Movie Review – “Incredible Hulk”

Don’t judge this movie based on Ang Lee’s 2003 movie. That was an exploration of the psychology that leads to and results from coexisting with the Hulk. This is about a thing that’s really, really good at smashing.

Cast and Crew Information

Edward Norton as Bruce Banner
Lou Ferrigno as the voice of the Incredible Hulk
Liv Tyler as Betty Ross
Tim Roth as Emil Blonsky
William Hurt as General “Thunderbolt” Ross
Tim Blake Nelson as Samuel Sterns
Ty Burrell as Dr. Leonard Samson
Paul Soles as Stanley, the pizza guy

Written by Zak Penn. (Edward Norton’s writing credit was removed by the WGA, as most of his scenes were in the 70 minutes of film that got cut from the theatrical release.)
Directed by Louis Leterrier
Crew credits also include Transportation Co-Captain Rick Jones. I’m not clear what a Transportation Co-Captain does, but I can’t write a review of a Hulk movie and not mention a credit for a guy named Rick Jones.

Premise

Bruce Banner desperately seeks a cure for his condition, while General Ross wants to take the potential in Banner and turn it into a weapon.

High Point

If I went into the film without a comic book background, I’d pick either the cab ride (for the comedy) or the final confrontation (for the well done action.) As someone who has read a lot of Marvel product, I’ve got to go with the final conversation between General Ross and the other gentleman.

Low Point

Sam Sterns’ last scene feels like a dropped thread if you don’t already know who that character is. (If you’re one of those people, check out this Wikipedia page.)

The Review

On the one hand, the originality suffers from the adapted nature of the material. It does get credit for being such a drastic departure from the Ang Lee effort, though. I give it 4 out of 6.

The effects are excellent. The Hulk had that reptilian green skin colour I was hoping for last time, and he integrates with his environment far more naturally. Both he and the abomination were also far more expressive. Unlike the previous effort, bullets are not repelled by an elastic effect, but rather deflect harmlessly off skin that barely covers dense and toned musculature. The battles are fierce, and very well done. It’s easy to forget there’s no actual Hulk on set throwing these people and cars around. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story isn’t as deep as Ang Lee’s was. This isn’t about depths of psychology and the impact of this life on a normal man, it’s about an angry jade giant who’s really good at smashing and human beings with different agendas for him. It’s a simple story, but doesn’t pretend otherwise. The Doc Samson thread could have had more closure, though. I give it 4 out of 6.

The acting is well done all around. I still prefer Jennifer Connelly as Betty, but Liv Tyler wasn’t bad. Norton and Hurt are both very well suited to their roles, and Roth is convincing enough, as well. Some moments aren’t convincing (the worst of which actually landed in the trailer, with the “get far away from me – it’s not safe” scene in the park). I give it 5 out of 6.

The production was well done. It didn’t provide any of the real “wow” moments that Ang Lee had with his comic panels and the like, but it delivers in an effective-but-standard action flick kind of way. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response was strong. A good portion of Hulk’s supporting cast were introduced in some manner, without derailing the intentions of the story itself. We get fan service for those who’ve read the source material, and a goodly amount of smashing for those who haven’t. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, this is a solid action movie, which consciously chooses not to take the same path Ang Lee made. It’s a standard action flick, with sometimes brutal battles. The tone is in line with the pre-Peter David run of the comic, particularly the short Byrne run, though the main influence is the Bill Bixby series. It’s not spectacular, and it’s not quite up to the level of “Iron Man,” but it’s entertaining and meets its own goals. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, Incredible Hulk receives 32 out of 42.

11 replies on “Movie Review – “Incredible Hulk””

  1. chad says:

    My take
    I thought Liv Tyler’s role as Betty Ross was below par. Admittedly she was just playing the character as it was written and directed, but too much pouting and emoting. This woman is a Ph.D. after all!

    Otherwise I liked it. I give it a 6/10.

    My high point was HULK SMASH!!!

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    • chad says:

      Re: My take
      Oops: "silent" emoting, that is.

    • grundil says:

      Re: My take

      My high point was HULK SMASH!!!

      My personal high-point was the guest appearance, and I’m not referring to Stan the Man or a certain hero from another movie.

      • fiziko says:

        Re: My take

        My personal high-point was the guest appearance, and I’m not referring to Stan the Man or a certain hero from another movie.

        That narrows it down to two… (Yes, the pizza guy was another guest star.)

      • chad says:

        Guest Star Cameos
        Here’s the ones I have (hover mouse to see them):

          – Lou Ferrigno as the security guard
          – Bill Bixby on the TV show
          – Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark
          – Stan Lee as the guy who drank the contaminated soda

        Have I missed anyone?

        • fiziko says:

          Re: Guest Star Cameos

          Here’s the ones I have (hover mouse to see them):

            – Lou Ferrigno as the security guard
            – Bill Bixby on the TV show
            – Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark
            – Stan Lee as the guy who drank the contaminated soda

          Have I missed anyone?

          Paul Soles, who ran the pizzaria, was also the voice of Hulk, Banner and Rick Jones in the 1960s cartoon. (He also voiced Peter Park and Spider-Man in the 1967 cartoon.)

  2. Grounded says:

    Bullet time
    "Unlike the previous effort, bullets are not repelled by an elastic effect"

    Maybe it’s just me, but the CG in the first movie gave me the impression the bullets were entering his body but he was healing the wounds at an incredible rate. Wasn’t that the whole point of the nano-med angle?

    • spideylinux says:

      Re: Bullet time
      Yes in the Ang Lee version Hulk could heal very fast, like Wolverine. That didn’t sit right with me, as I thought the bullets shouldn’t have even affected him. The healing and the super leaping were just too off for me.

      This version was great. Not as good as Iron Man. I did like the action scenes and there seemed to be more of them than Iron Man. I think that the review sums it up for me with one scene I thought that was really funny: Don’t make me hungry; You won’t like me when I’m…..hungry.

      • nitefallz says:

        Re: Bullet time

        Yes in the Ang Lee version Hulk could heal very fast, like Wolverine. That didn’t sit right with me, as I thought the bullets shouldn’t have even affected him. The healing and the super leaping were just too off for me.

        This version was great. Not as good as Iron Man. I did like the action scenes and there seemed to be more of them than Iron Man. I think that the review sums it up for me with one scene I thought that was really funny: Don’t make me hungry; You won’t like me when I’m…..hungry.

        I’m 99% sure in the Ang version the bullets bounced off of him. His healing took a few seconds which is noticeable after he escapes the military base and that bomb explodes near him, you’ll see his wound close up. Earlier in the movie in the military base when they’re shooting at him the rounds are bouncing off.

        In the new film he shows bullet wounds in the cave, which I thought was odd.

        Also, the leaping while it may seem silly.. well you know it’s classic hulk canon.

  3. BuellBoy says:

    Don’t forget
    Did anyone catch the name of the "Journalism Major" they interviewed on campus?

    • chad says:

      Re: Don’t forget

      Did anyone catch the name of the "Journalism Major" they interviewed on campus?

      The name didn’t mean anything to me–please explain further.

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