The Incredible Hulk

| June 13, 2008

Anyone read the newspaper headlines lately? “The Incredible Hulk on par with Iron Man!” I beg to differ–it doesn’t even come close. While it has its popcorn moments, it’s a far cry from the top dogs of Iron Man and Batman Begins for this sequel/remake/re-imagining/what the fuck is it?
I’m just going to come right out and say it. The nicest compliment I can give the flick is this: it’s way better than Ang Lee’s version. But isn’t that by default? I wouldn’t hesitate to put the 2003 Hulk into the top ten worst movies I’ve ever seen. And no, I’m not overreacting. Even shit like The Punisher (starring Dolph Lundgren) is better than that, so what does that say about The Incredible Hulk? Well, it’s not a very good movie. It’s not a bad movie, either, but it’s subpar at best.
First off, I don’t understand Edward Norton. He signs on to this movie claiming that he’s a huge fan of the Hulk character. Then, he turns in the blandest performance known to man?! Where’s the emotion, buddy? He’s a great actor, and I’ve enjoyed most of his previous work, but he brought nothing to the table as Bruce Banner. Matter of fact, he came close to ruining it by turning Banner into a huge a pussy. This guy just mopes around all day, sad and depressed. I get the fact that he lost everyone he loved and was basically exiled from his home, but does he have to be a steaming pile of vagina? I hate to say it, but Eric Bana was better (despite my hatred for the original, I dug him as the jolly green giant). And then, after shooting the movie, Norton walks away from post-production over creative differences. Who does that? I mean, he showed up and shot the damn thing, so he obviously knew what he was getting into. This reminds me of a similar incident a few years ago, when Wesley Snipes started shit with the same studio over being overshadowed in Blade Trinity by younger actors. But, you read the script, signed a contract, shot the fucking thing and collected your paycheck, right?
Secondly, most of the cast was just wretched. What genius decided to put Tim Roth in this movie? Frankly, I thought he was dead. And it also annoyed me that he had his shirt off in 90% of his scenes. Put your fucking shirt back on, dude. You’re almost 50, and that’s gross. And I never once bought Roth or William Hurt as soldiers, not for a second. I try not to be picky about this sort of thing, but their tactics were terrible and they couldn’t even walk right or stand up straight (you know, like real soldiers do?). Speaking of Hurt, he’s certainly giving Jeff Bridges a run for his money for the “blandest actor of our time” title. And the scientist who experiments on Banner toward the end gets my vote for most annoying actor of the century. I prayed and prayed he would get shot in the head violently, but alas, he survived. And even worse, he may have been transformed into a future villain. If there is a God in heaven, they won’t bring this guy back. It’s not even worth mentioning his real name in this article. Fuck that guy!
There were plenty of other things that bothered me, too, like cutting out all the cool lines and shots that were in the trailer. That’s right, kids. The trailer is filled with scenes of witty dialogue that do not appear in the actual flick, which makes little sense when the final product ends up being worse after these scenes are cut. Don’t you just hate that? Speaking of false advertising, the director stated in interviews earlier this week that Captain America might be making an appearance. Totally false. You shouldn’t tease nerds like that, asshole. And sure, Tony Stark popped up for a second, which is cool, I guess. However, he popped up to tease nerds yet again by hinting at an Avengers movie (some of you may have caught the Easter egg with Samuel L. Jackson after the credits of Iron Man). This frustrates me, because I still believe an Avengers movie is never going to happen (or a good one, at least). There’s just too much riding on it. This new Hulk movie would have to be successful, as well do the upcoming Captain America, Nick Fury, Iron Man 2 and Thor. Then, whoever gets cast in all these roles would have to be offered a ton of money to star together. Shit, you think Ed Norton is coming back after walking away from the studio over this flick? Don’t count on it. And even after all this, an Avengers movie would be enormous in scope, which takes the budget up even higher. I just don’t see all of this falling into place. Yes, I know Marvel has announced plans for all these films and to top it all off with an Avengers movie (in 2011), but just because these projects have been greenlit sure as hell doesn’t mean they will all come to fruition. And I promise I’ve had sex before. With a girl. And not through a computer.
Anyhoo, back to the flick. The worst thing the movie has going for it is the director, Louis Leterrier (Unleashed, Transporter 2). This guy has no idea what the hell he’s doing. The scenes were poorly lit, the action scenes lacked any sort of creativity and the actors’ performances were all over the place. If it weren’t for the star power, this movie would’ve been a pure disaster at the box office and this dude would never work again. This goes the same for screenwriter Zak Penn, who continues to butcher comic book movies with fucking dreadful dialogue. Seriously, somebody ban this dude from the Marvel universe. He already ruined Fantastic Four, Elektra and X3. And yes, of course he’s writing the upcoming Captain America. Goodie! I never knew a person could write dialogue so bad that even Robert Downey, Jr., couldn’t deliver it well (in his quick cameo).
I know I’ve been dumping on the movie a lot, but there were a few things I enjoyed. Liv Tyler is just adorable, and she was the only cast member who did a great job. She plays the concerned girlfriend role well, much better than Kirsten Dunst and Gwyneth Paltrow. The CGI effects were also a huge improvement over the original. The look and feel of the Hulk was dead-on, and I was truly impressed with the special effects on all levels. Too bad a good portion of them were ruined by shitty lighting and poor camera techniques. I also enjoyed the finale showdown between the Hulk and Abomination, which is truly a sight to behold. Now that’s some damn good entertainment! If only the rest of the movie could’ve sustained that level of excitement…
It’s hard to recommend this movie, as I was let down by it. However, people should probably see it on the big screen to get the full package of the effects (kudos to the sound guys, too). Again, its not a bad movie. But don’t expect it to be anything memorable as far as comic book movies go. Only one month until The Dark Knight. Almost there.
Grade: C

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