Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Incredible...err...Tolerable Hulk

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The Incredible Hulk

His strength may be “incredible” but, lately, when it comes to the Hulk inconsistent seems be the word of choice. Five years ago Ang Lee’s meditative monster movie bored audiences to tears. Though the style was there, everything else from the effects to the acting was awful. Not only did the original “Hulk” potentially hurt, the then pending, film franchise; but it also did not help to bring new fans to the comics. Recently The Hulk has made some huge strides (in the comics at least) to renew fans faith with both the spectacular “Planet Hulk” and, to a lesser extend, “World War Hulk” series. Sadly, even this momentum in the comics has hit a wall with the current Hulk series (a.k.a. Red Hulk). Seriously, Greg Pak needs to get back to working on the Hulk books. Look at the great stuff he is doing with the Incredible Hercules storyline…but I digress. This slippery slope the Hulk has been riding over the last few years seems to be on the upswing again with the latest Marvel film, “The Incredible Hulk.” This version on the Hulk improves greatly on every single misstep in Ang Lee’s film. Edward Norton is far more believable as Dr. Bruce Banner than Eric Bana. The triangle between Banner, Betty (Liv Tyler) and General Ross (the always reliable William Hurt) is truer to the comics. The CG work in this film is fantastic, Hulk looks as good as he will probably ever be on the big screen. Yet probably the biggest improvement is that they actually gave the Hulk a decent villain to face (Tim Roth’s Abomination). Instead of having him evade the army for hours as he did in the first one. Plus the less said about Nick Nolte the better. Unlike Lee’s story driven film, which suffered from too much story, this movie is pretty much all action.

Although this movie is everything that one would expect from a Hulk movie; I still could not help but feel a little under whelmed by the whole thing. There are two reasons for this. The first is that Ang Lee version sucked away all the joy of seeing Hulk on the big screen. If, say, this was the very first Hulk movie I ever saw chances are I would have be going nuts for the film. Alas, I could not going into the film without think “boy, this better not suck again.” The second, and most damaging reason is that Iron Man still remains the most entertaining blockbuster of the summer. While a good movie in its own right, “The Incredible Hulk” only reinforces how well done Iron Man really is. Marvel may want to think more carefully on how close they release their products in the future. There is a certain level of humor and, a sense of wonder, that Tony Stark and crew had that is missing from this Hulk film. Besides one seeing were Banner’s mistakes the word ”hungry” for “angry” in Portuguese, all the jokes in this film fall flat. Yes it is suppose to be a monster movie, but even flicks like “Cloverfield” found ways to incorporate witty dialogue. Another thing that left me feeling kind bland, when I should have been jazzed, was Tim Blake Nelson as Samuel Sterns. On the one hand, I loved that they set up Sterns transition in the Hulk’s arch-villain “The Leader.” Yet on the other, I really was not feeling Nelson’s over-the-top performance. Tim Blake Nelson is a great actor, so hopefully he will tone it down a notch in the sequels. Despite the film’s imperfections, I did enjoy the “Incredible Hulk” movie quiet a bit. It is just a tough act to follow after Iron Man has set the bar so high.





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1 comment:

  1. this new hulk is a lot more fun than the first one with Eric Bana; as usual Ed Norton has gravitated to a "split personality" role...

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