One of the most under appreciated superhero films of our times
Ang Lee brings his unique take on "The Incredible Hulk" to the big screen. The movie is based off the popular Marvel Comic book, about a man that's turned into a monster after being hit with gamma radiation. In the movie, Bruce Banner (Eric Bana) is exposed to chemicals his father put in him as a kid and triggered by a gamma ray accident which inevitably cause him to turn into the Hulk whenever he gets mad. However, the military tries to capture the Hulk, but they prove unsuccessful while Bruce tries to maintain his relationship with his girl friend, Betty Ross (Jennifer Connelly) even though her father is the one chasing him. Many fans of the TV show, might not like this film because of the computer animated Hulk, but what they fail to realize is that series was not faithful to the comic book like this one. Don't get me wrong. This film isn't entirely accurate either, but it's more faithful to the series than the TV show ever was. In the comic books, if Hulk got really pissed, then he would grow into a freakin giant. Instead, Lou Ferigno could barely lift up a car in the TV show, where the comic book, had the Hulk throwing tanks. Anyway, I'm not here to pick on the old TV show, but I just wanted to vent out an opinion. As for the film itself, its' major flaw is that it tends not only be over redundant but it also tends to be overly dramatic at times. Ang Lee's concept for the Hulk was unique and good thus separating itself from most super hero flicks, but it seemed like it was bit too overly dramatized. The computer effects for this one was better than I expected. With exception to a few scenes where the viewer can see that the computer Hulk is fake when he's jumping through the desert, most of the time the character seemed very well detailed. Plus, the split screen was a nice touch. Ang Lee's Hulk is extremely unique, but it turns into a depressing overly complex story. No, wonder fans would've prefered the typical, "Hulk, smash!" approach. However, despite its' flaws, "The Hulk" serves as a solid action film.
The love story between Bruce and Betty was solid at the beggining. Eric and Jennifer had some great chemistry in the few scenes they were together. However, it quickly becomes an afterthought as soon as the story shifts to explain Bruce's past. However, in the few scenes they are together, their performances allow the audience to sympasize with the characters. Even after Banner turns into the Hulk, he saves Betty's life and picks her up, which remiscence Betty's dream about Bruce picking her up as a child and then strangling her. These two scenes symbolized how Betty feels about Bruce. Where she cares about him, but fears him because of his beastly alter ego.
Like the comic book series, Bruce comes from an abusive father which later causes him to develop some repressed anger issues when he becomes the Hulk. Not a bad idea, but it takes it too far. I understand Lee wanted to do a artistic style of how we all feel inside when we're angry. Unfortunately, it gets lost as the film keeps repeating that throughout the entire movie, so quite frankly it becomes boring around the end.
The rivalaries between the protagonist, Bruce, and the two antogonists, Gen. Thaddeus Ross, and David Banner/Absorbtion Man (Nick Nolte) were great. In the film, since Bruce was younger, he's been a guy abused by authority figures which vents out as he turns into the Hulk. In one scene, where Thaddeus Ross threatens Banner, it allows the audience to feel the intensity of the situation. In another scene, when Talbot picks on Banner in his house, the viewer is able to see how Bruce's passive nature allows people to walk over him. However, when he turns into the Hulk, it turns into one action packed thrill ride.
The computer effects were great. Perhaps one of the most visually stunning films ever made.
However, the main bright spot for this film is Ang Lee. Even though he over dramatizes the film. It's rather obvious he was trying to make a great super heroe film that was truly unique about the human nature. Its' theme may not be as clear as X-Men, which embodies racism, Superman, as a savior, or even Spider-Man, an average everyman, but it manages to distinguish itself successfully. Creating a solid theme about our hidden anger issues we all have.
Ang uses a unique approach to the character. Displaying an impressive array of special effects. Eric Bana and Connelly weren't bad either. Despite being too much like a soap opera at times, this film should keep any comic book fan entertained.