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The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Hulk 2

You'll like him when he's angry.

Directed by:

Louis Leterrier

Rating: 6/10

Running Time: 112 minutes

US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12A

On DVD

Country: United States

Things seemed to be going the right way for me to enjoy this latest version of Hulk mythology—Edward Norton’s onboard, Liv Tyler’s in there—even Tim Roth signed up to be the big bad. I loved the TV show, steered clear of the 2003 Ang Lee film, and don’t know much of the comic book lore. From what I know, I like my Hulk tragic and slightly complex, a little fella with a lot of inner turmoil. This movie, however, didn’t really deliver on its promise and as far as I can tell, should’ve just left well enough alone.

Bruce Banner (Norton) turns into a big scary green giant whenever his heart rate goes up too high, so he can’t get angry, excited, or watch super scary movies. As such, he’s on a quest to find the antidote, but the military and other villainous types are hell-bent on dissecting him and harnessing his power for their own purposes. After much searching, he thinks he may have found the cure that will let him tame his inner Hulk and live a normal life with his true love, Dr. Betty Ross (Tyler), but, alas, rogue soldier Emil Blonsky (Roth) wants some of that superpower juice for himself and transforms into a big uber-strong guy called The Abomination. So, unfortunately, Bruce has to Hulk up and fight to save the world, unable to simply retire his badass parts and be simply a man.

First the good. I really think Norton was a good choice to play Bruce Banner, not only because he’s not very imposing physically, providing a needed contrast and conflict between Man and Hulk, but because he’s a fantastic actor who does manage to bring some character to a role that really isn’t written to give any. Also of the positive—the action sequences are very well done, and the CGI heroes and monsters look spectacular. Problems arise if you’re looking for an actual coherent story—Mr. Green (Hulky) trusts Mr. Blue to help him with his antidote findings, though they’ve never really met? Ross goes from bad to good to … something? Did Blonsky plan to remain all Abominable forever? There’s a lot of running and action and exploding, but the Hulk should have more heart and plot—seriously, how sad is it to be a freakin’ superhero but not remember it, not be able to control it, and have to live your life worried you might accidentally get too worked up and kill someone? This isn’t bad in the realm of summer popcorn stuff, but The Hulk is a character rich in angst and story, and this movie could’ve been so much more.

It's Got: Loud shiny action and actors that, even if they’re underused, are still entertaining.

It Needs: A more fleshed-out storyline, more complexity to its characters.

DVD Extras 24 Deleted/Alternate Scenes; 5 Featurettes: “The Making Of Incredible,” “Becoming the Hulk,” “Becoming the Abomination,” ”Anatomy of a Hulk-Out,” “Comic Book To Screen”. DVD Extras Rating: 8/10

Alternatives:

Hulk, Iron Man, The Dark Knight

Summary

Not bad if you’re looking for mindless but good-looking action with no real storyline.

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