I’ll make a wager that The Incredible Hulk is hands down the least disappointing film of the year, fully living up to any and all expectations I had for it. Of course my expectations were pretty much at rock bottom for the film, so for it to be disappointing it would have had to be more of a let down than even Spider-Man 3 was. Really, I was expecting an abomination (pun intended) of a film, the worst this superhero crowded summer had to offer, but instead I – gasp – had fun.
Clearly a kneejerk reaction to 2003’s disappointing The Hulk, the The Incredible Hulk is a reboot/remake/continuation/sequel/entirely-different-thing, and has none of the insightful dialogue, none of the decent acting and none of the high end directing of the first movie. In any other situation this would be cause for alarm, but in the case of a film about a giant green monster who can hurl a fork lift like a baseball the removal of most of the thought in the film and the inclusion of some of the best action sequences this side of Hong Kong make for a much better, and far less boring, movie. In short, Hulk smash, Hulk smash good!
In fact that is pretty much all he does in this 114 minute film. Skipping over the entire creation story via a montage in the opening credits the film goes directly to Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) on the run from the evil General Ross (William Hurt) who wants to use Banner as an example to create an army of super soldiers. Banner, a scientist and thus peaceful, will have none of it and has run away to Brazil in order to learn to control his excitement so as not to turn into the raging beast that is the Hulk and kill more innocent people. He’s working on trying to find a cure with the mysterious Mr. Blue and longing to see his lady love, Betty Ross (Liv Tyler), yet again, but afraid of what he might do to her if he changes into the Hulk.
Of course, the General finds Banner, he turns into the Hulk and the story starts to unfold with Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth), a soldier after Banner, going under a procedure to make him a perfect super soldier in order to destroy the Hulk. You know the kind of experimental government procedure that never goes well and ends up doing harm instead of good and creating a terrible monster. Yea, that one. The entire plot is pretty much on the same level of originality and depth as that: beauty soothes the savage green creature’s rampages and the military looks like a bunch of weapon hungry maniacs. It’s about as deep as, well, a comic book.
This, it turns out, is about as deep as the Hulk needs to be. The Hulk proved that no one wants to see the big green guy sulk about and dealing with Daddy issues. We want to see him beating on bad guys and destroying entire city blocks. Ask and you shall receive. The special effects are gorgeous, despite how the trailers look, and the fights are pretty much non-stop, edge of your seat action that last for a good ten minutes at the least. The final battle between Hulk and The Abomination is hands down one of the best brawls I’ve seen this year and makes Iron Man’s finale look like something out of an Archie comic. The Hulk is stupid, simple and straight forward and now we know that a movie about him should be that way too.