The Incredible Hulk (2008) – The Review

Alright, don’t read any of this if you don’t want Spoilers.  First off, the animated Hulk was pretty impressive.  Yes, there are times when Hulk looks animated but none of those times bothered me.  In fact I can even recall a few times that the Hulk looked so real I was utterly shocked at how good he looked.  And I will also tell you that, even with all the griping, the Abomination, changes and all, was pretty great.  Everyone might remember a few things that bothered them about some of the trailers – like when Emil gets kicked by the Hulk – well, when you watch the movie it actually works.  I mean, it really works to the point that everything that they do makes sense and it is a solid story that pumps you up and gets you cheering toward the end.

Betty Ross, played by Liv Tyler, has a more pivotal role in this film than the last.  She even gets to shine through with a personality that makes you laugh at times.  Tim Roth is perfectly cast as the over the hill army soldier begging to stay in the action – even though his body might be getting too old – and gets drunk off the power that Thunderbolt Ross keeps supplying him with.  I’m telling you, every tweak, every liberty they took in changing the history of the Hulk really worked well here.  Anyone who can take inspiration from the worst run in Hulk comics and turn it into a really decent movie is okay with me!

There are a bunch of familiar faces along for the ride – Stan Lee makes his usual funny cameo – Lou Ferigno appears, and even has a line or two of dialog!  They also pay homage to the late, great Bill Bixby by showing a clip of The Courtship of Eddie’s Father in the beginning.  Good to see people who really appreciate where their material came from.  Also, speaking of cameos, keep an ear out for a few familiar names in the film, like Stark (who has a well publicised cameo at the end) and Jim Wilson, Nick Fury, they hint at the Super Soldier Serum that made Captain America, Sam Stern (played with accurate detail by Tim Blake Nelson) who eventually will become the Leader and is set up in this film to do do in a sequel (I hope!).  No Rick Jones – and oddly I can’t remember any time that they mentioned Betty’s “psychiatrist” boyfriend’s name identifying him as Samson – even though we know he is supposed to be. 

Overall, this was a great movie with plenty of action.  Thank goodness.  Norton does an outstanding job of playing Banner and there is so much subtle humor thrown in that it makes you laugh at times.  Like when Hulk hits his head against the rock ceiling of the cave because Betty scares him and then he turns and hold his head like a little kid pouting.  I have no complaints about the movie and even think it will make every person – not just Hulk fans – really excited and begging for more!   A-

12 responses to “The Incredible Hulk (2008) – The Review

  1. Thanks for the review Ryan, I still think that I will pass on it though…….Hulk + Movie = Me No Go

  2. Now for the rebuttal. I’m not gonna trash the movie (even though I’ve become a Hulk trasher as of late, wink, wink), but in all honesty, this movie was uneven at best.

    First the good: Ed Norton was outstanding, he plays the role as a highly intelligent and very crafty loner, not a whinny little nerd- A. Liv Tyler was very good as Betty. That’s hard for me to say since I don’t usually like her, but she had the most depth of any character in the film and she did a very good job- B+. Tim Blake Nelson was great as the spastic super nerd with delusions of potential power. I hope for a sequel just so we can see him realize his potential as the Leader- A.

    Second the good/bad: The CGI was uneven at best. I’m shocked you seemed to like it so much since I know you are a staunch opponent of these kind of special effects. At times the Hulk did look good (transformation, close ups of his nasty green teeth, jumping from building to building). On the other hand, when the Hulk got into it and threw down, I’m sorry to say, looked better in Ang Lee’s version. It was just way too fake looking at times. It only looked realistic when he fought the Abomination. And the whole cave scene in the rain looked like something you would see on a TV show on the CW…just awful. It looked so bad I couldn’t stand the scene. They were definitely guilty of trying too hard here. Why is it whenever Hollywood has a CGI character they have to throw in a scene like this one where they can animate the rain or show his hair blowing around, they try too hard to impress us with realism it usually ends up looking even more cartoonish. The Abomination on the other hand looked really cool. I have no complaints about him at all- C. Tim Roth was great as the soldier of fortune who couldn’t stop fighting. He just didn’t look the part…AT ALL!!! You know I love this guy, he’s Mr. Orange!!! come on!!! But really, a lifelong soldier is not gonna look like an alcoholic from the trailer park. Take a look at the Comedian from the Watchmen stills to catch a glimpse at what a true aging, hard ass, lifelong military man should look like. When he appeared shirtless I laughed out loud, come on now, he’s been fighting in battle for twenty something years and he hasn’t managed to gain any muscle tone whatsoever? Then when the super soldier serum kicks in his fake muscles looked terrible. High School plays can do better make-up than this-B for the performance, D- for the look.

    Lastly the bad: General Ross where have you gone? I can hear the Comic Book Guy now…”worst…casting…ever” Ross is a five star general and the toughest MF to ever where the Army green…Who should we cast? I know is the shallow pretty boy from Broadcast News available? William Hurt is a good actor, but his range is just nowhere near this role. He can do sappy not tough, I submit Michael, The Big Chill, The Village, Mr. Wonderful, and Lost in Space. He plays Ross with that same quivering delivery and the I’m about to cry my eyes out look. Just abysmal- F.

    Just for fun: The cameos were hilarious. Stan Lee’s first ever death scene-HA! Lou Ferrigno, thank you very much, I actually applauded his scene. Nice nod to Bill Bixby with the Courtship of Eddie’s Father, the Hulk theme song was starting to wear it thin though. Also you missed one little nod, Jack McGee, the reporter for the college newspaper who was with Jim Wilson, is the reporter that chased the Hulk throughout the run of the TV show. (I missed it too but the guy I watched the movie with didn’t)-B

    Overall grade: B-

  3. I saw the movie and I get to see it 2 or 3 more times! Awesome Movie!

  4. While I don’t share your hate for Hurt – I do think the animation looked too animated at times. Overall, I think it’s a huge improvement from the 2003 Hulk movie and think that there was too much that went well with this movie that I wasn’t bogged down with any of the negatives.

  5. From everyone that I have talked to, they all liked the Hulk. I have not heard any negative news about the film. Hopefully it will help the movie, box office wise…….

  6. I just read that Roth was asked NOT to work out to better depict an over-the-hill soldier – and with no tone to his body his transformation later on would be that much more shocking…

    Which makes sense.

  7. Actually that makes no sense at all. If he is a soldier who has been, in his own words, a “fighter” for all those years he would have muscle tone. Even if he never exercised he would be in great shape due to such an active lifestyle. The same way construction workers are always strong or lifeguards are always tan, their look is a product of their occupation. How many lifeguards go to the tanning salon? If he is a man of action who is constantly pushing his body to the limit of it’s capabilities, like the scene where he’s chasing Bruce through the streets in Brazil, he would not look weak and flabby. If the producers told him not to work out then it’s their fault, it doesn’t make it alright. It is still, in my opinion, a problem with the film. Since when he is revealed to be a flabby old man I was taken out of the story and any believability I had in the character was now challenged.

  8. Bill you are over analyzing this – really. I think it’s perfectly believable that he wouldn’t be cut – and he was far from “flabby”. Seriously. There are plenty of people who don’t look a part in a movie and you are going to pick on a comic movie as unbelievable because of that?

    And when I said “that makes sense” – I meant it made sense that the transformation later would be that much more shocking from no tone to totally cut.

    Sorry that it was so distracting to you – but you must be the only one – becasue I haven’t heard anyone else with this complaint.

  9. He’s not the only one. I knew before watching it that Roth hadn’t been allowed to work out, but I had the same reaction when I saw him with his shirt off. He may have been an aging soldier, but he was still supposed to have been a soldier, and a very combat-oriented active one at that. There has to be a difference between the way a career as a fighter “takes it’s toll” and the utter appearance of physical wimpiness.

  10. Well, there you go Bill – you have a second!

    But again, I think it was more to show the shocking transformation.

    His body didn’t bother me – I was more bothered with the scene where Roth was talking to Hurt while they were both in uniform and he looked like a slob. Unshaven, but still in his uniform – I thought that was more out of character for a life-long soldier than his body having no tone.

    But like I posted before – the good outweighed any of the bad for me – still a great pop-corn, action filled movie about one of the greatest comic character of all time!

  11. BTW, did you happen to see Roger Ebert’s review of “The Incredible Hulk”? He writes: “Consider the dilemma of creating a story about the Hulk, who is one of the lesser creatures in the Marvel Comics stable. ”

    “lesser creatures” ????? WTF? In what universe did Roger Ebert grow up?

  12. Lesser? Seriously? Ebert obvioulsy has lost it…

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