SMASH.. My review of The Incrdible Hulk as we prepare for The Avengers
The Incredible Hulk.. a worthy addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but does it truly hit enough high marks to be a great movie? My review.. next.
Following up on the critically acclaimed and fan loved Iron Man, Marvel releases The Incredible Hulk, with Edward Norton as Bruce Banner and introducing CGI as the Hulk. Oh.. wait..
Let me first say that although an improvement on the bright green and vibrant purple mess that was HULK, i was constantly distracted by this version of the hulk. To me, Hulk has always been bulky, strong, and felt massive, but never was a ripped body builder posing off with Arnold in Pumping Iron. The CGI in TIH left me feeling more like he was the Hulk on steroids, rather than a very angry and very bulked up Bruce Banner. The CGI didn't ruin the movie for me, but it kept me distracted enough to notice that I wasn't the biggest fan of the work.
Moving past the CGI, I enjoyed the portrayal of Bruce Banner by Edward Norton, but left unconvinced that he was truly the right guy for the role. It was an ok performance, that was a strong enough element in a movie that was good, but never challenged to be great. One of the difficult aspects about trying to bring this story to life was that if Bruce is on the run, and trying to find a way to rid himself of Hulk, there is a lot of missed opportunity to have character defining dialogue. The coded email exchanges with Mr. Blue are fine, but to me there is never a moment where Bruce is truly able to get into his dilemma and express the fear and the pain that becoming the Hulk causes for him. I still feel empty regarding Bruce Banner and if I am truly going to care for and root for Hulk, i need to have that compassion and that sense of vulnerability for Bruce.
Every time I see TIH, i wonder if Tim Roth is as crazy in person as he so easily seems to portray in this movie. He does a superb job of playing a junkie that craves the ultimate power, though i'm not sure if they didn't miss out on really getting to the reasons for his personality and added a depth to the Blonsky that would give us a greater depth into why he becomes the Abomination. Rather than just a junkie with a need for power, Blonsky should have been the tortured warrior, whose life has led him to this point, and the only thing that could truly make him happy was a power to make all the deeds of his past go away.. to become the abomination for the sins that he had committed. That character would be the right way to show the good in Banner/Hulk as necessary to defeat the evil that lies in others such as Blonsky/Abomination.
I will only say a few things about General Ross and Betty. Just once, i would like to see a portrayal of the General where it allows the viewer to question and even potentially embrace a tiny amount of sympathy for the man. It's easy to hate a villian who is almost always a complete and total ass, but it is much more enjoyable to the fan and to the story when that villian has some complexity and depth. Show off his intelligence, his strategy tactic, rather than just the obsessed madman who will stop at nothing. I never felt that at any moment there was real danger to the Hulk when Ross was on the hunt, and to me that is because of the shallowness of his character.
Betty is Betty, Liv Tyler is MEH. I feel like she is one of any 50 actresses that could have done the same thing and I would feel the same way. She brought nothing extra to the movie.
I guess you would call this a fairly critical review of TIH, and I agree that I felt it missed the mark in a variety of ways. However, it was an entertaining movie that was Hulk leaps and a smash better than HULK. I am a fan of the movie and glad they took this approach in the MCU with it. It could have been a great movie with a bit more development and character realizations, but overall a good and entertaining movie that I will revisit many times over the years.
One final note.. I'm very curious to see what becomes of Mr. Blue as we continue on in the MCU over the years.
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