The Hulk’s Incredible OR The Incredible Hulk
I watched The Incredible Hulk last night – with the expectation that I never envisioned Edward Nortonas Bruce Banner (but to be honest, I don’t do much envisioning of Bruce Banner period) and also understanding that Iron Man was good, but not my personal favorite comic book movie. Basically – the expectations were low-ish, but hopeful.
So – what did I think? I can honestly say…I liked it better than The Hulk 2003 and Iron Man . The Incredible Hulk is a movie that women and men can equally enjoy – what with the love interest and the explosions. It didn’t seem especially geared towards one sex or the other. In fact, the two other women I watched the movie with liked it as well.
And mind you – these are women who have ZERO interest in comic books, or comic book movies. They don’t even think Edward Norton is hot. BTW – I do. Not all the time – but Mr. Norton is capable of giving intensely hot looks. Especially with the insane Hulk green eyes.
I was totally hooked within the first five minutes of the film. The opening-credit backstory actually worked well, allowing the audience to jump right in the middle of the plot without feeling totally lost. This movie needed to get the viewers hooked immediately, to purge any thoughts regarding the 2003 version.
Another surprise: I enjoyed the acting of Liv Tyler in the role of Betty Ross. Betty is a character I’m not familiar with, but according to her Marvel Database page, she seems to be a woman who is easily controlled and manipulated by her father. She has an intense love for Hulk, which ultimately ends in her death from Gamma Radiation poisoning.
Much like Pepper Potts, Betty Ross received a 21st Century makeover, except Ross gets a better shake…she’s a legitimate scientist, has the balls to take on a giant green man, and eventually stands up to her General Father. I dug Tyler as Ross – she’s absolutely gorgeous, has some meat on her bones, and a genuine sincerity to her acting that is appealing.
I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, because I strongly encourage folks to see this film, especially on the big screen. The basic idea is that the US Government – specifically General Thaddeus Ross is trying to track down Bruce Banner in order to cultivate and study The Hulk which lives inside him. Banner is embroiled in the search for a cure, being aided by a mystery person in the United States. General Ross enlists the help of a man named Blonsky to track Hulk, and this dude eventually becomes injected with the Gamma Radiation and mutates into The Abomination. Then it’s up to Hulk to take down Blonsky…and you can see how the rest of it all plays out.
What I appreciate about Marvel Studios, is their ability to take a realistic approach to comic book movies. They’ve done away with a lot of the cheese-factor in the costumes and super-explosive color. What I’ve come to terms with over the last few years, is the idea that some elements of comic books (ie, costumes) do not translate well on the screen. Especially for non-comic fans who might become comic movie fans. After three rounds of X-Men movies, wherein I only spied my favorite characters in black leather…I’m fairly certain that brightly colored costumes (re: Fantastic Four) are never going to make a great screen impression. It’s cool, I get it. Yellow spandex, while great looking on inked page, distracts from a legitimate character on celluloid.
DC is also heading in that direction with it’s Batman series…although the thing that I don’t think resonates well with their films yet, is that both Batman and Superman seem to take place in worlds separate from our own. With Spiderman, Iron Man, X-Men and The Incredible Hulk…I always felt a strong sense of these events taking place in the real world. Mostly because they do. There aren’t a lot of bogus made up cities and towns in the Marvel Universe, which I think aids in their credibility.
Something I’ve enjoyed is that comic films of late also haven’t been afraid to take themselves seriously, offering legitimate content, while still poking a bit of fun at their source material (mocking purple pants, etc). Iron Man, to that end, seemed to offer a bit more fun than content. I liked The Incredible Hulk because I feel like Banner has a few more layers than Stark. But to be fair – Iron Man was an origin flick, whereas Hulk got to bypass that due to it’s delightful intro sequence, and a preceeding film.
But that’s enough ranting.
Also Great: The fun inside jokes like “Hulk Smash” – nods to future villians and characters – S.H.I.E.L.D. references, and of course the well publicized Tony Stark cameo. It’s worth mentioning that Hulk had some nice hair. The longer-indie look really made him more palatable than the 2003 version. Hulk with short hair looks like a doofus.
Not so great: The Hulk roared a lot. And there were at least two separate sequences where Betty Ross confronted the Hulk…it lost it’s strength the second time around.
I’m psyched for the DVD Release, because of this little gem.
Delightful head nods to the screenwriters, Zak Penn and Edward Norton, and the director Louis Leterrier. The work of all the folks on this film has interested me in reading a few Hulk comics, because now I feel that I might be missing out on an intriguing character. I’m pleased that I took the time to watch this, and I’ll definitely update if I do end up enjoying The Hulk as a comic book character.
Much Love, Mindy C
Tags: Betty Ross, Bruce Banner, Captain America, comic book, comic book movie, DC, Edward Norton, Iron Man, Liv Tyler, Louis Leterrier, Marvel, Marvel studios, Pepper Potts, S.H.I.E.L.D., The Hulk, The Incredible Hulk, Tony Stark cameo, Zak Penn