Review: ‘Incredible Hulk’ – Smash first, ask questions later

So I posted earlier this month that The Incredible Hulk could potentially suck. It had every reason to: crappy first movie, trailer that says too much, nobody really caring if there ever was another Hulk movie. I am pleased to report that the new film is not bad.

While not as fun as Iron Man, this new Hulk film is exponentially better than the first one. The plot is simplified, there’s less brooding angst, and things move along at a swift pace. The action sequences are fun and, unlike Ang Lee’s 2003 film, you actually care what happens to Bruce Banner/The Hulk. Who would have thought that dumbing down a franchise would actually make it better?

What’s it about? While it’s still not clear to me whether this film is a sequel or a remake, this time around Banner (Ed Norton) is laying low in Brazil, working as a janitor at a soda factory and trying to keep his anger under control. (For those of you unfamiliar with how the Hulk becomes the Hulk: if Banner’s heart rate increases to 200 beats per minute, he turns into the big green guy. How it happened? It doesn’t really matter.) He’s hiding from General Ross (William Hurt), who wants to bring Banner back to the US so he can do spooky military experiments on him. Banner’s cover is blown, he gets angry, turns into the Hulk, and the next thing he knows he’s panhandling in Mexico.

Returning to the US, Banner looks up his old flame (and the General’s daughter) Dr. Betty Ross (Liv Tyler, who’s just as believable playing a doctor as Denise Richards is playing a nuclear physicist in The World is Not Enough), who, while dating someone new, still hasn’t lost that lovin’ feeling for him. They finally meet, she helps him out, General Ross sends his soldiers headed by Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth), a jerkface who wants to be like the Hulk. Long story short, he does: as the Abomination, he terrorizes New York City and Banner, who never wants to be the Hulk, accepts his crazy powers and fights the Abomination in an impressive CG showdown.

What’s good about it? Less talk, more action. It’s definitely not boring. And while I’m not a fan of Ed Norton, he kept his performance low-key, as if realizing that those seeing a Hulk movie are not necessarily seeing it because he plays the non-CG “before” guy.

What’s bad about it? Like I mentioned earlier, it’s not as fun as Iron Man, and Robert Downey Jr.’s cameo as Tony Stark (his character in Iron Man) is way overhyped. It’s maybe a minute-and-a-half long.

Perfect for: Iron Man fans (who already know that Marvel is laying the groundwork for an Avengers movie in 2011), super hero enthusiasts who can’t wait for Hancock (July 2) or The Dark Knight (July 18).

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One Response to “Review: ‘Incredible Hulk’ – Smash first, ask questions later”

  1. patrick Says:

    this new Incredible Hulk is a lot more fun than the first one with Eric Bana; plus Ed Norton does his specialty — the “split personality” role…

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