Theatrical Review: The Incredible Hulk

Scientist Bruce Banner found his cellular structure changed from exposure to Gamma radiation to a point that when he finds himself pushed to a certain anger or excitement becomes the rampaging monster known as the Hulk. Now on the run in South America, his trail is discovered again by the U.S. military, led by General “Thunderbolt” Ross and in his employ is a soldier by the name of Emil Blonsky who thinks that in order to catch the Hulk, it must be on equal ground. Caught in the middle of this is Ross’ daughter Betty who’s in love with Bruce Banner, and when they’re able to meet again, Betty tries to help Bruce get his cure, all while on the run and with Banner trying to keep himself under control.

The Incredible Hulk is the second major movie from Marvel Studios right on the heels of Iron Man, and it’s also a major re-do from the film that Ang Lee made a few years ago. Now I really like Ang Lee’s movie, but even with that, this is the Hulk film that I think more wanted to see.

Director Louis Letterier has delivered an extremely intense film here, in my opinion, maybe the most intense Marvel super-hero movie yet- loaded with some really cool big-ass action and some really great performances, this one’s right up there with Iron Man and in some ways, in my opinion, even surpasses it.

For a Hulk or Marvel fan, this is loaded with references from the comics, the Marvel Universe and the TV show. It delivers one of the major Hulk villains with Emil Blonsky’s transformation into The Abomination, and it even sets up another one of the Hulk’s major enemies in the process. and it does it all while keeping you involved with some really good performances.

Edward Norton plays Bruce Banner, and again, as much as I liked Eric Bana in the first film, this part was tailor-made for Norton. He’s got great subtleties here, and good intensity when it’s called for. William Hurt plays General Ross, and again as much as I like Sam Elliot in the first film, Hurt does just as good a job. Tim Roth is Emil Blonsky and is certainly up for this, really delivering some real vigor to it. And Liv Tyler plays Betty Ross, and she looks fantastic, is loaded with sincerity and has a quality to her that really brings out good chemistry with Norton (and just about any leading man she works with, I thought she did the same thing with Scott Speedman in The Strangers and I wouldn’t be surprised if just about every leading man who plays opposite of her falls in love with her even just a little bit).

To me anyway, this is how you do it, the origin of the Hulk is set-up in the opening credits and right after that we’re flung into it, with naturalistic character motivations and situations and some extremely exciting action sequences. This is just a helluva lot of fun and in my opinion, one of the best movies of the year… highly, highly recommended, do not miss this…

About Darren Goodhart

Darren Goodhart is a 44-year old St. Louis-based Graphic Designer and Illustrator (and former comic book artist) who's been seeing movies all his life, but on an almost weekly basis in theatres for the last 20 years and owns nearly 1,000 DVDs for his home theatre. He's learned a lot about film over the 20 year period, and has taken his appreciation beyond the mainstream. His favorite types of film are mostly genre entertainment, but he also enjoys a wide range of drama, action and cult-y stuff from around the world, and is currently re-discovering a love affair with lower budget exploitation and genre films from the 70s and early 80s. He doesn't try to just dismiss any film, but if there's a bias against one, he'll certainly tell you that in the space of his reviews.

15. June 2008 by Darren Goodhart
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