Hal Jordan Revisits: The Incredible Hulk
In the second installment of my pre-Avengers revisits, I look back at the second film in the Avenger's lineup: The Incredible Hulk.
Following the success of Iron Man, the second movie in the Avengers lineup hit the theaters the same year and received pretty good reviews. The film was meant to be a mix of both a sequel and a remake to the 2003 abomination: Hulk. (No pun intended for the film itself was a joke.) It is similar to what the new G.I. Joe movie is going to be in terms of being a remake/sequel. The Incredible Hulk was another movie I was unable to see in theaters, but I did get it as a Christmas present and just like Iron Man I was very satisfied.
It had a lot to prove that year. Not only was Iron Man released that year, but The Dark Knight had also entered strong. It was definitely an underdog at the end of the year, but it still offered a lot of entertainment, which is great for a movie with such competition. However, almost 4 years later and with a slight disappointing record, does this movie hold up today? Is it better when looking back on it? Well, lets find out.
Story: Bruce Banner is on the run from the US military after a gamma radiation experiment that he tests on himself goes horribly wrong. The test turns Bruce into the jade giant we all know and love: Hulk. However, after almost killing Betty Ross and her father, Bruce escapes becoming a fugitive and has been trying to cure himself since. After he goes back to the US after being found in Brazil, he goes with Betty to meet his colleague Mr. Blue. However, the General once again tracks him down and a fight ensues on a college campus. This is the first time we actually get to see Emil Blonsky post super-soldier serum. After the Hulk gets away with Betty and Emil Blonsky heals, Bruce is tracked to the college where Mr. Blue is. Mr. Blue AKA Samuel Sterns conducts a test to create the antidote and cure Banner. Although the test is successful, the antidote is only a semi restraint and will only reverse the transformations once they happen. Once Bruce is taken captive, Blonsky forces Sterns to inject him with Banner’s blood, which turns him into The Abomination. Bruce then turns into Hulk and fight Blonsky. After Blonsky is defeated, Banner runs off from a helicopter and is later shown in the wilderness living in a log cabin. The movie ends with him finally learning how to control the power and Tony Stark telling Ross about a “team we are putting together.” The plot in general was great. Much like Iron Man, it had a mix of seriousness, romance, plot twists, and comedy that came together very well. All aspects worked not only separately, but they also blended well to create a wonderful story that would have audiences drowning in entertainment.
Director: TIH was Louis Leterrier’s fourth film that he directed. Before this he had directed both Transporter movies and Unleashed. Both film were met with positive reviews so he definitely had some experience and knew what he was doing. This was a chance for him to really show what he was made of when it came to the comic book genre. Well, he is made of success. The film was directed amazingly. Much like Iron Man, he was able to bring together a list of high quality actors, complex characters, and a good script and turn it into a great movie. In the end, he was the right man for this job and I would love him to come back for a sequel.
Writing: When compared to Iron Man, it was pretty good. Although there were parts that felt a little paced or needed a bit more explaining, it was good. I did like how Norton and Penn brought out the character’s personalities and kept the audience interested in most of them. A few characters, like Betty’s boyfriend, were somewhat uninteresting. This was also due to the lack of screen time, however, these characters weren’t boring either. In the end, the writing was good and I definitely like the effect it had on the film.
Acting: When comparing TIH to the rest of the line-up films, I think the acting is one of the advantages that this film has. Edward Norton was great as Hulk both mentally and physically. He was able to portray that tortured mind and “bullied” type of persona while also bringing forth that brave and serious side of Banner that really helps the audience connect with the character. I am not trying to bash Mark Ruffalo, but I was pretty sad that Norton is not in The Avengers. Tim Roth was also great as Emil Blonsky. Much like Jeff Bridges in Iron Man, he is able to juggle the character evolution from this serious, experienced soldier, to this power hungry drug addict. I thought it was cool to see his obsession with power turn him into a literal abomination. Live Tyler was also good as Betty Ross, although, she did sound like she was loudly whispering many lines. William Hurt was also great as General Ross, although, he also has a speech problem as he shouts during scenes that don’t need shouting. Overall, the actors were great.
Editing: The editing for the most part was really good. The only problem I had was in the scene where Betty is cutting Bruce’s hair. She then hugs him from behind and, literally in the next shot, they are both standing face to face. There was no transition to suggest that Bruce was starting to stand up. It was literally just one second he was sitting, the next he was standing. It was a minor mess up and it is proof that the movie made me pay attention well enough to notice something like that, but it still threw me off.
Action: The action was great! The action scenes reminded me much of Thor’s, but where Thor failed, TIH succeed. In Thor, the fight scenes went from amazing to good to acceptable. In TIH, they went from amazing to fantastic to epic. The CGI was also great when it came to the scenes and although there were times when I felt it was a little too animated, the scenes were still pretty good. My favorite fight scene had to have been the showdown between the Hulk and the Abomination. Everyone that was apart of this movie went all out for this scene. The acting, action, CGI, and conclusion were great and it is one of my favorite superhero movie fight scenes. I actually noticed that I liked the fight scenes better the second time around then I did when I first saw it and it showed once again that TIH has a lot to offer.
Overall: In the end, with great writers, actors, and director, The Incredible Hulk offers an intense thrill ride packed with action, romance, and a plot that will keep you interested throughout the movie. By itself, I would give it an 8.5. However, it’s ranking on the Avenger’s lineup, out of 5 movies, is 3rd place.
Well that’s all for now. The next revisit will be Iron Man 2. If you would like to check out my revisit on Iron Man, click HERE. Until next time, this is Hal Jordan signing off!
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