The Incredible Hulk (2008)
He’s big, he’s green, and he’s mad as hell. The “ever lovin” Hulk is back in The Incredible Hulk and this time he’s packing some serious punch.
Right away, this film establishes a deeper and more intense atmosphere than the other Marvel films. The desperate and isolated lifestyle of Bruce Banner is really emphasised creating a narrative closely connected to the perspective of the character. This more personal connection creates a healthy serving of empathy for Banner. And although it is enjoyable to see the Hulk in action, after each transformation, there is a deep sense of sympathy towards Banner. While not as psychologically deep as Ang Lee’s Hulk, what works for Incredible Hulk is its balance of action and story by putting focus on the turmoil inside the main character.
If it’s the perspective of Bruce Banner that makes this movie work, then it’s Edward Norton that makes Banner work so well. Yet another great actor leading the charge in a comic book movie, Norton clearly gave great attention to the character. He creates a determined yet desperate character that is easily connected with. The chemistry between Norton and Liv Tyler as Betty Ross feels exactly like it should. Liv, as per usual when she’s doing her nerdy thing, comes of as genuine and just cute. The two of them really seem like two big science nerds in love. Another guy with the nerd thing down is Tim Blake Nelson as Dr. Sam Sterns. Nelson almost steals the show in his few scenes with the energy he has behind his performance. Tim Roth is well established as a good actor but, unfortunately, doesn’t really pull off the soldier thing. For some reason, Roth as a soldier just does not come across as believable to me. And, I’m sorry, but Ty Burrell just looks like a tool.
Being that it is the title character, it’s evident that great pains were taken to improve on the look and believability of the Hulk. The character model for the Hulk is nicely rendered and animated this time around and certainly looks more plausible than that unnaturally green one from the other flick. I will give them the fact that they were trying to stay true to the original color of Hulk, but the toned down hue is definitely more attractive on screen. But even with changing the color, this film does play homage to the Hulk’s legacy in some other interesting ways. The pacing of the films feels great which helps the film feel short and sweet. Nothing feels over drawn but the movie also doesn’t feel too rushed and too short either. However some of the dialogue, especially toward the end, just doesn’t flow with the rest of the story. There are a few lines that feel as if they were jammed in because things just needed to be explained and that was the only place they could go.