Monday, March 5, 2012

Marvel Media Mania: Hulk

The Hulk is the first theatrical release for the character from 2003. It was (infamously) directed by Ang Lee and starred Eric Bana as Bruce Banner.
How do you mess up a movie about a eight foot green giant who goes around destroying everything? By turning into a psychological dream sequence. That's what Ang Lee did to the Hulk.

First, the "reimaginging" of the origin somehow turned Bruce into a mutant! And, wait... nanomeds are inside the Hulk? Huh? The characters' backstories were far too complex and way too much time passed before you actually see the Hulk. When he does show up, it's mostly in extreme close-ups and shadow. 

Frankly, this film is BORING. In trying to be subtle, mysterious, and nuanced, it instead falls into a muddled mess. The movie never escapes the trap of dreams, symbolism, and flashbacks. At one point, the Hulk just sits and looks at mold on a rock. I don't get it. The music acts as a lullaby and I actually have a hard time staying awake during this film.

Ang Lee tried to do some interesting visual things with split screens but it seems wasted when all you're showing on the different screens are different angles of the same thing. Transitions were designed to increase the dream motif but they become a distraction instead.

The film's main villains, Glenn Talbot, General Ross, and Bruce Banner's father all fall short of stellar. Each has the piece of a great villain but they don't work together. Ross has the brains and the heart to take down the Hulk but lacks the muscle to do it since the Hulk shreds the army in an instant. Talbot has the singular focus but he walks around most of the film in a leg cast, neck brace, and with his arm in a sling. Some threat to the Hulk! Finally, David Banner and his gamma dogs (really) are laughable. David only becomes the Absorbing Man late into the film and he never really poses a threat to the Hulk. The only question is how the Hulk will defeat someone who can turn himself into water.

It's a bad sign when you sit there wondering, "When will this film be over?" right? I'll give Ang Lee an "A" for being bold enough to try something different but it just simply fails to deliver on every level.

1LR Review - 7 out of 20 - It's a Failure!

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