The Incredible Hulk (2008): An Introspective Hulk Film

The Incredible Hulk

I have never been a fan of the Hulk. The idea intrigued me initially but there is only so much you can do with a big giant monster inside of a man…the story is really in that of Bruce Banner, a man trying to deal with what was done with him and no longer be a danger to himself and others. But more often than not it becomes “Hulk vs “Big Bad” or “Other Tough Hero,” which is weak storytelling.

“The Incredible Hulk,” is the next leg on our Disney Marvel Franchise Adventure, though this too predates Disney’s buyout of Marvel Studious. It was initially released by Universal. I’m including it though because it gives us the backstory of Hulk/Bruce Banner before he joins the Avengers. The movie was directed by Louis Leterrier and had music by Craig Armstrong.

The premise of the film is Bruce Banner is a test subject in a scheme by the military to create super soldiers. It goes wrong and he becomes the Hulk and is on the run from the general who is the father of the woman he loves.

Here is the assessment of the film:

Pros: Bruce Banner/The Hulk – Edward Norton does a fantastic job as Bruce Banner and the Hulk. He gives the role in introspection it needs to elevate beyond a mindless monster mash and his relationships whether they be at the factory Brazil he is working at while hiding, his girlfriend Betty played by Liv Tyler and the General and Emil Blonsky. Edward Norton was good but I got to hand it to Mark Ruffalo for carrying on the role so well and making it his own.

Emil Blonsky/The Abomination – He is is a soldier for hire who is actually compelling. You see a guy who cares about his troops and loves fighting but eventually the adrenaline rush from the super soldier serum and later the Hulk Serum overwhelm him making him an addict living only for the fight and destruction. Abomination’s design is pretty cool, though I wish Tim Roth as Blonsky proper could have defeated the Hulk without it. He is eventually captured and turned in when Hulk is used against him when he is destroying the city. Tim Roth owns this role and is spectacular.

The music – The music has so much tension in it…and an introspective feel. It captures the Hulk done right, perfectly.

The Reveal – Tony Stark goes to General Ross and tells him “I told you the Super Soldier Program,was a bad idea. I’m putting a team together.” Tying us into the Avengers and where this movie is in the Franchise. It is a great scene, but most scenes are with Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark.

Okay: Betty – Liv Tyler does alright but she doesn’t elevate anything. She is there to show the Hulk can be tender as the Hulk and that is about it. She should have got more to do or been a greater threat to her father.

Dr. Sterns – Is the man trying to help Bruce Banner control his condition. He is Mr. Blue throughout the the film (an anonymous person helping Banner find a cure). His story ends with Banner blood getting in his head implying he may become The Leader in future films. He is okay, the idealist who is also reckless and curious…he just isn’t memorable.

The Writing – It isn’t strong, there is a fair amount of telling and not showing…but it isn’t bad either. It is the definition of okay.

Cons: General Ross – He is the mindless military guy, we don’t even have a justification for why he wants super soldiers (cause that could never go wrong…). The only good moment is when he lets Hulk take on Abomination.

The Final Fight – To big monsters fight each other and they aren’t even Kaiju…not really my thing. Interesting fights have strategy which I didn’t see much of from Hulk or Abomination.

The film was alright. It isn’t quite solid good because some of the bigger problems of either characters like Stern, Ross and Betty not being fully explored…but it does have some good ideas. It was as good of movie a “Hulk” movie could be at this point…though I would like to be proven wrong. I just don’t think Hulk can properly carry a great film on his own.

My final score for this is 7.5 / 10.

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