The Incredible Hulk (USA, 2008)

incredible_hulkDirected by: Louis Leterrier. I’ve still never gotten around to that long-form post about superheroes, but here I am, still doing “research” for it. I wasn’t expecting much from this, but I was curious about it, because in the midst of all of this hullaballoo, the Hulk is the one that fell through the cracks. I remember the false start of Ang Lee’s Hulk with the great Eric Bana, which was too distant and arty for me to understand as a teenager looking for a good old Hulk-smash good time. But I’m very happy to say that, out of the current crop of brand-making Marvel saga tie-in movies, this one is probably one of the best ones, if not the best one, as its own standalone movie. There’s something about Edward Norton here, some kind of Tom Hanks effect, where nobody else could really pull off the disarming everyman and still be substantial, not Eric Bana, and definitely not Mark Ruffalo. And the support of Liv Tyler, William Hurt and Tim Roth didn’t hurt either. This thing is stacked! And everyone actually has a pretty good role to dig into. And though the film has to pay off with a lot of brawny CGI boxing matches and low-level urban destruction, the film never gets to the point of 9/11-mirror apocalyptica that seems to be a prerequisite for the bloated superhero franchises that followed. The Hulk is just an infinitely more interesting character than Captain America, what can you say? There are at least three levels of conflict going on all the time, the most important of which is the internal conflict, the fact that Bruce Banner considers his superhero ego to be a curse, a disease, that has to be resisted. And then you add the persecution by the government, and the fact that the general is his fiancee’s dad, and then you throw in a proper villain who’s a real person with real motivation, and get Tim Roth to play him, and you got yourself a nice little movie! It goes without saying that this is the one that they decided not to make any more of, just using it as a building block for Avengers, but hey, that’s to be expected.

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One response to “The Incredible Hulk (USA, 2008)

  1. Pingback: List of Judgements, Anno Domini 2016 | Offhand Reviews·

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