Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Marvel Media Mania: Incredible Hulk (2008)

The Incredible Hulk is a 2008 live-action theatrical release starring Ed Norton and Liv Tyler.
This is a very uneven film. The introduction during the opening credits brilliantly retells the origin story of the Hulk, relying very heavily on the familiar visuals from the television show (even the red "DANGER" button). The film is full of little nods to the old TV show, including "David B." written on an envelope Banner picks up (David was his name in the TV show but not the movie) and Banner's eyes turning green to signal an upcoming Hulk out. Both Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno make cameo appearances. Lou is a security guard and some old footage of Bixby from the show The Courtship of Eddie's Father gets shown as well.
Quite a few of the best features of the film were gleaned directly from actual storylines in the comics. The fact that Banner is training in Yoga and meditating to control the Hulk is one such example. I liked the "Days without incident" counter and the beeping heart rate watch was a nice tension building device. The visuals for cave sequence was almost directly taken from Hulk: Grey. And who could forgot Stan Lee's own one-word cameo death scene?

The entire opening sequence in Brazil is brilliant as far as I'm concerned. "You wouldn't like me when I'm... hungry," is a clever, funny twist on the familiar.

They really built up the big reveal of the Hulk, shrouding him in mist and darkness during the whole first battle sequence. I'd say he looks okay but not great. I didn't get why the Hulk sometimes used wreckage to fight with... it seemed oddly out of character. He certainly didn't say much - most of his lines are three words or less, building up to the classic, "Hulk smash!"

I liked the updated origin on The Abomination. Emil Blonsky's slow metamorphosis at the hands of General Ross is more believable than a sudden transformation because of a gamma bomb. The fully transformed Abomination wasn't really a great design but I did like the elbow spikes. I hope that there's eventually some future payoff on the tease with Sterns and The Leader (Avengers movie maybe?).

Ultimately, the second half of the movie disappointed me as it simply got reduced to a Godzilla monster-on-monster fight. For what it was, I didn't think it was bad but it just seemed to be a blunt end on a razor sharp sword.

All in all, this was a strong entry into the Hulk catalogue that showed it really respected the source material.

1LR Review - 17 out of 20 - It's a Solid Hit!

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