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The Incredible Hulk

After the apparent disaster that was Ang Lee’s take on the Hulk (personally, I quite liked it) Marvel must have thought there was more mileage in the character, so here we have The Incredible Hulk.

And they’ve raised the bar with this one. For a start, their intentions are made clear by casting Ed Norton as Dr Bruce Banner and William Hurt as the General. All in, this is an excellent cast.

This version of the Hulk is almost two distinct movies in one. And it pays homage to both the TV Series and the comic books – and does it well. This is a fans movie and it’s how these things should be adapted.

The first half of the movie is like the TV series. We have Bruce Banner, on the run from the military and from himself. He’s seeking a cure to the radiation poisoning while trying to keep a low profile – and above all, not get angry. In fact – due to his dodgy language skills – he proclaims “Don’t make me hungry – you won’t like me when I’m hungry!” to some bullying tormentors early on 🙂 Classic Hulk line!

These are reminiscent of the best parts of the original TV series. The sense of loss and pain experienced by Banner, and the general feeling of pathos. We even hear a snippet of the excellent TV theme tune. And later on, see Lou Feringo in a small bit part as a security guard, looking as physical as ever.

Banner is of course soon found by the General, and then we move to the middle part of the movie – a chase sequence where he contacts his girlfriend, ably played by Liv Tyler, and he seeks his mysterious “Dr Blue” who promises a cure.

The Hulk sequences themselves in these first parts are handled well. There are mere hints of his power, before we see the whole thing. The graphics have noticably improved since Ang Lee’s – the animation really stands out, especially in fast action scenes.

All this comes to a head during the last half hour of the movie. Tim Roth, playing Blonsky, a psycopathic soldier, gets his own taste of power. He’s a genuinely slimy, creepy character – another stand out casting choice. And when he eventually forces the doctor to experiment on him you’ll see his own transformation into the Abomination – that’s truly something to see.

This last half hour is a tour de force of Hulk vs Abomination. It’s like an updated version of classic monster movies such as Godzilla vs Whoever, or even the more recent Cloverfield. The short first-person sequence as the soldiers track the Abomination increases the tension until the actual fight.

And what a fight! This is where the comic book really comes to life. Hulk uses cars as boxing gloves, flings his way up buildings, throws punches like there’s no tomorrow. You can feel every hit. He even says “Hulk… Smash!” 😀

This was a very enjoyable movie that strikes the right balance between seriousness and all out comic book excess. It ticks the right boxes in the acting and special effects boxes.

There’s a fair bit of product placement – I even spotted Norton 360 booting up on a Dell computer lol. And, of course, Stan Lee get’s his cameo.

And the very end? Wow – what a geek moment. Robert Downey Jr pops up as Stark to meet the General… I guess this has been debated in the forums. I’d love to see a Marvel mash-up of sorts, where all their characters band together, as long as they keep their superstar actors in their roles.

Marvel have proved they made a good choice by taking direct control of their franchises. While the Hulk doesn’t reach the heights of Iron Man or perhaps the Dark Knight, it certainly makes the grade. It currentl has a IMDB rating of 7.5 and I would give it:

Rating: 8 / 10

IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes | Official Site