The Incredible Hulk
"The Incredible Hulk" smashes it's way back in fan's good graces, but it falls short on story content. For the record here, Ang Lee's "Hulk" was not anywhere near as bad as fans skepticism was, nor is "The Incredible Hulk" anywhere close to being as great as people obviously think it is. Although many fans claim that this film stays a lot more faithful to the source material, the reality is both of the films do. The only difference here, is that Ang Lee's version was more heavily focused on the child hood past of Bruce's abusive father. Where as this new version tends to focus more on action sequences, references to incorporate elements from the tv show, starring Lou Feririgno and Bill Bixby along with comic book references, and special effects. Heck, the story was even ripped off from "Iron Man" as it had Hulk battle a antagonist that had the exact same powers as himself; possibly even stronger. Then of course the antagonist, Abomination/Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth), who's part of a government ploy for usage in military purposes; that only our hero can stop. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to say that this film inevitably sucks, but it falls short on story content in favor of action sequences.
The film is essentially a quasi-sequel to Ang Lee's "Hulk", although the folks at Marvel didn't say that. In fact, Louis Leterrier, the director, was quoted as saying it wasn't a sequel at all. Which is kind of funny since the film starts off with Bruce Banner (Edward Norton), hiding out in South America, from the U.S. Government. Which is conveniently where Banner was left off at the ending of the previous "Hulk" movie. However, I guess that's just a remarkable coincidence, right? Anyway, the film essentially starts off as mild mannered Bruce still struggling to find a cure for his condition, while hiding out in the planes of South America. As luck would have it, the military learns of his location as they're prepared to hunt him down by any means necessary. Add in ambitious soldier, Emil Blonsky, whom wants to be more like the Hulk, as his perception of the creature is that of a god. Hence, lets just say he was very open to government experimentation, as this leads to one action packed climax later on for our hero to confront. Add to the fact, that this situation continues to complicate his relationship with Betty Ross (Liv Tyler), whom plays the love interest in Bruce's life. They both want to be together, but can't due to his curse.
I will admit the action sequences and CGI for this movie was substantially better this time around as the Hulk not only looked far more realistic, the fight scenes were clear enough where it didn't look shoddy when they had the computer animated characters fighting each other.
Edward Norton pretty much carried this film for me, as he's always been a great actor. Bringing a strong sense of conviction and style to any role that he normally does. Plus, it was a crying shame he never got the full recognition he deserved as he not only starred in this, but he also helped write it. Sadly, he was never credited for it. Plus, the character development around Bruce Banner seemed well executed, as they even captured the heart of the cursed loner theme, the tv show was able to convey so well, despite it's flaws.
As I've said before, the "Incredible Hulk" is a fairly decent film for what it is, but I wouldn't call it the best super hero film out there, nor would I say it's the best interpretation of the character itself. Sure, the action elements and CGI were leaps and bounds better than Ang Lee's "Hulk", but the story felt overly cliched and generic. Even worse, unoriginal as it literally ripped off too many elements from "Iron Man." However, even though it's not as great as the hype, the movie does manage stay a lot more faithful to the comic book source. Sadly, it just fell short on execution.
"Incredible Hulk" is definitely a great action movie for fans that have yearned to see Hulk kick butt for years on the big screen. Although the story suffers a lot from cliches and unoriginality, but it does manage to stay a lot closer to the source material and Edward Norton plays an outstanding role, as Bruce Banner. Overall, it's good for a rental, as long as you don't expect too much out of it.
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