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Movie Review, The Incredible Hulk

The Incredible Hulk: Most Improved But Not the Best

Bringing Marvel's Hulk to the big screen is a challenging undertaking. For one thing, the idea of the Hulk is just funny: when a guy loses his temper he morphs into a giant green monster who smashes things. Plus, that green monster in ripped-up pants is just cartoonish, any way you slice it. You can always update Iron Man's suit with sleeker corners and more abilities or give Batman cooler gadgets, but how do you make a green monster-man something today's audience will take seriously?

So, given these obstacles, and the fact that Ang Lee did everyone a favor by demonstrating what not to do if you want the fanboys to show up, the most recent incarnation of The Incredible Hulk is pretty much a success. All things considered, the CGI looks great, there is plenty of action to keep hearts pounding, and Ed Norton and Liv Tyler turn in wonderful performances with the lines they have. That said, it's no Iron Man and I'm about 99.9% sure once The Dark Knight hits theaters we may all forget this movie even happened.

To find out why this Incredible Hulk will be remembered as the superhero movie that gave us something to do between Iron Man and Dark Knight,


First of all, it's worth the ticket price alone to see Ed Norton with this much screen time. Despite the fact that he isn't given much material to work with and not a minute is spent on character development, he still manages to convey the emotional toll that spontaneous, out-of-control monster transformation can take on a person. I was also pleasantly surprised by the chemistry Norton and Tyler have together.

Taking a cue from the movie itself, I'm not going to waste time on plot, and you just kind of accept certain things about each of the characters. For example, Norton's Bruce Banner is very concerned with the weapons General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross (played by a superbly chilly William Hurt) will create with the science behind whatever turns Bruce into the Hulk. I'm not sure where Bruce's initial concern comes from, nor do I understand what motivates Thunderbolt's obsession. But right when this started to bother me, the movie kicked into high gear with lots of action sequences and scary CGI and I forgot what I was puzzling over before.

It's in this way that the pendulum swings just a bit too far in the other direction from Lee's film. Sure, it can be boring to spend too much time building up the sad events that lead to the Hulk's creation. But when you nearly banish all dialogue and scenes that include a little humanity, you end up with a fun ride that lacks a heart (despite the cast's best efforts to inject one). So, while I laughed (it has some genuinely witty moments) and clung to my chair (Poor Hulk! Stop shooting at him!) I didn't leave with the emotional connection I had with Iron Man.

In any other year a B+ superhero movie would be something to get excited about. But 2008 is shaping up to be the summer of the superhero — and everyone else is bringing their A-game.

To see the trailer and more clips from The Incredible Hulk, visit


Join The Conversation
Kodama Kodama 9 years
I want to know the brand of eyeglasses Liv Tyler wore in The Incredible Hulk. The frames are a beautiful shade of dark green. Can anyone help? thanks!
Mariana48 Mariana48 9 years
it was a good movie, entertaining but iron man was most definetly better. either way i love edward norton, he's a terrific actor
bbqueen bbqueen 9 years
I agree with everything from Sugar's review... The movie could have been great, but there just wasn't enough there. It's one thing to beat your audience over the head with character development but its certainly another to not give them anything at all.
eveday eveday 9 years
I've watched the movie and the only thing that makes me sad is that I'm not in theater right now watching it again. I FREAKING LOVED IT! It was a lesson for Mr. Lee in how to make a superhero film. There were some tiny flaws -- I'm Brazilian so I got to see non-Brazilian actors screwing our Portuguese up, but Edward Norton is just perfect as Bruce Banner, William Hurt is fantastic, Tim Roth, well...I wish he would have spoken more during the film (he's one of my top five favorite actors) and even Liv Tyler, who is normally not as good as Jennifer Connely, is a waaaaaaaay better than her in this film (Connelly looked doped in that heinous 2003 film). The "tornado" clap, the "HULK SMASH!" and the fight with The Abomination were simply breathtaking. I'm going to watch it again (but I have tests on June, 29th so I hate to wait until there). P.S.: And for those who wanted this film to be as "witty" as Iron Man, let me explain one thing: Hulk is not a character that allows too many little jokes and sarcasm. Bruce Banner is a melancholic character, who has to run from the law and control his temper all the time, not a millionaire womanizer like Tony Stark. You can't compare both.
tepiza tepiza 9 years
I heard Ed Norton refused to promote the movie because he was not happy with the way it turned out.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
I grew up watching David B. Banner on the small screen, and I always loved how when he turned into the Hulk, it was a regular dude getting mad and his chemicals go out of whack and he turns into this hulking ripped giant monster man with glandular issues. His shirt ripped, his jeans always fit the same. It was believable. I mean no man is going to change into a monster as big as the one on this movie and have his pants still fit. The CGI Hulk still looks CGI and it cant fool my brain into thinking otherwise, its a comic book character I understand that, but its also not about being completely fake after all its not a cartoon. Edward Norton, although i love him, Is too whiny to be bruce banner, he was always a man who had a deep emotional depth but never once was whiny about it. I dont know why they remade it.
Nitachequita Nitachequita 9 years
I enjoyed this movie, but I totally agree with Buzz. I wonder how the movie would have been had Marvel allowed the Director to leave in more character development. It didn't hurt Iron Man and it certainly would have helped IH. Love love love Ed.
halfbakedjake halfbakedjake 9 years
The only reason I want to see this is for the Tony Stark cameo. Yes. Sad. I know.
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
Being a Comic Book Nerd, I don't think this looks very good. Hulk was one of the ones I always sort of thought shouldn't be made into a movie, but who listens to me? :-) But I'll probably see it anyway, sometimes I just feel like watching something that isn't deep, isn't thought provoking, and has lots of action. Sounds like this is it
divinedebris divinedebris 9 years
I will still see this movie with the hopes that I don't fall asleep like I did during the last Hulk movie, seriously. I'll wait and hold judgment until I see Dark Knight, and then decide if it was a good comic book adaptation. :) It has to be better than Fantastic Four.
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