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The Incredible Hulk

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Here's my review of The Incredible Hulk. The review itself probably sounds harsher than I mean for it to, and as you'll see from the rating it's certainly an above-average film. But I was still pretty underwhelmed by the whole thing.

The Incredible Hulk



As cliché as it once was that some superheros were also paragons of virtue, so it has become somewhat cliché that every hero must be tragically flawed or conflicted about the power they possess. No hero embodies this quite as literally as the Hulk, who has at best a tenuous handle on what he does when his abilities are triggered.

Ang Lee's 2003 Hulk decided to explore the darker side of the character. In that film's first trailer, Bruce Banner (then played by Eric Bana) proclaimed "When it finally happens ... when I totally lose control ... I like it." His power is triggered by anger, and he actually grows in size when irritated further.

Enter The Incredible Hulk, a reboot of the attempted franchise, which treats Banner's affliction less like a psychological condition and more like disease. Edward Norton plays Banner this time around and had a hand in writing the script. Norton portrays Banner as decidedly unconflicted through most of the film: he abhors what's inside him, and thinks of nothing but "curing" himself so he can return to the woman he loves, Betty Ross (Liv Tyler).

The Incredible Hulk safely assumes that most people know of the character's origins, and provides only a quick montage beneath the opening credits to bring us up to speed. It shows us things through the Hulk's eyes, and emphasizes the damage he does not only to his surroundings, but to the people he cares about.

A quick flash forward shows us that Banner is living in Brazil, taking steps to deal with his anger and searching for a way to rid himself of his problem, which is triggered by an elevated heart rate this time around. He's not simply hiding out of shame, though; the military was involved in the gamma ray experiments that made him what he is, and regards him as their property. To this end, they've enlisted the help of Royal Marine Emil Blonsky, an elite soldier who wishes he could have the body of his youth back, and learns that this may actually be an option, albeit a risky one.

It's a given that the military will find Banner, and that he'll have to transform into the Hulk to defend himself. But the film goes to great lengths to show that transformation is his last option, and often happens against his will. Whether or not he's still himself when he's the Hulk isn't really answered, despite being a major plot point. And when Betty asks him "What's it like?," his answer doesn't fit very well with what we see. The creature he becomes is surprisingly thoughtful at times, which somewhat undermines Banner's apparent fear at what he might do.

The first third of the film is straightforward and works well as it establishes the isolation and hopelessness of Banner's life, and the things he does to get by. Once Banner returns to America, however, the film becomes disjointed. It alternates between action, drama, tragedy, and comedy at a frantic pace, without sense or segues. Most of the jokes lack bite, or are easy to anticipate, and many are sandwiched between dramatic sequences.

The film's attempts at drama are probably its weakest point. Norton is a formidable actor, but he and Tyler have very little chemistry here. This wouldn't matter much if not for the fact that their eventual reunion and evolving relationship is given a great deal of screen time. The way they come together is simultaneously random and contrived, and at least one character is unceremoniously swept under the rug to accommodate it. The film overestimates our attachment to Tyler's character and overwhelms her scenes with schmaltzy music, and many scenes fall flat as a result.

The effects are fairly strong, and there's a strong contrast between this film's Hulk and the 2003 version. The Hulk is a good deal shorter, has a relatively larger upper body, and looks like he might burst out of his skin. He shows the damage he takes, roars repeatedly, and yes, utters the iconic line that fans of the character have been waiting to hear on the big screen.

Most of these issues are ancillary, of course. The Incredible Hulk contains a good deal of smashing, and that's all most of us really want out of it. But even on this level, it's still a little underwhelming. Smashing is good in and of itself, to be sure, but most of us have come to expect a bit more inventiveness even in relatively mindless action sequences. That said, they're still fun.

The Incredible Hulk was the subject of a semi-public dispute between Norton and the production studio, and rumors of a longer cut abound. Whether or not there are any additional scenes, and whether or not they flesh out some of the film's shallower aspects, we don't yet know. But as-is, The Incredible Hulk feels like it could have gone in any number of directions, and unfortunately decided to go in all of them. It lacks polish, but it starts strong and delivers just enough in terms of action to offset a seeming tentativeness about what its trying to say.




Nice job as always Chris, I'm going to go see this in a couple of hours or so. Obviously this is my #1 character and to see you give it a three is fine by me. I don't need this to be great. I thought the first one was pretty decent too, so there you go.

I'm not sure if you've mentioned before whether or not you've read the comic or not, but as I recall the comic was a pretty messy ordeal at times too. As are a good number of Marvel characters. Probably what attracts me to so many of them.

I'm not surprised that Norton and Tyler don't have a great deal of screen chemistry either, I don't really consider her to be a very good actress and a rather large step back from one of my all time favorites Jennifer Connelly, so I may be a little biased. Anyway great review and I'm a gonna go smash something now.
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The Incredible Hulk (2008)


Well, I'm not going to bother wasting a lot of time writing up a fancy little article detailing all the ways that I am unhappy with the movie. I'll just say a few things and leave it at that I guess. Yeah right...

First off I'm actually going to rate this one lower than the first. Yep that's right I said lower. I know it was full of action but even that wasn't that great. Fans of the television show will probably like this movie better than the first film because at times all throughout the movie they were constantly tipping their caps to it. And that's fine I suppose, but to me that isn't what the REAL Hulk was all about. The real Hulk was an uncontrollable monster who hated most things human because he thought most humans were: "Puny insects!" At times during this film they actually made The Hulk almost human and susceptible to a lot more pain than the real Hulk ever suffered from. Even the most average of Hulk fan can tell you that when the Hulk gets hurt or mad he gets STRONGER! Which I feel I should add is one of the things that Ang Lee got right in the first film, not so much how The Hulk grew larger but how he got stronger.

My rating for the first film is
btw. And it actually is closer to 2 and three quarter stars.

Secondly, why is it exactly that we can't have The Hulk's true origin? Bruce Banner became The Hulk during a Gamma bomb radiation exposure sure... but the reason he was exposed was because he was trying to save Rick Jones life, a boy who had wandered into the test area on a dare. Both films made it appear that he (Bruce) willingly committed himself to these experiments and in fact he didn't. It wasn't until after he became The Hulk that he began doing all sorts of experimental things to himself to try and rid himself of The Hulk.

Thirdly, the talking Hulk. I waited for him to speak and I waited, and I waited. During his first transformation he utters one line "Leave me alone", and then nothing until almost the end of the movie, where he finally shouts out his trademark slogan, and even then it seemed almost an afterthought and it wouldn't surprise me if that's something that was edited in later, when people like me started a mini Internet crusade to have him speaking. I mean c'mon even waaaaay back in 1962 when The Hulk was first created he talked almost immediately after he transformed. Of course though he was also grey at that time, I'll now get to that as well.

The Hulk is either GREY or GREEN not both. At first I thought I would be able to overlook this rather large and glaring weakness in this movie and the entire INCREDIBLE HULK universe, but as you can see I didn't. At times he was more green than he was grey but a lot of the time he was a mixture of both and I just couldn't take it.

So other than that though the movie was great! Pffft!




I thought that this movie had some decent action scenes and the special effects were fair. However, I was hoping that this film would make people look at Ang Lee's version in hind sight.

I watched Ang Lee's version straight after watching this one, and I have to say it's superior on many levels with the exception of the special effects (Even though the effects in Hulk still hold up well today.

I'm sorry I know people think that The Hulk should just be a smash 'em up, but I liked that Ang Lee tried to make a cerebral and almost auteur-like comic book film. It's more ambitous and, for the most part, succeeds in it's ambition despite a few flaws.

Boo to Ed Norton



I thought that this movie had some decent action scenes and the special effects were fair. However, I was hoping that this film would make people look at Ang Lee's version in hind sight.

I watched Ang Lee's version straight after watching this one, and I have to say it's superior on many levels with the exception of the special effects (Even though the effects in Hulk still hold up well today.

I'm sorry I know people think that The Hulk should just be a smash 'em up, but I liked that Ang Lee tried to make a cerebral and almost auteur-like comic book film. It's more ambitous and, for the most part, succeeds in it's ambition despite a few flaws.

Boo to Ed Norton

What is up with the ending? Tony Stark shows up at the end and talks to the general saying they are putting together a team...what kind of team, and is this a comic reference, after seeing the movie i returned home and searched through all of my old comics and ended with no results.



What is up with the ending? Tony Stark shows up at the end and talks to the general saying they are putting together a team...what kind of team, and is this a comic reference, after seeing the movie i returned home and searched through all of my old comics and ended with no results.
I guess you haven't seen Iron Man bud. And yes this is a comic book reference...A major reference to the future of Marvel's film franchise.



Uh...the Avengers? Have ya heard of 'em?
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...uh the post is up there...



Thought this movie was definitely better than the first attempt at a Hulk movie and at no point was I bored. The closing action sequence is fantastic. However, as with all movies of this genre the acting and dialogue from cast members like Liv Tyler is pretty poor.



Celluloid Temptation Facilitator
I thought it was better too.

However, I don't think I would have cast anyone that was in the movie. I like to see people who are attractive for the most part and most of these were scruffy looking. The nerd casting really isn't my thing.

Poor Liv Tyler. I remember when she was fresh and beautiful. Now she has had too much collagen put in her lips. She is in Lisa Rinna territory and it's painful to see.

I had a lip like that once. It was the result of an abscessed tooth. I wouldn't go to school looking like that much less do a movie. So I have a serious question for anyone who knows, will she ever look normal again? I mean if she just laid off the collagen wouldn't her lips get back to normal?

Why do casting directors cast people that you can only enjoy looking at in profile if at all?

Anyway, the CGI and FX was better in this film.

I did enjoy each and every tip of the hat to the old show. I never read the comics though.

How could Hulk here the girl screaming and get upset about it when the sound cannons had him down? I don't understand that.

I liked the car boxing glove thing. It reminded me of a Brujah from playing VTM, just picking up whatever was around and brawling.

Why were they so mean to the doggies? Why did Banner bat the bird cages?

My son enjoyed this movie best of all the movies he has seen this year. At least that's what he says until the next movie he sees. LOL.

He was mad to discover I fell asleep during the action sequences at the middle to end of the movie. There was no plot at that point but a bunch of noise and CGI. *yawn*

There was LOTS of product placement. The sales folks must be happy.

Meanwhile, parents will be whining about toys at fast food joints and toy stores that market this movie to tykes. Sorry parent, do your research and use common sense, not the marketing tools thrown at you, to make your parenting decisions.
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Bleacheddecay



That was a totally freaking awesome review bleach, I agree with everything you said except that first bit. I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess that if you were to rate this and you say its better than the first one, then you must have really been bored during the first installment.

"Lots of product placement"... Love that.



Celluloid Temptation Facilitator
That was a totally freaking awesome review bleach, I agree with everything you said except that first bit. I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess that if you were to rate this and you say its better than the first one, then you must have really been bored during the first installment.

"Lots of product placement"... Love that.
Thanks! That's the way of the super budget action flicks these days. I remember Transformers last year was FULL of product placement.

I still enjoyed the movie. I didn't even fall asleep during it!

Ironman had tons of product placement too. It was an enjoyable action flick. I was surprised. My main quibble with it, was the lack of Nice Shot Man which was in the trailer but not actually in the movie. What?!? That's one of my fav songs ever. How could they tease me like that? That's just mean!



I gotta say, I was less than amazed by the effects in The Incredible Hulk; I thought they were an improvement over Hulk, but not the kind you'd expect given the five-year gap between the two films. After going back and watching Hulk again recently, its effects aren't quite as good as I remember, but it's still not much worse. I think that the character is just too unrealistic looking to begin with, so any progress on this front is likely to be a good deal more incremental than other types of effects.

The biggest difference, to my mind, is simply the style. The old Hulk had a smooth, clean-shaven kind of look, and was actually pretty graceful in most of his movements. The latest version is...well, not. It makes for an interesting contrast:





By the by, I have to respectfully disagree with some of the people who are upset by the "new" Hulk's color. It's still green, after all, and simply going with a duller shade made the character a lot more believable, in my mind. And it fits with the gruffer look the Hulk has this time around.



However, as with all movies of this genre the acting and dialogue from cast members like Liv Tyler is pretty poor.
Well yeah. I mean this kinda movie you don't expect them to go and win oscars for their acting portrayals. It makes me laugh when people say so and so can't act in this movie.



I gotta say, I was less than amazed by the effects in The Incredible Hulk; I thought they were an improvement over Hulk, but not the kind you'd expect given the five-year gap between the two films.
Me too on the first part. And I disagree on the second part. Perhaps we can agree that technically speaking they were better in the latest version but at least in the first version they were more true to what The Hulk really is. I know, I know, The Hulk doesn't "grow" bigger in the comics and I didn't like that either but he does leap for long distances and he does for Frak's sake TALK! In total this new steaming pile of a Hulk only had ONE more line than in the first film... I mean Wow! That's like four more words than he spoke in the first film. Sorry... I get a little worked up sometimes.


The biggest difference, to my mind, is simply the style. The old Hulk had a smooth, clean-shaven kind of look, and was actually pretty graceful in most of his movements. The latest version is...well, not. It makes for an interesting contrast:
Completely agree.

By the by, I have to respectfully disagree with some of the people who are upset by the "new" Hulk's color. It's still green, after all, and simply going with a duller shade made the character a lot more believable, in my mind. And it fits with the gruffer look the Hulk has this time around.
Yeah well... that's like your opinion man...



I used to be a comic book collector, and be it Transformers, X-Men, or Hulk the diehard fan will be pissed when you change the foundation of the character. The only problem I saw in Ang Lees Hulk was that he was too big. (In the comic Hulk is 7' tall and weighs like 2,500 lbs of sheer muscle.) Angs Hulk was 12 foot tall, and this one is still too big! The Abomination was the same size as the Ang Lee Hulk when you see them next to each other. This movie absolutely ignored the last Hulk film, but wowed you even less. Much less.

The story was tired, stale, and played out. I wouldnt be surprised in the least that Norton was a fan of the TV Hulk series with the intro credits showing the identical chair Bill Bixby was in, played the music in one scene (famous end piano sequence), and Ferrigno made a cameo. The endfight in this film was a snore. The film was "Meh" I give it a C+. Surprisingly Ang Lees Hulk was much better. Regardless of its flaws the Ang Hulk movie had more of an exciting buzz about it, and delivered in alot of ways.



28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
Saw it last night.

The best part of the movie was when I pointed out to some friends that I walk past a certain building everyday to go to work.

Is it better then the talk film Ang Lee gave us in 03? Yes, is it better then other comic book films? no.

I say it comes up dead centre.
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Suspect's Reviews



I like this one. Haven't seen it yet. Looks like a very great movie... :P I hope to watch it this weekend...



\m/ Fade To Black \m/
Im going to wait for this to be in the bargin bin before I pick a copy up. I really was disapointed with the first effort, it was so long, boring and didnt seem to get any where. Just hope this is better. From some of the reviews ive read it seems that more people like this better than the last film. But im still not going to buy it untill its reduced.
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A system of cells interlinked
While I agree with your views of the first film, why would you wait on this one? The films are completely unrelated. This isn't a sequel.
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