16 June 2008

Incredible Hulk

Third Time could be the Charm

Well, The Incredible Hulk was better than Hulk. That is a start. The problem with the first was that there was not enough action and a crappy story. So, this time around, they had more action, but still a stupid story. With a running time just shy of 2 hours, this revisit to the Incredible Hulk franchise was still flat. Louis Leterrier directed a better cast than Ang Lee had, but still managed to get nothing out of them. Leterrier had a lot of talent go wasted on this film. Edward Norton was a better Banner than Eric Bana. Liv Tyler was a better Betty Ross than Jennifer Connelly. William Hurt and Sam Elliot were about the same as Gen. Thunderbolt Ross. What was sad was the fact that the better acting still did not help this film. The preview had a few scenes not in the movie, which is not uncommon. But to have heard just before the release that the Blu-Ray release was going to have 70 minutes of deleted footage was disheartening. I feel that if they had 70 extra minutes, some of it was probably relevant for the movie. Also before the film, it was made public that Norton was not satisfied with the final cut of the film. This was not unusual either, as I have read that he is rarely happy with the cuts of his films. If this is the case, why does he not direct more films himself? So, going into this movie, I am aware that there is a whole other chapter missing from the movie, and the star hates this cut. These factors will weigh in on its box office performance.

Onward now to the movie itself. It opens with Banner on the run and on the down-low in Latin America working in a bottling plant. He fled to Brazil at the end of Hulk. Is this a sequel or not? During the opening credits we see a slightly different sequence of events that puts Banner on the run from Gen. Ross and the American government. To sum that up, he gets exposed to Gamma radiation and tears up the lab that he worked in, hurt Betty and Gen. Ross, and then fled. Anyway, the government tracks him down. They send in a platoon of soldiers who are to capture Banner. The platoon is lead by Emil Blonsky, played by Tim Roth. This character is from the comics and does become Abomination there, too. After some action, Banner transforms into Hulk and escapes. Blonsky then volunteers for an experimental drug to help even the playing field with Hulk. More action and we see Blonsky go toe to toe with Hulk in America. Banner returns to the U.S. to seek help from Prof. Samuel Sterns, played by Tim Blake Nelson. His role here is reminiscent of Terrence Howard in Iron Man. They both took small roles here in hopes of a sequel. Prof. Stern becomes the supervillian The Leader in the Marvel Universe. Anyway, Blonsky gets greedy and ends up with an overdose of the serum, and turns into the villain known as Abomination. Now, the government hast two super huge uncontrollable monsters on the loose.

Throughout the movie, Betty and Bruce try to rekindle their old relationship. This of course requires her to lie to her father, who is tipped off by her new boyfriend, who had at least one scene cut from the film. From the beginning, Bruce is trying to find ways of controlling the rage and power of the Hulk. Betty’s boyfriend is a psychologist, who, in the preview, tries to help Bruce. Bruce is also seen in the beginning learning to fight without letting his heart rate increase. This is a part of the story that I feel should have happened in full. This storyline could have allowed this movie to separate itself from the original. Anyway, Betty tries to help Bruce in finding Stern who thinks he can help cure Bruce. Ironically, while trying to help Bruce, Stern is exposed to some gamma infected blood in an open wound in his head, leading to the future transformation in the aforementioned villain The Leader. This also occurs at the same time Blonsky is overdosed turning into Abomination. Stern is then forgotten and left behind as we proceed to the CGI finale battle between CGI Hulk and CGI Abomination. It reminded me a lot of the non-epic battle at the end of Hulk between Hulk and the Nick Nolte-villain. The battle was what you would expect of two CGI characters fighting. In the end, Hulk triumphs and then flees. The last scene, we see Bruce meditating to try and keep the beast at bay. Or do we? Verdict: A must-see for all comic book fans, but a rental for anyone else. Sadly, I doubt this film will match its $135 million budget or even reach its predecessor’s dismal $132 million take back in 2004 despite better reviews due the two reasons mentioned earlier. So, will it earn a sequel? Who knows? The cameo from Robert Downey, Jr. at the end should help. They keep adding these references to a movie for The Avengers. I am game, but Thor will be the hard buy on that film.

No comments: