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Movie Review: "The Incredible Hulk" (2008)

Updated on March 23, 2012

DISCLAIMER: This review may contain spoilers.

I don't know about you, my fellow readers, but if I were assigned to remake a movie that came out only five years prior, I'd feel pretty embarrassed, regardless of how big my paycheck would be. Seriously, how low can you go when it comes to a predicament like this? But it's not a full remake, like from the ground up, so I'll give it some credit for not boring us with the same origins story that we've already seen in Ang Lee's "Hulk" back in 2003.

"The Incredible Hulk" is more of a loose sequel to that film. It picks up after it. "The Incredible Hulk" does many things right this time around in terms of character, story, and tone. No longer do we have to sit through a 'Hulk' adaptation with a dreadful cartoonish tone and style. Bravo, well done.

However, I don't think they paid too much attention to Ang Lee's "Hulk" because they kinda sorta repeated some of that film's mistakes.

"The Incredible Hulk" picks up after "Hulk" with our titular character living a low-key life in a foreign country. But General Ross hasn't given up on his pursuit and his daughter Betty is still in love with Bruce. Soon enough, a clever clue leads Ross to find the location of Bruce Banner. To aide his mission, he enlists Emil Blonsky, a dedicated British Royal Marine to lead it.

And so the chase is on, leading all the way back to East 125th Street in New York City for a big computer animated spectacle that would make Pixar Studios proud.

Here We Go Again

We are in the most advanced age of special effects technology, which also means we are in the most laziest one as well. Yep. I guess they couldn't get someone like Christopher Nolan to save this project, could they?

I said it in my last review of "Hulk" and I'll say it again in this one... Big actor (i.e. Pat Roach) + FX makeup + Minimal CGI = Realistic version of the Hulk character. When Ed Norton transforms into the beast, they could simply use CGI to blend the two separate actors together. I guess they were either too lazy to do this or too stupid to not think of it.

The Hulk doesn't need to be twenty feet tall. Just look at Bane from "The Dark Knight Rises", he's not as big as he is in the comics but he is convincing enough.

It also doesn't help that the final climatic battle between the Hulk and Abomination in Harlem is filled with CGI. So much stuff is thrown left and right, up and across, I don't even remember anything significant from this fight, and that's saying a lot about your fight scene when there's nothing really memorable about it, you know? That it's just a bunch of colorful crap being thrown around.

"RoboCop 2" has one of the most memorable climatic fights in cinematic history. Who can forget when RoboCain crawled up the elevator shaft and collided with RoboCop, tossing both of them to the edge of the roof? Or how about that bit at the end when he sneaks behind RoboCain, jumps on him, and takes out his brain to smash it?

Music Composed by Eric Generic

Joe Schmoe... Eric Generic... Did you... get that joke?

HA... HA... HA...

Well that pretty much sums up the soundtrack for "The Incredible Hulk". I haven't actually checked the credits to see who did the music this time around, but I wouldn't be surprised if it were Eric Generic, he does soundtracks for a lot of bad mainstream flicks nowadays.

I mean Eric Generic is a change from Willy Kiddy, whom I believe did the soundtrack for Ang Lee's "Hulk", but neither is no better than the other.

The Abomination... of a Villain

So they decided to use one of the Hulk's most iconic villains in this movie, the Abomination. What tricks did they use to bring him to the big screen? Apparently, all they did was copy/paste the Hulk's CGI, add a few bony bits, and paint him over in a grayish color. Seriously, when these two guys are fighting, they look almost identical except one is green and the other isn't.

If James Cameron were to redo "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" and make Arnold's T-800 fight an identical T-800 model, it would be pretty stupid and boring to look at. Did the filmmakers of "The Incredible Hulk" ever look at a picture of the Abomination from the comics? Would it have hurt to spend a little more time making him look significantly more different than the Hulk?


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    • TCaro profile image

      Tony Caro 5 years ago

      Personally, I liked the 2nd Hulk film. Nice to see the Hulk back in The Avengers but it does not seem like there are plans for a new solo Hulk film. Hopefully, we will get to see the Green Goliath in a new venture some time in the future.

    • Bigpayno profile image

      Bigpayno 5 years ago from Indianapolis, Indiana

      Good Hub. This was MUCH better than the 03 version with Bana. As a huge super hero fan, I love these types of movies and am anxiously awaiting the Avengers movie this summer. I don't know how sold I am on the guy playing the Hulk in the Avengers, but I guess I'll have to watch and see. I think his personality will take a back seat to Downey Jr and Evans anyway. Great hub!

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 5 years ago

      Well to be fair, I think this movie resonates with most fans more than Ang Lee's version because they incorporated elements of the original TV show though.

      I get what your saying about how making the Hulk CGI isn't realistic, but we have to keep in mind that Marvel Studios (unlike most movie studios) tries to make their adaptations as relatively close to the source material as possible; with realism or plausibility be damned.

      Not saying that Marvel Studios hasn't taken liberties with their own characters in movies, but they usually tend to stick fairly close upon observation. Therefore, I wasn't really surprised they stuck with a CGI hulk. As for Abomination, I thought he was an interesting villain. The only thing I didn't like about the fight is that in some ways it rips off from "Iron Man" when you stop to think about it.

      In "Iron Man", Tony Stark had to fight an adversary with almost the exact same powers as he had, and the antagonist was portrayed as being possibly stronger in the "Iron Monger." Then a few months later, this movie comes out featuring Hulk fighting a villain again with the exact same powers he had, and possibly even stronger, in Abomination. So if you want to really list another flaw about this movie, it's that the premise at the end to have Hulk fight a villain with powers similar to his own, then it's obvious he ripped that off from "Iron Man"; which only came out a mere few months ago beforehand.

      I personally don't think this film is a bad movie per say, but I think it's definitely way over hyped if you want my honest opinion, as I don't see why any superhero movie fans would argue that this is allegedly one of the best superhero films out there; when it's clearly not. If anything, it's pretentiously boring, for many of the reasons you stated (with the exception of CGI Hulk). Plus, there's nothing in the movie itself that really makes it stand out from any other superhero film, to warrant anyone to say it's one of the best superhero films of all time.

      Of course, I will agree with most fans in that Edward Norton SHOULD'VE been given credit for rewriting the script, as I know according to various news articles that Edward Norton had to rewrite the script for them. Unfortunately, Marvel Studios not only refused to pay him more for doing that, but they didn't even bother giving him credit for it either; hence one of the other reasons why he departed from Marvel Studios.

      Of course, another issue is that I know Edward Norton was also fairly p***ed off on how they edited the film too, as Edward wanted it to end differently. Personally, I don't see why Marvel Studios couldn't have just came out with two versions of the same movie on DVD/Blue Ray. One being the original theatrical release, and the other being "The Incredible Hulk: Norton's Cut"; just to make him happy. Hell, it's not like Marvel Studios wouldn't make money off that, as I know a lot of hard core comic book fans have said openly that they would proudly buy "Norton's Cut" if Marvel Studios ever released that version of "The Incredible Hulk."

      Plus, look at Superman II. That movie has two versions out on DVD/Blue Ray. One being the original, and the other being "Donner's Cut", so it would work. Anyway, that's just my thoughts on the whole thing anyway. Keep up the good work as always.