Countdown to The Avengers (Part 2) - Review from the Vault: The Incredible Hulk (2008)

The Incredible Hulk came out the same summer as the first Iron Man (2008).  In my opinion it is probably the weakest of the five movies that feed into The Avengers, but that doesn't mean that it is bad.  That's more a testament to how good the others have turned out.  It is definitely better than Hulk from 2003.  It is a shame that creative differences led to Edward Norton cutting ties with Marvel upon this film's release as he was a pretty darn good Bruce Banner.  I'll be very interested to see how Mark Ruffalo (the third actor to tackle the part of Banner on the big screen) portrays the part in The Avengers. Here's  part 2 of the countdown to The Avengers!

The Incredible Hulk (2008), PG-13, 112 minutesI had to put off seeing this for a week because it was the film of choice to view on the way back from the annual trip to Charlotte for HeroesCon (yeah I'm a nerd, but it's not like we didn't already know that).  The amazing thing is that all four of us who made the trip thought that this was a pretty decent comic book movie. 

While I did have some issues with Ang Lee's version of the Hulk from 2003, I don't tend to bash it as bad as most people I don't think.  That being said, this newer reboot of the Hulk franchise is definitely a better movie.  There is more action and it picks up pretty quickly with a Bourne Ultimatum-like chase over the rooftops of a city in Portugal that culminates in Bruce Banner's first transformation into the Hulk of the movie.   The CG on this Hulk is more detailed and his movements are much smoother and more realistic than the previous on-screen version. 

Edward Norton's turn as Bruce Banner is pretty solid I thought.  He did a good job of portraying the emotions and the strains that Banner goes through with each change he undergoes.  His chemistry with Liv Tyler (Betty Ross) was also much more believeable than Eric Bana's and Jennifer Connelly's in the previous film.  It was also nice to see Tim Roth on screen in something other than a Tarantino flick (I know he's been in quite a few, I just haven't seen them).  General Ross seemed a little flat which was a slight disappointment because William Hurt is usually so good.  The character was still downright cold-hearted but Hurt didn't have the intensity that Sam Elliot did 5 years ago. 

There was no 'Puny Humans!', but there was a nice thunder clap and a 'Hulk Smash!' which didn't make the first movie so that was cool.  There were also a couple nice little nods to the old tv series (Banner's eyes turning green just before he changes, Banner dropping out of the helicopter and crashing into the ground, and apparently the movie opening mirrored the old tv opening - thanks to Chuck for that, it's been ages since I've seen the tv show and never would have picked up on that). 

*** 1/2 - All in all, this is a pretty good fun summer-time flick.  It clocks in at almost two hrs, but moves along pretty well.  Unlike alot of other Marvel films, there is no teaser clip post-credits (what could have been used as such was slipped in as the final sce
ne of the movie) so if you do check this out, don't waste your time sitting around afterwards.  

Be sure to check back tomorrow when I pull my review for Iron Man 2 from the archive!


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