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HULK SMASH: Review of the Incredible Hulk (Spoilers)

Posted by Mister Random on June 12, 2008

One Sentence Review

Enjoyable action film with nods to the comics and the TV series

Plot Summary

The film starts out with a recap montage of how Bruce Banner became the Hulk and how things got to the situation he is currently in. Banner is currently in Brazil working at a juice bottling plant and his blood gets into a bottle which eventually leads General Ross to Banner after the traditional Sam Lee cameo appearance. After a failed attempt to capture the Hulk, Banner heads back to America to get data from the incident that made him the hulk to give to a scientist who we only know as “Mr Blue” (Banner is “Mr Green”). Meanwhile General Ross gives a low dose of a “Super Soldier” serum to Emil Blonsky who was on the team that failed to capture Banner. 

Back in America Banner goes to Bettys univeristy to try to find the data and after a Lou Ferringo cameo (TV Hulk) finds the data has been deleted. As Bruce gets ready to leave town, Betty sees him and manages to track him down and it turns out she has the data. The next morning as he gets ready to leave General Ross tracks him down after being tipped off by Bettys new boyfriend Leonard Samson, leading to another Hulk incident and Emil Blonsky gets crushed by the Hulk after putting up a good fight as he becomes overly confrontational and basically asks for it. As the attack continues Betty puts herself in harms way and the Hulk protects her and flees with her.  

Bruce and Betty then head to New York to meet with “Mr Blue” who turns out to be Samuel Sterns (aka The Leader in the comics) and they manage to successfully repress the Hulk transformation but it is not known at this time whether or not the treatment is one Hulking out only or permanent. The e-mail traffic between Sterns and Banner had led to Ross tracking them down however and Banner is captured. Blonsky who had miraculously healed from his wounds and been given a stronger dose of serum (and starts to show side effects) knocks Banner out.

Blonsky then interrogates Sterns and asks to be treated with Banners Blood in order to increase his strength to Hulk levels. Stern tells Blonsky that he could turn into an Abomination and after getting “informed consent” complies. The result of this leads to Blonsky turning into the Abomination and Sterns getting “infected” with Banners blood (possible setting up a sequal with him as the Leader). This leads to a battle between the Hulk and the Abomination which Hulk eventually wins when he subdues the Abomination (but leaves him alive). The Hulk then flees and the film closes out with Banner in Canada and turning into the Hulk followed by the Tony Stark Cameo scene

Thoughts and Analysis

I really enjoyed this film, and it seemed to have the right balance between plot and action for a Hulk film. The early part of the film were reminscent of the TV series including an amusing mistranslation in portugese of the “Dont make me angry” line. The Sam Lee cameo was also amusing though I half expected him to turn green (you will understand if you see the film) or the plot to be a She-Hulk set up. We then got some background to this version of the Hulks creation and it turns out to be a spin off from a WW2 super soldier experiment (think Captain America) and Blonsky is injected by the serum created by Doctor Reinstein. This all seems to be set up for the upcoming Captain America and Avengers movies and to me seems to fit more with the Ultimate Marvel Hulk making me wonder if all of the Marvel produced films will be influenced more by Ultimate Universe origins for heroes rather than classic universe origins.

William Hurt and Tim Roth were superb in their roles as General Ross and Emil Blonsky respectively as you could understand the motivations for their actions, there was also a reversal in their roles as General Ross started off as a totally unsympathetic character yet slightly mellowed as the film progressed while Emil Blonsky started off as sympathetic but gradually got less sympathetic as the film progressed until he became the villian of the piece. Which leads me to the weakest part of the film the end fight, I just found that there was little tension and the reason for letting Banner become the Hulk to fight it was weak, it was enjoyable nonetheless, there is a lingering question of what happened to the Adomination after the fight as he was clearly still alive, did Ross caprure and hold him, did he revert like the Hulk does (i.e. become Emil Blonsky) it does leave things open for him to return as a lacky to the Leader in Hulk 2.

Another problem I had was how quickly Betty went back to Bruce, as it had been established that she was going out with another man by the time Bruce returned yet she quickly rekindles the romantic aspect of their relationship leading to an amusing moment with a heart moniter, their wasnt even any mention of Leonard Samson the new boyfriend in the Bruce Betty conversations that I can recall. I expect it was in the rumoured 70 minutes of cut footage (along with a Captain America cameo) and that Leonard being responsible for turning Banner in ended things between them, it would have been nice to have some sort of acknowledgement in the film though.

Overall though the film was of a fairly high quality and their were enough hints and cameos to set up a sequal or two as well as tie in with the Marvel film universe. I dont think the film was as good as Iron Man (but that was a very good film) but I would rank it higher in enjoyment and plot than Spider-man 3. If you normally like comic book based action films you will enjoy the Incredible Hulk, if you dont then you will hate it. Finally dont bother staying until the end of the credits as I suspect the scene was the Iron Man Cameo but it was moved to be the final scene

Liked  

  • The Overall plot
  • The references to other Hulk comic characters
  • The SHIELD and Stark enterprises references and the gradual build up to an Avengers film
  • The Iron Man Cameo
  • The use of “Day since last Incident” on screen to denote the passage of time
  • The nods to the TV series (use of the music, Lou Ferringo cameo, opening part of film)
  • Tim Roth, William Hurt, Ed Norton: All convincing in their roles

Disliked

  • The set up for the final fight
  • Samuel Sterns, too hyper for my taste
  • Betty going back to Bruce so quickly
  • The Ambiguity over the fate of the Abomination
  • The placement of the Iron Man Cameo, it would have made more sense to be shown after or during the credits as the final Bruce Banner scene made a good ending

Rating

8/10 – Not as good as Iron Man but still a good film

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