I know everyone has read the reviews by both Devin and Russ on the main page. I just thought I’d give my own two cents and put a review up here as well.
Going into The Incredible Hulk, high hopes were amongst this lone traveler. I decided to go it alone, considering all the bad blood amongst family and friends for convincing them to see the last Hulk movie that Ang Lee made those ‘many’ years ago (has it really been 5 years already?). Say so long to Eric Bana and say hello to Edward Norton. Good bye to Jennifer Connelly and good day to Liv Tyler.
You get the picture.
Gone are the existential hardships presented to the Hulk and Banner via the clouds and battling his father, instead taking a step toward the nostalgic course of showcasing the original Bill Bixby/Lou Ferrigno tour de force television show. Does it make for a better movie?
To put it as bluntly as possible, yes it does. Going in to a packed first showing in the middle of the Village in Manhattan, seeing that people (especially children) were oohing and ahhing at each and every hit, women cheering on Mr. Norton’s portrayal of the tortured soul of Banner and guys getting a bit of penis envy when Tim Roth’s Emil Blonsky actually holds his own against the incredible one. It’s as lean as a summer blockbuster can get, which is heavily in its favor. It doesn’t waste any time; example being right in the first minute and a half that you get to see from the Hulk’s own eyes, mimicking a horror movie and showing why William Hurt’s General Ross hates Bruce Banner so much. It’s also because he believes that Banner’s body and it’s gamma irradiated Mr. Hyde is property of the U.S. Government.
The action is fast and packed to the brim with geeky interludes, be it the comic book nods or the light touches of a Bill Bixby reference here and a song queue there. It all works and Louis Letterier does a great job showing that he can not only make action films, but films with some sort of semblance with the audience that doesn’t take too much to get. It’s not one of those ‘shut off your brain’ movies (which I hate that reference) but instead has a simple story that could’ve been lifted from any of the past 400 issues of the Hulk and minimizes it to a brisk 114 minute running time. I don’t want to spoil much of the film for anyone, but be sure to look out for Tim Blake Nelson’s turn as biochemist Samuel Sterns with ulterior motives of his own. Even Ty Burrell (who tends to play real scum in most movies) plays Dr. Samson, but without the green hair.
It has 2 great villains. One being General Ross and the other being the super soldier addicted Emil Blonsky. Considering Tim Roth has been acting in great movies for many years, he takes this role, relishes in it and make it his very own from the moment he enters our viewing. He is hard headed, tenacious and will stop at nothing to defeat the Hulk. Even if it means becoming the Abomination and causing havoc in the middle of Harlem.
Will everyone like this movie? No, they won’t. But that’s not what Marvel is going for right now. They’re looking for that niche audience of rabid fans and also the hiring of accomplished actors and directors shows that they’re serious about the long haul. With the announcement of an Iron Man II, Thor, Captain America and even an Avengers movie, if this new Hulk entry does well, we’ll be seeing more incredible adventures for years to come. Which makes sense because all of the featured players have signed 3 picture deals. I personally like the sound of that.