REVIEW: The Incredible Hulk

First, I would like to say that this is the definition of summer blockbuster, so if this is what you’re looking for, be sure to check this film out. Secondly, I would like to say that if you were disappointed by The Hulk (by Ang Lee) this film makes up for it, in some ways. For example, the film has a lot more ‘blockbuster’ qualities that the other did not. Bigger fights; a less tedious screenplay; fabulous acting all around, rather than a good performance here and there; and well, one of the best villains of the year.

Alright, so about the film. We all know the story about Bruce Banner, don’t we? Man goes into scientific experiment, gets radioactively blasted; lives; then hides away to try not become the monster he seems to be. Well, since we all know this, the film takes no time explaining all of this, with a very dreary interpretation of what went on at the Gamma Plant. Well, maybe a minute. Then we’re off to Bruce Banner in Puerto Rico. We see him trying to manipulate his life to fit that of one that won’t cause him to get angry, because we wouldn’t like him when he’s angry. The writing for this portion of the movie is very nice; it’s enjoyable and very learnitive. Though it may feel slow in parts, the ensuing action and minor subplot keeps it good enough for one not to have their eyes or minds drift away from the screen. After this part of the film, action picks right up. Although there are only two ‘fights’ before the main event, the intriguing storyline helps the dull parts move along smoothly. Think of the formula for the film Iron Man, just written a bit weaker. It has the story at the beginning; followed by the brief action scene; a little break; a bigger action scene; a break/break in plot/surprise; final battle; The Avengers’ prelude cameo. The action was done exceedingly well; especially the first major fight with the Army trying to take down the Hulk. Great visual effects in that scene, too.Anyways, that’s all I’ll tell you to spare you any spoilers. I will mention this though: the writing can get a bit lousy and boring, so unless you really like any of the actors or love The Hulk, you may find this film a bit less enjoyable than I did. However, if you go into this movie without any expectations and just want to have a good time, you’ll have that for sure. You’ve got beautiful scenes, beautiful people and beautiful violence to boot! So as far as summer blockbusters come, this has the formula down to a T.

The acting was good; for a superhero movie, great. Edward Norton leads the film in the right direction with his interpretation of Bruce Banner and The Hulk. The only issue with his performance is not one that is his fault, but rather the director’s. If The Hulk resembled Norton more when Norton was the Green Monster, he would’ve given a much better performance, as we barely feel how The Hulk reacts emotionally with anything. We only get an illusion of Banner’s state of mind while he is The Hulk, but that really isn’t much. Regardless, Norton did a great job as Bruce Banner, and I can’t wait to see him in the sequel. The main question is Downey Jr. vs. Norton, and I’d have to go with Downey Jr. based on his charisma alone. That and he story was much better to work with. The supporting cast of The Incredible Hulk were great. Tim Roth gives a deliciously villainous performance as Emil Blonsky, a KGB agent who is used to help fight the Hulk. (though, I think he was with America in this version…) . He out acted every actor he shared the screen with (he didn’t really share any of that time with Norton) and just owned his character. He was calm, cool and collective, and that’s what made this character so captivating. Tim Roth shows his chops, sure, but the character is written brilliantly. Well, adapted properly, at least. He is quite 2-D, but c’mon, he’s the Abomination! Tim Roth was excellent, and he led me to believe that he truly was Emil Blonsky. William Hurt was good, too. He plays Thaddeus Ross, Betty Ross’ father and head of the taskforce designed to basically kill The Hulk. Though he doesn’t have much to do other than bark commands and feel no sympathy for what he’s done, he did it very well. Gotta love Hurt, though. Liv Tyler wasn’t good. If you mixed and matched The Hulk and The Incredible Hulk to make a superior film, one of the very few things I’d take from The Hulk would be Jennifer Connelly. She destroyed Liv Tyler in that role.

All in all, the film’s major high point would be its acting. The cast really made you believe they were who they were portraying. Rather than seeing Tim Roth as a villain, I saw a villain that physically resembled Tim Roth. Same goes for Edward Norton, but protagonist in the place of villain. And of course the visual effects were great, too. They really changed Toronto around in the final battle. Although I saw my favourite pizza place in the world sported in the background, it looked nothing like the place I love.

A fine blockbuster for 2008. I’m loving these new ‘great actors starring as superheroes’ genre of superhero films. See it and enjoy yourself; it’s worth the 10 bucks. ***/****