The Incredible Hulk continues Hollywood's list of 2008 Summer Blockbusters, as it does the number of comic book to celluloid adaptations for the year. With Iron Man already smashing the box office to become the first film this year to get over the 200 million dollar revenue mark, and with Berg's Hancock, Del Toro's Hellboy 2 and Nolan's The Dark Knight to come out next month, The Incredible Hulk has a lot of expectations on its head, especially after the failure of Ang Lee's The Hulk, five years ago.
Unlike in The Hulk, where Ang Lee put in a lot of effort to bring forward the origin of the Hulk, Louis Leterrier's new adaptation does that in less than 3 minutes via the opening credits. They probably did not want to show us what we had already seen and not appreciated in Ang Lee's version. There is no Nick Nolte here freaking us out with his creepy (not great!) performance as Bruce Banner's father. There are no gigantic poodles and bull dogs here. There film is not two hours and fifteen minutes long. It's doesn't even get to two. All that, added with a couple of good performances, great visuals, a gripping plot, and one helluva final showdown make The Incredible Hulk a brilliant movie!
Louis Leterrier isn't a very well-known director. He directed The Transporter 2, and thats about all his resume says. The casting here is good. With Edward Norton capturing the essence of Bruce Banner very well. William Hurt gives us a the rather obsessive General Thadius Ross, where he acts like he owes no one nothing as long as he able to capture the green beast. Liv Tyler, however, is quite flat. Her dialogues dont really have any feeling in them. Now, I haven't seen Tim Roth in a long time. His portrayal of Emile Blonsky is the pick of the lot in this movie. Not only does he effectively act insane, but that part-Russian accent does wonders for him.
What they did, and did correctly in this film was the fact that they gave us a very raw and very real Hulk. (Read: No clinging on to a fighter jet till he reaches space!). Although all of it is CGI, it is very well done. The effects are mindblowing. The expected showdown between Iron Man and Iron Monger which was given amiss by Jon Favreau in Iron Man, Marvel makes up for in The Incredible Hulk. The final fight between the Hulk and the Abomination is really something!
Control - that is what the objective of this film is. How Bruce Banner takes control of the beast inside of him. He is desperately seeking an antidote, hiding from the Army, who have labeled him 'A fugitive who stole military secrets'. His living in tranquility for months and months so that he can grasp his anger instead of letting it lose. He even wears a heart-rate calculator. 'Can't get too excited', he says while on a kissing spree. Yes, it does have its fair share of comedy; and also eye-candy. Read: Débora Nascimento who plays Martina. She's there only in a few scenes.
Incident - is what they call the transformation in this one. They even show you a timeline that says - Days since Incident. The shots of rural Brazil in the introduction of the film are very nice. The Hulk too seems more lifelike. Not as rubbery as he did in the previous adaptation. Also, The Incredible Hulk hints at a good many other films that could be in store for us. Tim Blake Nelson plays Samuel Sterns - The Leader, a character from Marvel. There is also a small cameo by Robert Downey Jr. And yes, he is Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man. The weapons too, if one notices, are all Stark Industry products. Who knows.. this film might be an excuse of a movie just to introduce numerous other adaptations. Think - The Avengers!
The Incredible Hulk does justice to one of Marvel's most famous characters. Although unexpected since most associate it with a rather comedic version of the Hulk, we finally hear the green beast say 'Hulk Smash'. And he really does..