Sunday, June 15, 2008

At the Movies: The Incredible Hulk

Rather than a review, I thought that I would just share my opinion of the latest Marvel Comics adaptation to hit the big screen.

The Incredible Hulk gets several things right that Ang Lee, bless his heart, just didn't manage to in his earlier effort. Bruce Banner as played by Edward Norton is actually present this time out. Norton inhabits the role of Banner in "marvelous" ways that Eric Bana simply wasn't capable of in Ang Lee's The Hulk. Gen. Thunderbolt Ross is also fully present in the form of William Hurt. He is just dynamite in the hard corps role of the General. I love Sam Elliot as an actor, and he was good in the first Hulk film, but Hurt assays the driven military man & slightly, conflicted father figure to a far greater degree than Elliot did. Thunderbolt Ross made the leap to film big-time.

It was also nice to see the various nods to the old Hulk television series in this movie, the cameos by both original players and the incorporation of the theme music were nice touches by director Louis Letterier. I like Liv Tyler and she was fine in the movie, but this change from Jennifer Connolly was the most jarring recast for me. I agree with criticisms of Connolly's performance in the Ang Lee Hulk, so I was okay with the change but it was still a bit odd to see Tyler's "Betty Ross" drop her new beau like a hot potato the very minute that she saw Banner for the first time in two years.

The Abomination vs. Hulk battle is everything that you've read about it and I give the CGI stuff high marks. Actor Tim Roth is a twisted-force-of-nature as both the human mercenary Emil Blonsky and as the gamma-powered, monstous Abomination. This Hulk is better for being more closely aligned with the comics and the set-up for another classic Hulk villain is pretty cool, too. And just wait until you hear, "HULK SMASH!" bellowed onscreen by the jade giant. Fanboy heaven.

Now about that guest star "cameo" of another recent invincible Marvel hero. It received strong applause from the audience and adds an air of anticipation for what Marvel Studios has planned over the next few years.

It's a great time for comics fans .... at the movies!

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