The Incredible Hulk

July 15, 2008 by  

A few years ago, they tried this experiment. Ang Lee was to direct “Hulk” starring Eric Bana (also known as the half-Ryan Theriot, half-Vinny Del Negro clone) as Bruce Banner, one of the biggest conundrums in super hero history. His super ego, the Hulk, was both a hero…and a villain. He wasn’t a bad villain but he caused destruction and had no control over what he did. It was your Jekyll & Hyde for a new age.

But let’s go even before that, to when Stan Lee first invented the Hulk back in the 70’s. You can pretty much place almost all Marvel Super heroes in one category: emo. Every single one of these guys are suffering, every day people who happen to be given a great gift and a great curse. It’s true with Spiderman, it’s true with the X-Men, and it’s true with the Incredible Hulk. It all had to do with gamma rays and nuclear explosions and radiation…such was the times. Everyone was in fear of greatness, everyone was in fear of horribleness. Everyone should have been afraid of the 80’s.

Let’s go back to the “Hulk” movie: it was lame. That was that. Decades of hype, having to deal with Lou Ferrigno, all leads up to a CGI mess that disappointed me in Marvel, Eric Bana, and most importantly, Ang Lee. There was no identification of who Bruce Banner was, or who the Hulk was, except a CGI giant.

So, I suppose someone thought this was too much of a travesty to just let go, and they green lit (green eh?) another “Hulk” picture. But this wouldn’t be a sequel. Nope, they were going to pretend that other “Hulk” movie didn’t exist.

They did the right thing. With all the origin stuff pretty much being thrown at you during the opening credits, we glide through the back story with crackles and pops and cool green effects, and are ready for a new, fresh story…beginning in…Brazil. Great start!

Bruce finds himself ostracized, but not just because he is a lonely guy. He’s also hiding from the military. And he wants to get back home, but he needs to find the cure to his “Hulk” issues. He starts speaking to a “Mr. Blue”, someone he probably found through craigslist while looking for a friend, and is of course, “Mr. Green”. Mr. Blue wants to help Bruce but he needs data captured from the original experiment that turned Banner into the Hulk to begin with…but Banner doesn’t have it, and thus needs to get back “home”, to the university where it was created.

There is a problem, however; in a small mishap at work, Banner accidentally bleeds into a bottle of some kind of Brazillian juice at the manufacturing plant he is working at–and the bottle is shipped to the USA…and an unknowing purchaser of this elixir finds there’s more punch to the juice than the name claims. The pay off of WHOM this affects is pretty amusing.

That alerts the military, and then all hell breaks loose in Brazil (for once, not caused by a soccer riot) and Banner becomes the Hulk, and for the next few months, disappears and actually gets himself to America, and back into the arms of his old sweet heart, of whom we know nothing about, Betty Ross.

That’s problem number one. While it’s nice to think that everybody by now knows the story of the Hulk and trust me, the theaters will be packed with fanboys who will know more about the Hulk than medical doctors know about the human anatomy–it still doesn’t mean the screenwriter gets off the hook for not setting up a relationship story better. Zak Penn, I expected more out of you.

The script is much crisper, much more thought provoking, and MUCH more fun than the previous “Hulk”–but by saying more thought provoking, I’m putting more of an indictment on “Hulk” than I’m giving credit for “The Incredible Hulk”.

There are some nice inside jokes here that I think most people WILL get, especially if you grew up on the show (watch for a nice little cameo of someone you’ll remember from the old “Incredible Hulk” series, happy to receive a free pizza while on duty as a security guard). But aside from that, this film suffers from just about every other super hero movie and that is…it degrades into a fanboy circle jerk fight scene between Mr. Super Hero and Mr. Nemesis…and Mr. Nemesis is MUCH bigger and scarier.

Now, didn’t we JUST see this with “Iron Man”? Look I know that not all studios know what’s going on in each other’s litters, but the fights between the Grey Hulk and the Green Hulk are RIGHT out of “Iron Man”. It’s as if the designers just grabbed stuff from “Iron Man” and replaced the two guys fighting each other.

And while there’s a bit more heart and humanity in this film than “Hulk”, there is so much more to Bruce Banner and the tortuous story he has that is left out of this film. But trust me, Ed Norton does about as good a job as you can expect.

And as for the Hulk itself? Well, it definitely looks better. When he’s standing there, not pulverizing things, it does look like a living, breathing CREATURE. However, when he SPEAKS…eye rolls galore. Not necessary and takes away from the mystique.

Overall, this is a movie kids will LOVE, so Dads–take your boys to see this immediately. They will absolutely love it. You may enjoy it as well.

The last scene is probably my favorite of the whole film. It links two super hero movies together that I hope does come to fruition in the future because it features my new favorite super hero right now…which I’ve probably given away already. But it’s a real treat the way this film ends.

I’d still recommend “Iron Man” over this, but if you’re gonna see one comic book movie you may as well see them all because there are more to come this summer.

:grin::grin::smile: out of :grin::grin::grin::grin:

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