Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Movie Review: "The Incredible Hulk" (2008)

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Movie"The Incredible Hulk"
Director: Louis Leterrier
Year: 2008
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hours, 6 minutes

In an effort to recreate the super soldier program of WWII, the USmilitary enlists the help of scientist Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) to create a serum under the guise that he is working on a treatment for radiation sickness. Banner is so confident in his work, he tests it on himself with terrible side effects. Now, whenever he gets angry, he turns into a giant rage-filled Hulk who is hard to control. The military now wants to capture Banner and use the Hulk as a weapon for their own means. Banner is now forever on the run, staying off the grid as much as possible, while he hopes to develop a cure. General 'Thunderbolt' Ross (William Hurt) brings in elite soldier Emile Blonsky (Tim Roth) to help in capturing the Hulk. Emile, amazed by the Hulk's power, decides to inject himself with the same serum ,resulting in an Abomination that may be more dangerous than the Hulk. 

Let's all just collectively agree that Ang Lee's "Hulk" doesn't exist.

"The Incredible Hulk," so far, is the only movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe not to have a sequel. There are several reasons, one of which are fairly obvious if you are looking at the monetary aspect of things. First, this film has the lowest box office of any of the Marvel films to date, earning a mere $134 million domestic, and earning $100 million less globally than the next lowest earner, "Captain America." It is also sort of hard coming up with new story lines for Bruce Banner and the Hulk as the central focus for a film, especially now with the Hulk being part of the Avengers. Banner's entire reason for existing in this film is to essentially avoid being captured by the military and to work for a cure for his condition. Since it was a one-time deal to get his origin story out of the way, this story line cannot be revisited now that he's been recruited to S.H.I.E.L.D. As a character, Bruce Banner is one of the most limited characters in the Avengers with what filmmakers could do with him. As fun as it is to see the Hulk Smash!, it's hard to revolve an entire movie around it. Finally, another glaring problem: Edward Norton. While BigJ and I both like him as an actor, he's both a notorious pain in the ass to work with and was probably more expensive than the trouble he was worth. Marvel even came out with an official statement saying they needed to find an actor who "embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members." In layman's terms, PAIN IN THE ASS. Though Norton knew a lot about the Marvel comics in general, Marvel scrapped him in favor of Mark Ruffalo, who has really taken his role as The Hulk and run with it for the better, in our opinions.

All this being said, we still enjoy Louis Leterrier's Hulk film, even with the now defunct Edward Norton as Bruce Banner. It might not be as timeless and re-watchable as "Iron Man" or "The Avengers," but it's still far better than Ang Lee's "Hulk," which most certainly left a sour taste in the mouths of fans and critics alike and may have even unintentionally hurt this film's performance. This story manages to be very entertaining, and any time the Hulk is on screen, it brings joy to the heart to watch a big green guy fight another hulked-out (no pun intended) creature. The final battle with the Abomination is a site to behold as they smash their way through the city in the ultimate street fight. We do have to say it is strange to go back and watch Edward Norton as Banner now that Mark Ruffalo is synonymous with that character, but Norton is still good in the role, nonetheless. We are a little upset that a sequel was never examined as they teased a new villain with Tim Blake Nelson transforming into The Leader and just abandoned that story line completely, never bringing that character to fruition in any of the other Marvel films. In fact, pretty much every character from this film has been abandoned, other than the Hulk himself, just don't tell him or else we're in for a world of hurt.

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 67%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!
For our "Iron Man" review, click here.

For our "Iron Man 2" review, click here.

For our "Thor" review, click here. 

For our "Captain America: The First Avenger" review, click here.

For our "The Avengers" review, click here.

For our "Iron Man 3" review, click here.

For our "Thor: The Dark World" review, click here.

For our "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" review, click here.

For our "Guardians of the Galaxy" review, click here.

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