Canister X Movie Review #42: The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Written by Zak Penn
Directed by Louis Leterrier
Runtime 112 min.
4.5 out of 5
Dr. Bruce Banner. Scientist. Researcher. Genius.
Victim of a Gamma Ray experiment gone horribly wrong.
Dr. Bruce Banner. Hulk.
And the military knows it. They were there. They saw what he became—a hulking, big green behemoth made of pure muscle, rage and power—and the damage he caused.
Bruce (Edward Norton) has been on the run from them ever since, keeping a low profile and doing everything within his power to find a cure for the gamma poisoning that created the beast caged inside him. And now he thinks he has one, so he ventures back to the States to meet a scientist codenamed “Mr. Blue” whom he’s been chatting with over a secure Internet line to work up a cure. He also accidentally runs into the love of his life, Betty Ross (Liv Tyler), and the two are now on the run from Betty’s hotheaded military father, General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross (William Hurt), who wants to turn the Hulk into a weapon.
They evade him for the most part until General Ross decides to supe-up his special soldier, Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth), and, once that super soldier proves not enough of a threat to the Hulk, Emil takes it on himself to make himself a greater match and forces Dr. Blue, aka Samuel Sterns (Tim Blake Nelson), to turn him into something else—an Abomination.
Now only the Hulk can stop this new mammoth creature and the two wage a crazy, awe-inspiring war through the streets of New York.
It’s time for Hulk to smash.
I admit when I first heard about this movie I was leery. It was only five years before that Ang Lee’s Hulk came out and I knew that The Incredible Hulk was meant to be a reboot, so I wasn’t sure what to expect and, really, a reboot after only five years was just plain silly.
As it turns out, this movie wasn’t a reboot per se, but more of a do-over, in that during the credits it quickly gave the Hulk’s origin story and then got into a story of its own without referring to the Hulk movie of 2003. And to make things even more “separate,” there was that oh-so-cool cameo at the end by you-know-who that cemented this new Hulk movie into the current timeline that Marvel’s got going on in the movies, one that will take us up to The Avengers in 2012.
What can I say? This movie was way better than Hulk. More action. Cooler story. More realistic. This really was a solid Hulk-smash type of movie that didn’t get bogged down in so much drama like the one in 2003. I loved Edward Norton as Bruce Banner. Not only did he look the part of a scrawny scientist, he also acted like one plus also did a good job conveying the burden he carries and the suffering he has to go through because of what he is (i.e. sometimes living on the street).
There was a chemistry between him and Liv Tyler, too. The two of them could easily pass as real-life lovers. This kind of realism was crucial in showing the sacrifices Bruce had made in order to protect those he cared about from the Hulk.
The sheer power shown by the Hulk throughout this movie was just plain awesome. The strength displayed was astounding. The coolest display, in my opinion, was when the helicopter Betty was in caught fire and Hulk clapped his hands together so hard it sent a shockwave/gust of wind through the air to put out the flame.
I enjoyed Tim Roth as the good-guy-turned-bad. He’s always convincing. And when he became Abomination, the big fight between Abomination and Hulk was terrific: two giant titans going head-to-head, muscle against muscle, power against power. Fantastic.
The Incredible Hulk was such a great movie and made you look forward to any sequels or cameos the Hulk will have in the future.