The Incredible Hulk

Year: 2008
Directed By: Louis Leterrier
Written By: Zak Penn, Edward Norton

RYAN’S REVIEW

The Hulk is a hard character to center movies around despite all the attempts to do so.  The Hulk is a really popular character in the Marvel Universe but the Hulk isn’t really a hero per say.  He doesn’t necessarily save, he destroys. The Hulk is the Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hide of Marvel Comics.  Bruce Banner is a man always struggling to control his power because his power is dangerous and he is afraid of hurting the ones he loves.  That’s a great character dynamic but it makes formatting a film story line difficult, that is part of the reason the Hulk films are never successful.

I grew up watching the Incredible Hulk television show with Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno.  I have always loved the character and I have liked all his incarnations in film.  Despite the popular opinion on Ang Lee’s Hulk in 2003, I thought it was OK.  I thought Eric Bana was a good casting choice for Bruce Banner, and I liked the movie despite its flaws.  The movie was far too long, but it was an Ang Lee film.  His movies are good for great action and incredibly long retarding points with a really long running time.  The movie was exactly that too, it had long stretches of boredom but where most people found that to be disappointing I had merely seen it as something to be expected.  We do not own the movie but I wouldn’t mind revisiting it at some point and writing a review about it.  I like Jennifer Connelly as Betty Ross and I think Sam Elliott is awesome whether he was a good choice for the role or not.  If I get the opportunity to see it again maybe I can pinpoint exactly what made this movie so hated.  It was built for a sequel but was a complete and utter box office flop so no sequels were made.

This movie, The Incredible Hulk, is a reboot of the franchise and I thought it was an incredible movie.  Like its predecessor though, it did not live up to studio expectations profit wise. Despite that, this was a great movie and I thought it was awesome.  I am really not familiar with Louis Leterrier but he made a fantastic Hulk movie, even honoring the original Bill Bixby television show along the way.  What I liked most about this movie was that it was connected to the universe of films Marvel was beginning to create.  It was connected with the Iron Man movies as Robert Downey Jr. made a late scene cameo as Tony Stark. However, when that universe the studio was building came to fruition this film was not included.  Edward Norton was replaced as the Hulk in The Avengers film and everything we saw in this movie became nothing more than an after thought.  I know that after this film came out Edward Norton got into a dispute with the studio over a writing credit and things got a little ugly.  I think that in the end the studio obviously won because Norton wasn’t included in the party when things really got going.  I was really disappointed by that decision but I will admit Mark Ruffalo did a great job in the film.  There will probably be a Ruffalo Hulk movie made eventually unless the studio has finally learned its lesson in regards to centering a film on the Hulk character.

It really was a shame that the studio gave up on this movie and the franchise it might have created because I think Edward Norton was excellent in the part.  I really liked what was done with his character, how hard he worked to control his curse, the Japanese Judo breathing methods and what not. I don’t think Liv Tyler was bad in the part of Betty Ross but I did prefer Jennifer Connelly to her. William Hurt is an outstanding actor and I think he is awesome, but Sam Elliott may have had an edge on him too despite how good he is.  The mustache looked ridiculous on him, and nobody wears a mustache like Sam Elliott.  I think Tim Roth was a great bad guy and I liked seeing him in a big time movie again.  Stan Lee and Lou Ferrigno both had really good cameos in this movie too.  No Marvel movie should be made without an appearance from Stan Lee for as long as we have him with us, and no Hulk movie should ever be made without paying its respects to Lou Ferrigno.

This movie might not matter anymore after the phenomenal success of The Avengers, but it is still worth your time to see. Mark Ruffalo may have been great in that movie but with all due respect he robbed all of us by taking the part that rightfully belonged to Edward Norton. This was an awesome movie and it’s just flat out not fair that it was discarded by the studio.  I cannot argue with how awesome The Avengers was, but I will always wish that things had went differently and Ed Norton had been involved.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I don’t love this movie. It’s okay I guess, but to be completely honest, I just don’t really like The Incredible Hulk as a super hero. Not my favorite. Let’s go ahead and move on to the poster.

incredible-hulk-poster-big

Ryan sorta gave me some kind of picture in my head when he told me what this poster looked like. He said he was going to write my post for me, so thank goodness I didn’t let him do that. I hate this poster. It looks like Ed Norton is coming out of the Hulk’s ass. I am literally laughing out loud at the whole premise. There is this obtrusive glow on the typography of “Hulk”. I just really do not like this movie or poster. Not a fan.

NEXT MOVIE: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

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5 comments

  1. In all honesty, I liked Ang Lee’s Hulk better than Ed Norton’s. Ed Norton was all apparently exciting action and no story although it began with some promise. It was nice to see him try to control it but they connected it to his heart rate rather than his anger which (although gave rise to a somewhat funny scene with Liv Tyler) sort of took the edge away. In 2003, it was anger. you never know when your anger might explode.

    In 2003, there was an undercurrent of wrongful persecution and the best bit I liked was when Hulk is subdued by the mere presence of Jennifer Connelly. It was something beautiful…he just needs someone to love him and not be taking advantage of him in any manner. Also, Sam Elliot’s General was much better.

    With Ed Norton, I just didn’t feel for the character. He seemed somewhat disconnected from the entire dynamic. Also, the army trying to capture him was also not that emotionally charged. Although I like Liv better than Jennifer, I can honestly say that she was on the film only because the comic strip had a female character. There was no real need for her. And the General appeared to be much more of a douchebag wh really doesn’t care about his own daughter getting hurt if it means glory for himself. In 2003, at least he was trying to protect his daughter from potential psychos and mindless Hulks. The action scenes went on and on without any real involvement. Also there was no explanation as to whether the abomination died/lived..

    The one thing I liked about Ed Norton’s Hulk was him screaming at the sky when thunder disturbs him.

    I believe in every superhero story it is always the social alter ego which helps the character growth. That was nailed by Mark Rufallo. Eric Bana’s Bruce Banner was too quiet. Ed Norton’s was too fidgety. Ruffallo’s was just the right amount of brainiac who knows his stuff, wants to prevent his aggression taking its toll on people and is confident about using his sci-tech skills too.

    1. You make a lot of great points about the Hulk films. I think Eric Bana looked the Bruce Banner part much more than Ed Norton but you are right that he was too quiet. I am specifically a fan of Ed Norton from long ago when he was in Fight Club. Also because he was awesome in one of my favorite movies ever, Death to Smoochy(a very hated film by audiences and critics alike, but I loved it). So I’ll admit I’m a bit biased to Norton and more likely to overlook any shortcomings. I had hoped it would revitalize his career and was disappointed to see the part recast for The Avengers. However, you are right, I think Mark Ruffalo was really fantastic in the part. I didn’t like seeing a break in the continuity of films that were building up to The Avengers but I can’t argue with what they made. It was incredible and Ruffalo did a really good job. I specifically thought his cameo at the end of Iron Man 3 was awesome, and look forward to seeing more of the chemistry he has with Robert Downey Jr. on screen. The Avengers 2 will be hard pressed to live up to the first film but I think all of the characters are casted so well it will be hard for them to fail. Not a fan of James Spader but I really don’t know that it will matter given the character he is playing. I will always be the first to admit I did not think The Avengers film would work and couldn’t have been more wrong. I am going to be wiser going into the sequel with no preconceived notions and simply sit back and enjoy the show with an open mind.

  2. Thanks. I don’t particularly dislike Ed Norton. I liked him very much in Fight Club, Primal Fear, Red Dragon. But I do feel that in a lot of movies, he appears to be a little bit full of himself. I haven’t seen Death to Smoochy maybe some day I will.

    I believe one of the biggest problems with portraying Hulk on screen is how to justify him getting angry, trying to control and then losing it. In comics ou can always have explanatory notes. But in movies, we can’t have a narration all through the scenes.

    You make a very good point about Ruffalo’s chemistry with Downey Jr. It definitely played a large role in him being accepted by the audience.

    And I think I know what you say about not noticing faults of the people who’ve beena part of a favourite movie. For a long time, I was under the impression that The Village was a better movie than made out to be. I saw it a little while back again and found that perhaos it could be a little tighter. (I’ll put in the details in your Village review)

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