The Incredible Hulk
Directed: Louis Leterrier
M: Intense Action Violence
The Incredible Hulk came out in the very early stages of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, when they were still trying to put together their universe. The film follows Bruce Banner after having gone through his initial transformation into the Hulk and subsequent escape from the United States millitary. The main premise of the story revolves around Bruce trying to find a cure to rid himself of the green goliath that lives inside him and the military’s attempts to capture him and turn him into a weapon.
The film does suffer from a number of issues, but comparatively to the lesser superhero films it is better. The competition it faces comes from its own universe and competitors who have created far better movies.
It does still put forward a fairly decent face on the surface but struggles to hold itself together the further along it goes.
Edward Norton plays the titular Bruce Banner/Incredible Hulk and his performance and some of the other actors performances are some of the highlights. His portrayal of Bruce Banner as a hunted scientist is what helps keep the film in motion.
William Hurt who plays Thaddeus Ross plays a very determined antagonist who is out to both capture Bruce and stop the Hulk by any means necessary gives the film momentum.
Tim Roth as the villain, Abomination, is also interesting and is full of energy and charisma, until he transforms into the Abomination and a lot of what made him interesting is lost behind a huge CGI monstrosity that bears almost no similarity to the intriguing military man we had been following.
Liv Tyler as the love interest is given nothing else to work with and her role of an incredibly scientist in her own regards is reduced to just being an emotional anchor for Bruce and nothing else.
The action of the film is quite entertaining with the Hulk decimating military forces for most of the film. As it progresses, the engagements become bigger and more intense, particularly when the Hulk fights Emil Blonsky, and later after Blonsky’s transformation into the Abomination.
However, the action still lacks in certain departments as the sense of threat is only applicable when Banner is human and upon transformation into the Hulk, we lose that sense of vulnerability.
The film has two villains with Thaddeus Ross as the initial villain until Emil Blonsky takes centre stage as the Abomination. Both are military and the dedication they have to hunting down Banner is definitely their drive. While both men take their hunt to extremes, Ross going so far as to lose respect with his daughter. Neither of them holds up as more than one dimensional. Emil Blonsky starts out strong, but by his transformation into the Abomination, he simply becomes another large grey mirror image of the hero.
The story and plot of the film decide to omit much of the Hulk’s origin which is gives it a bit more freedom. But, instead of doing something unique or different to what we would expect, it tells a very rudimentary version of the superhero story. There is little growth amongst the characters and Banner is the only one who has changed as he has now embraced and, seemingly, has some sort of control over unleashing the Hulk by the end of the film.
There are a few clever references towards other MCU films (at that point Iron Man was the only movie in the same universe), but the nods to his movie are the very first instances of bringing this universe together.
It also leaves some things open for future installments, or opportunities, but these never come to fruition, which is quite a shame.
The post-credits scene is not the best, but it does provide us with a very important cameo and the mention once more of something great coming in the future.
The Incredible Hulk is less about the Hulk and less incredible than what people may have hoped for. It has its moments but is unfortunately only a mediocre superhero film. Its only purpose is to exist as part of a cinematic universe. Albeit one that it also seems to be falling away from.
6 stars out of 10.