(Review originally written at 13 July 2008)

Seems like I'm one of the very few who actually liked Ang Lee's "Hulk". It was a movie that failed to attract and please the majority of people. Still they obviously thought there was lots of potential with the Hulk character for further movies and therefore 5 years later this movie got released, which is not a sequel to Ang Lee's "Hulk" and instead is a re-telling and re-establishment of the Hulk character. It ignores the facts from the first movie and doesn't very much concentrate on the Hulk origins or emotional aspect of Bruce Banner but it's more a movie that comes straight to the point and cuts to the chase immediately, so to speak. "The Incredible Hulk" is bigger, has more action and far more potential to please the mainstream crowd. It also of course obviously has as a result that the movie is rather simple.

Not only the director is different this time (Louis Leterrier) but also the cast is. Edward Norton seems like an unlikely choice for such a big mainstream blockbuster but he of course is more than a capable actor and therefore also pulls off just fine. Still I liked Eric Bana's more humane and emotional performance of Bruce Banner in "Hulk", despite the fact that I think Edward Norton is a better actor. But to be honest I liked every actor and performance from "Hulk" better than was the case with this movie. Liv Tyler replaced Jennifer Connelly as Betty Ross and William Hurt replaced Sam Elliott as general Ross. Completely new characters are being played by Tim Roth as Emil Blonsky and Tim Blake Nelson as Samuel Sterns, who are again, two actors who don't seem like very likely choices for such a big summer blockbuster but work out just fine for the movie. Of course especially Tim Roth, as the movie its main villain. Still funny though that a supposedly Russian character speaks with such a fat British accent. It was good though to see him in a big production again. He had been out of the picture for too long.

Of course this is no movie that pays particularly much attention to its story. Once you start over-analyzing it you'll find plenty of plot-holes and the movie leaves more questions then answers. But of course you shouldn't think too much about this though, for "The Incredible Hulk" is just not this kind of movie. It's a movie that is supposed to bring entertainment and at this it really does not fail.

This is obviously a movie that cost some serious money to make. With its budget around $150,000,000, this is a real big summer blockbuster. The money can mostly be seen back on screen with some big action sequences. I actually have to admit that some of the action is the best I've seen in recent years. It's of course also a movie that relies heavily on its CGI, for its Hulk character mostly. The special effects are simply great though so it shouldn't really ever 'trouble' you that this is a CGI heavy movie. This is also due to the directing approach of the movie, that shows the Hulk often more as a mysterious and dark creature who moves around in the shadows. The camera doesn't zoom all the time right into the Hulk or the villainous Abomination. They often instead more walk around in the background and the camera doesn't get a clear focus on them, as if it's 'bigfoot' footage, or the Loch Ness monster. This amateur, shaky, unclear looking style that has become recently popular for movies and is a style that I like very much for movies and also truly works out well for this particular movie.

It's a movie that shows that the Hulk and superhero movie genre in particular still has plenty of potential in it. The movie also hints at possible sequels and even for movies in which multiple Marvel comic book heroes are going to team up. I would pay money to see it happen all!

Even though I don't think it's the best the genre has to offer, it simply was a movie that I very much enjoyed watching.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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