The Incredible Hulk
I didn’t bother watching the 2004 Ang Lee directed Hulk – it just looked a tad too ridiculous. So I wasn’t sure what to expect from Louis Leterrier’s re-envisioning. Was it going to be a sequel pure and simple, or was it going to be an entirely new beast? According to a mate I took along, it essentially starts off where Hulk finished, but that’s where the similarities end. The movie starts with Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) living a quiet un-assuming life in South America, hiding from the life he once knew, and from a man who wants to harness his power, General Thunderbolt Ross. Being a fugitive in hiding also prevents Banner from contacting the love of his life, Betty Ross (Liv Tyler) but gives him the impetus to try and find a cure for his inner demons.
Unfortunately, living the quite life isn’t an option for Banner, as Thunderbolt soon tracks him down and we’re introduced to the new look Hulk. The transformation from skinny Edward Norton to CGI beast is impressive, and the special effects are, for the most part, amazing. Add in the essential little moments of humour and a massive amount of action and The Incredible Hulk is on target to be the biggest action flick of the year.
The pacing is text-book perfect with a great mix of action and character building scenes to keep the pacing going without wearing out the viewer. The momentum is always on the increase leading up to the battle royal between The Abomination and Hulk. When it slips into high gear the Hulk will have you on the edge of you seat in an instant mesmerised by the impressively choreographed fight scenes.
Of course any movie needs more that just great action, and where The Incredible Hulk gets it’s greatest strength is the overriding theme of Banner battling with his inner demon, searching for ways to control it whilst holding out hope for a cure. He’s not consumed by vengeance, rather for a desire to be able to lead a normal life again.
[Possible Spoilers ahead]
A nice touch that Marvel seem to be doing with their movies at the moment is tying them together, with Iron Man reportedly having a nod to Captian America and having Nick Fury come on after the credits and mentioning the Avengers Initiative, whilst The Incredible Hulk has Tony Stark appearing to promote the very same. It lends an air of credibility to the Marvel Universe.
One thing the Hulk is not short of either is the possibilities for more Hulk sequels, but not having a knowledge of the Marvel universe I don’t know if there is a mad scientist character with an over developed brain, or if the Abomination gets another go a Hulk.
Food for thought:
Anger, lashing out at people is the easy reaction when things don’t go your way. Digging deep into the issues and looking for solutions will always take more time and energy, but in the long run produce better results.
Louis Leterrier had been interested in directing Iron Man, but when Jon Favreau took that project Avi Arad offered him a sequel to Hulk. In an attempt to depict their comic book films in the same universe, Marvel Studios gave Robert Downey Jr. a cameo as Tony Stark in this film.
Edward Norton, who had previously rewritten films he starred in, wrote a draft of the script which Louis Leterrier and Marvel Studios found satisfactory in establishing the film as both a sequel and a retcon of Hulk. As Norton explained, “I don’t think that in great literature/films explaining the story’s roots means it comes in the beginning. Audiences know the story, so we’re dealing with it artfully.” Norton’s rewrite added the character of Doc Samson and mentioned references to other Marvel Comics characters. He also wanted to put in “revelations about what set the whole thing in motion” that would be explained in future installments.
General Ross mentions that the serum Blonsky uses to become the Abomination was created during World War II. This is a reference to Marvel Comics’ next film, The First Avenger: Captain America (2011), who was created with the use of a special serum (very likely the same serum Ross mentions). Additionally, the person who takes the serum must be treated with a unique form of radiation; any accidents or deviations from the procedure can cause horrific side effects to occur… as befalls Blonsky.
Lou Ferrigno, the Original TV Hulk has a cameo as a campus security guard.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read.
Rating: M – Contains Violence.
Duration: 110 mins.
Genre: Action, Thriller.
Director: Jimmy Hayward & Steve Martino.
Actors: Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, Tim Blake Nelson, Ty Burrell, William Hurt.
Release Date: Out now.