's SMASH!
The Incredible Hulk is about Bruce Banner, a fugitive on the run from the goverment who is trying to find a cure for his...unusual problem. Stalked by his ex-girlfriends crazy father General Thunderbolt Ross, who is bent on catching him to use what is in Bruce's blood so they can make it into the weapon. He hires a man named Emil Blonsky, a European army man past his prime who grows an obsession with beating the Hulk. Banner goes back to America to hopefully find a cure, but finds only trouble instead.
I have to say, when the prospects of another movie about the Hulk was being talked about, I wasn't sure how I felt. The first movie, while a disaster, had some good elements to it. The actors, at least for the most part, were good in their roles, and the action, when there, usually didn't look that bad. But the film lacked in the sense of good characters, a good bad guy, and the Hulk itself looked like a video game character, and it had giant mutant dogs. HULK DOGS! Whose brilliant idea was that? I would to have loved to been at that meeting where they came up with that idea. I wasn't sure if I was going to be ok with a sequel to that movie, so when I heard that they were going to start fresh, I will admit I became interested. The prospect of starting new meant that the studio had unlimited possibilitiesto to go off of, as long as we didn't have another origin story.
Marvel hired Zak Penn (X2, X-Men:The Last Stand, Behind Enemy Lines) to write a new version of the movie, more like a mix between the tv show and the comics. Then they hired Louis Leterrier to direct, which I thought was a brillant move because Unleashed is by far one of my favorite movies I've seen, and the way he made it was incredible. His version of the Hulk, I knew, would be more action, more fun, and more brutal. And to top it off, they hired one of my favorite actors, Edward Norton, to play Bruce Banner. If you've never had the chance to enjoy Edward Norton as an actor, I am very sorry and I highly recommend Fight Club, American History X, The Illustionist, and Red Dragon to you. If you've seen Fight Club, you know right away that Norton is the perfect choic to play Banner, and Marvel knew it too.
Now let me just say, this movie was awesome! Really, really awesome. I've been really impressed by Marvel studios twice now in less than two months. They have proved to me that they know what they're doing and are really setting a high bar for the comic book movie landscape. And that is one of the highest compliments I can give such a young studio. It just goes to show they care about their properties. Let's just hope that they can keep this going with Thor, Captain America, and The Avengers.
This movie really has no flaws, at least that I could see. Edward Norton is incredible (No pun intended =P) as Bruce Banner/Hulk. He is very believable as a fugitive on the run who just wants to find a cure for his problem. He plays it so well, and you really feel for him. You cheer for him when the army attacks him. You see them hurt Betty and you say the rage in Banner turn him for his love for her, and you can't help but want to cheer for him. William Hurt is also very good as General Ross, a man obsessed with trying to catch Banner so that he can use whats inside Bruce to make the ultimate soldier (A very nice nod to Captain America). Tim Roth is phenomenal as Emil Blonsky, the man Ross hires to catch Banner. He too becomes obsessed with the Hulk, but only because he wants to beat Hulk. He wants to become Hulk! Liv Tyler, who I usually find not exactly great in films, is actually good this time around as Betty Ross. You can see her love for Bruce is unconditional, so much that she would do anything for him, no matter the conseqeunces. She has a broken relationship with her father, General Ross, because of his constant obsession with trying to bring in Bruce. He made her love a fugitive, and she will never forgive him for that. Also, a nice addition in this movie is Tim Blake Nelson showing up briefly as Samuel Sterns, who comic fans will go crazy over because they know who he is going to become later on, which actually starts to happen here! Yeah, it was very cool.
Louis Leterrier, the director of the movie, does a phenomenal job here. He already has a very good resume for action movies (Transporter 1 and 2, Unleashed), went to show me that Marvel wanted an action oriented movie. But also showed me he could create great characters! Here, he gets to try to create a balance between the two, and does it very well. When the characters are talking, you really care about them, and you really get to know them. And then when the action picks up, he makes it very cool! I think one of my favorite things he did was during Bruce's first transformation in the soda plant in Brazil is that the Hulk is shrouded in shadows during the fight. Its a very creepy, monster movie style way to shoot it, and it works well here. It leaves the Hulk shrouded in mystery, and that to me is very cool. You can see outlines of him, but you never get to see him, full on, and that was the best way to do it until his big reveal during the second action scene on a college campus. Another scene that I thought was really well directed was a scene involving Betty and the Hulk. The Hulk saves her during one of the action scenes and goes into hiding, taking her with him. They hide in a cave and he is almost like a little kid, and he isn't sure what to do. It's a very King Kong feeling, but it works. I like it quite a bit. The action that Leterrier shoots is quite amazing, to say the least, and is some of the best I've seen in a comic book movie. His eye for cool action is quite good, and what he does here is amazing, especially during the final fight between Hulk and Abomination in the streets of New York City. The fight lasts about fifteen minutes, and it is really fun, really crazy, and quite brutal. I couldn't believe some of the things they did in this movie for the fact that it was PG-13. But I loved every single minute of it!
Another thing that really worked in this movies favor is the script. We've seen stories similar to this many times before, but the way its handled here is nicely done. The characters are also well defined, at least for the most part. And the opening montage, showing how Banner became Hulk and why he is one the run is very well done here in 3 minutes. Its a great way to show the origin without having to show it all over again. I felt that Zak and Edward really knew the characters and knew what fans wanted, and they give them what they wanted. They wanted Hulk smash, and thats what they gave us was Hulk smash! But not without making great characters at the same time.
The score is good, but its not heavily placed into the movie. One things that fans of the TV show might notice is the "Lonley Man" theme playing throughout the movie, or as many people know it as, The Sad Walking away music from the show. I just wish Hulk had a standout music theme though everytime he showed up (like Spider-Man and Superman), but maybe in due time. One things fans will eat up are lots of the references to S.H.E.I.L.D, Nick Fury, and other comic book and tv references they put into the movie. They really filled this thing full of in references for future movies, and I'm really glad they did! One thing to also look out for is Lou Ferrigno, who played Hulk in the TV series shows up here in a very cool, touching cameo, that kind of passes the torch to Edward Norton, and its very touching. He also does the voice of the Hulk in the movie, which is another thing! Hulk speaks! Not much, but he does! And let me just say, he sprouts one things comic fans have been waiting for him to say for a long time! And the last scene in the movie has a great cameo by a character we are all too familiar with now, and it will have you smiling ear to ear for the future of things to come!
Something that did surprise me, was how dark the movie could get, especially towards the end. The abomination is truly evil, and actually quite terrifying and menacing, so if you have any kids, you may want to see the movie first yourself and determine if you think your child can hadle it, because some kids may be able to handle it, but others may not.
Overall, I can't come up with anything wrong to say about this movie! And that is one of the best things I can say about a comic book movie, especially during the summer season! This is a great popcorn flick for the casual movie goer, a great comicbook movie, and something that I think fans will really love. Its worth the price of a night showing, or even a matinee if you want to go to that, but its defiently worth your time. You'll forget the Ang Lee version ever exsisted, and you'll be wanting more by the end of the movie! Go check it out! Its defiently worth it!
Patrick's Grade: 10/10