Howdy ladies and gentlemen and welcome to Day #19 of my Month of Superhero Film Reviews! During this month I’ll be reviewing of some of the best and worst comic book adapted films. Okay now that we’ve talked about the filth that is Hulk, now we get to talk about the much better Hulk film that came out in 2008, The Incredible Hulk.
Alrighty then, time to talk about a much better Hulk film. I remember seeing this film in 2008 and thought it was okay, better than Ang Lee’s one but not anything to talk about when compared to Iron Man a month prior. In the years since the film’s release I’ve watched this film and it hasn’t really gotten any better. so here we are in 2013 watching it again for the sake of my superhero film reviews, so let’s dive in once again!
In this film the plot involves Bruce Banner as he becomes the Hulk as an unwitting pawn in a military scheme to reinvigorate the super soldier program through gamma radiation. On the run, he attempts to cure himself of the Hulk before he is captured by General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross, but his worst fears are realized when power-hungry soldier Emil Blonsky becomes a similar but more bestial creature. And lastly there’s Betty Ross, Banner’s love interest and General Ross’ daughter who gets stuck in the middle of all this chaos.
The story was pretty decent for the most part. I was glad that this film decided to created a new story rather than connect itself to the previous film. I liked how this story was pretty straightforward and not overly layered and full of pointless plot lines (like the 2003 film). There were also a lot of references to the 1970’s TV show that I worked well and was interconnected with the comics too. The pacing in the film is a bit questionable going from swift to very slow at points especially when it came to the love scenes, and speaking of those scenes… I have to say I wasn’t too keen on the relationship between Bruce and Betty, I didn’t believe the connection between them and felt like the dialogue could have been better to develop them.
Now let’s talk about the cast starting with Edward Norton as Bruce Banner/Hulk. Ed Norton was a great choice for Banner, Norton looks the part and was definitely better portraying the character’s issues with his inner demons and longing for Betty Ross. Norton also seemed smarter and much more active than Eric Bana’s interpretation. And also I loved how Lou Ferrigno returned to voice Hulk in this film, he has a great voice for the character and I liked his contribution to this film. Then there’s Liv Tyler as Betty Ross. Firstly I have to say that I am a massive admirer of Liv Tyler, she is gorgeous and so pretty, so having her as Betty Ross was an automatic win. Tyler was pretty good as Betty and that’s all I have to say on the matter.
Now let’s talk about Tim Roth as Emil Blonsky/Abomination. Roth is a good actor and while he did a decent job in this film, I wasn’t keen on how arrogant and power-hungry he was. I also didn’t like the treatment of Blonsky’s character, he was very plain and generic and I hated how he got powers before actually becoming the Abomination, it felt illogical. And there’s William Hurt as General “Thunderbolt” Ross, Sam Elliot was pretty good in the last film, though Hurt was about on the same level as Elliot, but I preferred the look of Hurt in this film. Tim Blake Nelson also played the scientist Samuel Sterns, he was kind of annoying and overly excited about Bruce and his powers and I felt like it was a waste of a good comic book character. And the cameo from Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark at the end of the film was greatly appreciated.
Now let’s talk about the presentation. Visually this film is pretty good and creates a much darker and moodier atmosphere with its use of colour, lighting and more horror-based references. The action scenes and sequences in this film, while not as over-the-top as Hulk, are much more impressive sporting a lot better CGI, camera angles and realism. I also want to highlight the fact that this Hulk looks WAY BETTER in this film than he did before. 2003’s Hulk was a fat blob who was in no way scary or intimidating, in this film Hulk is beastly, he’s ripped, all muscle and he looks like a force of nature that you should be afraid of. This film also had much better animation and sound effects. When the Hulk, military or Abomination jump, hit, crash and smash, it actually sounds and feels realistic, unlike that crappy film before that had so many issues with the impact of its sound effects and having decent animated action scenes. As for the soundtrack by. Craig Armstrong is nice. I liked it, there was definitely a better sense of urgency and drama going on with this soundtrack and while it lacked the diversity of Danny Elfman’s score in the previous film, this film has a better overall tone.
And lastly how does it compare to the comics? As I said before I’ve only read bits and bobs of Hulk comics, but I feel like this film done a better job of creating some of the elements that would make a good live action Hulk film. The Hulk character was improved a great deal, there was also the inclusion of the characters Abomination, Doc Samson and Samuel Sterns. The main issue I found with this film is the treatment of the Abomination. His character not only looks completely different and ugly, but his origins are completely altered too.
So to conclude The Incredible Hulk is a decent film and is a HELL of a lot better than the 2003 film. The problem is that this film is just not incredible, it’s just adequate. This film lacks the proper pull that can be found in Iron Man, Thor and Captain America. The film has a good cast and good action scenes, but the story is just not there, the villain is lame and the action for all of its merits does get a little boring towards the end. This is not The Incredible Hulk, this is The Adequate Hulk.
Rating: 6/10 (Good, but by no means incredible)
So there’s my review people, only 11 more to go. So have you seen The Incredible Hulk and if so what are your thoughts on it? Drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts yo! Come back tomorrow and I’ll have a new film review online, until then peace out!