Movie Review: The Incredible Hulk
The Entertainment Critic Movie Review
In Theatres Now Review
Opened June 13, 2008
By James Myers
Rating: 8 of 10
Director: Ang Lee
Writers (WGA): Stan Lee (Marvel comic book character) and
Jack Kirby (Marvel comic book character)...
Release Date: 20 June 2003 (USA) more view trailer
Genre: Action Drama Fantasy Sci-Fi Thriller more
Tagline: Unleash the fury!
Plot: A geneticist's experimental accident curses him with the tendency to become a powerful giant green brute under emotional stress.
Plot Keywords: X Ray Diffraction Dream Sequence Barefoot Crushed To Death Shaving more
Awards: 1 win & 8 nominations more
Cast (Cast overview, first billed only)
Eric Bana ... Bruce Banner
Jennifer Connelly ... Betty Ross
Sam Elliott ... Ross
Josh Lucas ... Talbot
Nick Nolte ... Father
Paul Kersey ... Young David Banner
Cara Buono ... Edith Banner
Todd Tesen ... Young Ross
Kevin Rankin ... Harper
Celia Weston ... Mrs. Krensler
Mike Erwin ... Teenage Bruce Banner
Lou Ferrigno ... Security Guard
Stan Lee ... Security Guard
Regi Davis ... Security Guard
Craig Damon ... Security Guard
MPAA: Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, some disturbing images and brief partial nudity.
Parents Guide: View content advisory for parents
Runtime: 138 min
Language: English Spanish
Aspect Ratio: 1.85: 1 more
Sound Mix: DTS-ES Dolby Digital EX SDDS
Company: Universal Pictures more
To say that there was concern when this picture opened would be an understatement. There had already been a television series and another failed motion picture, but the Marvel Comics movies have peaked the public interest. In this regard, The Incredible Hulk was surprising entertaining and successful. The Incredible Hulk is a 2008 superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character the Hulk, which was released on June 13, 2008. It is directed by Louis Leterrier and stars Edward Norton as Bruce Banner / the Hulk, Liv Tyler as Betty Ross, William Hurt as General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross, and Tim Roth as Emil Blonsky / the Abomination. The film follows Banner as he flees the pursuit of General Ross while attempting to find a cure to rid himself of the Hulk. When Blonsky personally volunteers to be injected with Banner's gamma formula to aid Ross in his capture, he becomes an even greater monster, and Banner must accept his inner beast to defeat Blonsky.
A series of flashback shots show the gamma radiation accident that transformed scientist Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) into the Hulk, and hospitalized his lover Betty Ross (Liv Tyler). Now a fugitive from the United States Army, and Betty's father, General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross (William Hurt), Banner goes on the run for five years. He settles in Brazil, working in a soft drink bottling factory while attempting to find a cure for his condition with the help of an Internet friend, "Mr. Blue". He also studies martial arts and meditative breathing techniques with a Brazilian Jujitsu expert (Rickson Gracie) to help control his emotions, and has not suffered a transformation for five months.
After Banner suffers a cut, and his blood drips into a soda bottle eventually drank by an ill-fated consumer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Stan Lee), Ross discovers Banner's location, and sends a team to capture him, led by Russian-born British special operations expert Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth). Following a ferocious battle in the soft drink bottling plant where he transforms into the Hulk, Banner escapes Blonsky, and ends up in Guatemala. He travels to the United States, where he sees that a now-recovered Betty is working at Culver University and is dating psychiatrist Leonard Samson (Ty Burrell). He also sees his old friend Stanley, a pizzeria owner, who gives him a job as a delivery boy. Banner uses this job to sneak past a security guard (Lou Ferrigno) to continue his research. After Betty visits the pizzeria and sees Bruce, she later reunites with him.
Blonsky reports to Ross that Banner evaded them in Brazil because of the appearance of a large green monster. Ross explains that the monster is Banner, and that he was created accidentally during an experiment in radiation-resistance that was inspired by World War II era military bio-force enhancement research (or "Super-Soldiers", as Blonsky puts it). Blonsky, seeking both revenge and power, volunteers as a test subject in order to capture Banner, and receives a small dose of the mothballed original Vita Ray serum. He leads an assault on Banner at Culver University, during which Betty is knocked unconscious. Despite Blonsky's increased strength, speed and agility, the Hulk crushes most of the bones in Blonsky's body. The Hulk saves Betty from an explosion and escapes with her to the Smoky Mountain National Forest.
Banner and Betty then travel to Empire State University in New York City, where they meet "Mr. Blue", Samuel Sterns (Tim Blake Nelson). Accompanying Sterns to his lab, Banner and Betty learn that Sterns has developed a possible antidote that may cure Banner's condition or merely reverse each individual transformation while an overdose could kill him. Despite the risks, Banner agrees to test Sterns' antidote and is restrained before being shocked into transforming with electricity before being reverted to normal with an injection of the serum. Exhilarated by the success of the antidote, Sterns reveals that he has synthesized Banner's blood sample into a large supply with the intention of using it to enhance the human condition to the next evolutionary level. Appalled by what Sterns had done and fearful of the Hulk's power falling into the wrong hands, Banner attempts to convince Sterns to destroy the blood supply but is shot by a tranquillizer from one of General Ross' snipers.
As both Banner and Betty are taken into custody, Blonsky, whose super-soldier treatment has healed all his injuries but is desperate for more power, demands Sterns subject him to a dose of the Banner's gamma radiation treatment. Sterns warns that the combination of the Super Soldier formula and a gamma treatment would be an unpredictable combination that could turn him into an "abomination". Blonsky is less than concerned about this, and Sterns promptly administers the gamma charge. As Blonsky mutates into the monstrous Abomination, he knocks Sterns aside and an irradiated sample of Banner's blood-derivative drips into an open wound on Sterns’ temple, causing his cranium to mutate and expand. In an attempt to draw the Hulk out, the Abomination goes on a rampage through Harlem and Banner, realizing that he is the only one who can stop the Abomination, convinces General Ross to release him. He jumps out of Ross' helicopter as it hovers over the city, hoping the fall will stimulate his adrenal glands into triggering a transformation. Banner's plan succeeds and after a brutal battle the Hulk manages to defeat the Abomination by strangling him with a huge chain, though he releases his grip after a plea from Betty. The Abomination collapses and the Hulk flees the scene with the army in hot pursuit.
Thirty-one days later, Banner is in Bella Coola, British Columbia. Instead of trying to suppress his transformations, he is attempting to initiate them in a controlled manner. As his eyes turn green, a grin appears on his face. Meanwhile, General Ross is drinking in a bar when he is approached by Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) who reveals that a "team" is being put together.
The film is well-directed and the special effects were striking. The performances by Norton and Liv Tyler are excellent, giving the film an authentic quality. William Hurt as the military figure Ross is convincing as an obsessed, stop at nothing Army man. The best performance in the film goes to Tim Ross, the everyman of acting and motion pictures. His Emil Blonsky is convincing and a bad guy who inspires fear and tension in the picture, making the movie fun. Tim Blake Nelson as the overzealous scientist was perfect in his role, and a scene stealer. Overall, this was a great job by a good cast.
In its opening weekend, the film grossed an estimated $54.5 million in 3,505 theaters in the United States and Canada, ranking #1 at the box office. Behind Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, it was the second-highest gross for a film released over a Father's Day weekend. This surpassed the Los Angeles Times’ report of expectations of a $45 million opening, following the disappointing response to the 2003 film. Universal believed word of mouth will contribute to the film eventually breaking even. A Cinemascope poll indicated the majority of viewers were male and graded the film an A-, and 82% of them had seen the 2003 film. It also opened in thirty-eight other countries, which added $31 million to the total opening. You can count on a sequel.
Overall, this was a fun action joyride that I give a big thumbs up to. It is a great summer film, and it definitely overcame the shortcomings of both the television show and the prior film. Rate this one a pleasant summer surprise, buy an extra large popcorn and enjoy the picture.
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