The Incredible Hulk finally gets the green guy right
The Incredible Hulk smashes its way through a rock ‘em, sock ‘em romp. It’s sure to please summer audiences and restore faith that the big green guy — with apologies to Shrek — is on top once again.
The Hulk franchise was reeling back in 2003 with Ang Lee’s version, which probed the mind of a guy with anger management issues. Lee didn’t understand his audience. They want action, and Hulk versus a pack of dogs doesn’t count.
Enter Louis Leterrier. As director of the two Transporter films, he knows how to create wild action scenes. Rather than retelling the Hulk’s origin once again, the film starts off with Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) desperately trying to find a cure to remove the gamma radiation that turns him into a monster.
Gen. ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross (William Hurt) needs Bruce’s blood to create an army of super soldiers. Bruce’s only ally is his old girlfriend Betty (Liv Tyler), who goes against her father — the general — to help him.
The animators didn’t cut corners. When the Hulk grabs a car to use as a shield, his muscles tighten and veins bulge as he flexes and smashes. He isn’t someone you’d want to meet in a dark alley — or a lit one for that matter. The Hulk is definitely the star of this film, and he’s a breathtaking sight whenever he appears.
Norton pulls double duty, co-writing the film with Zak Penn (X-Men: The Last Stand). The pair deviates from the typical comic film format in which the hero and villain don’t interact until the last act. Instead, the Hulk encounters his main foes, Ross and Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth), at the onset.
Blonsky is given super soldier lessons, becoming stronger with each encounter until the final battle, which is fought on equal footing. Blonsky, always the competitive soldier, is willing to do whatever it takes to bring down the Hulk. That was a nice approach as the bad guy had to keep persevering to finally get the upper hand and the hero, who had enjoyed the upper hand throughout, finally has a serious challenge.
The film has nice nods for comic fans with mentions to past Hulk projects, including the theme from the beloved TV show and a Stan Lee cameo.
Incredible Hulk provides a smashing good time for the audience and proves there’s still a lot of punch left in this not-so-jolly green giant.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Photo Credit: Rhythm & Hues/Universal Studios and Marvel Studios.