Not So Jolly Green Giant – An Incredible Hulk Review

[[image:hulk01.jpg:Holy crap! It’s Bill Bixby’s Zombie!:left:0]]The new movie from Marvel Studios entitled The Incredible Hulk has been released. The movie is about a man who has been altered by an overdose of gamma radiation causing him to transform into the nine feet tall, green-skinned monstrous creature known as the Hulk.

The movie is directed by Louis Leterrier and stars Academy Award winning actor Edward Norton as Bruce Banner, Liv Tyler as Betty Ross, William Hurt as General “Thunderbolt” Ross, Tim Roth as Emil Blonsky and Tim Blake Nelson as Samuel Sterns. Ty Burrell also makes an appearance as psychiatrist Dr. Leonard Samson.

Oh, who am I kidding. This isn’t really a review for the unwashed masses.

This is me hulking out comic book geek style over an awesome comic book-turned-movie, which is in my opinion, a hundred times better than the 2003 Ang Lee movie only entitled Hulk which I first saw when it was shown on TV3 last week.

I fell asleep before the end. But that Hulk is really bright green though. Really bright green.

Beyond this point, SPOILERS shall patrol the streets. You have been warned.

When Universal Pictures failed to produce a sequel to Ang Lee’s Hulk, the rights of the character reverted to Marvel Studios, who immediately slotted the Hulk into its grand vision of a unified Marvel Movie Universe. The first movie in that grand vision was released last month.

This is the second movie.

We start with Bruce Banner in Brazil living incognito trying to find a cure for his… condition… with the help of an internet friend known as “Mr. Blue”. However, he finds the cure for his being incognito instead. General Ross brings in a Royal Marine from the UK named Emil Blonsky, and at his first glimpse of the Hulk during his mission volunteers to undergo the super soldier serum treatment. Bruce decides to return home to meet with “Mr. Blue” who might already be able to cure him. Along the way is joined by his former girlfriend Betty Ross who provides him with the data needed by “Mr. Blue” to create a cure.[[image:hulk02.jpg:Roar by Lou Ferrigno:right:0]]

“Mr. Blue” is revealed to be Dr. Samuel Sterns. But after Bruce is successfully captured by Ross’ team at Sterns’ Lab, Blonsky forces Sterns to infuse Bruce’s gamma irradiated blood into him. However, the mix of Bruce’s blood and the super soldier serum in his body and bone marrow transforms Blonsky into the abomination known as the Abomination. Meanwhile during the fracas, drops of Bruce’s blood falls onto Stern’s open head wound and the shape of his head starts to change…

The climax of the movie is, of course, the Hulk – Abomination throwdown in the streets and rooftops of New York City.

Point by Point

  • Although this is sort of a reboot, but it’s written so fans of the 2003 Hulk movie can more or less fit it into the movie’s background story because the events surrounding the creation of the Hulk is only shown in quick cuts during the opening title. Yes. There is no origin story to waste time on except for the first 3 minutes or so. We get straight to the story.
  • This is an amalgamation of not just the comics, but the 70s TV series starring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno.
  • Among the TV callbacks: There is a student journalist named Jack McGee interviewed at Culver University, “Don’t make me hungry… you don’t like me when I’m hungry“, the green eyes precursor to the transformation, the sad and poignant Lonely Man theme makes an appearance, the name David B. used by Bruce in the end, and the Gamma radiation chair looks almost like the one in the TV series.
  • Bill Bixby gets a cameo… of sorts.
  • Lou Ferrigno makes an appearance as a university security guard, and is also credited as the voice of the Hulk!
  • Stan Lee also makes his regular Marvel movie cameo appearance, and this time it moves the story forward!
  • Two more gamma irradiated villains make appearances the Abomination (this movie’s bad guy) and the Leader (set up to be the next movie’s bad guy).
  • The Super Soldier Serum that created Captain America makes an appearance, which alters Emil Blonsky and gives us a glimpse of what is in store for us in The First Avenger movie due in 2011.[[image:hulk03-avengers.jpg:Avengers Assemble!:right:0]]
  • We get an amusing explanation why his pants don’t split at the waist when Bruce hulks out.
  • Weapons for General Ross as seen in the graphics of the opening title is manufactured by Stark Industries.
  • Some patented Hulk moves, like the devastating ground punch and the concussive hand clap, are used.
  • Oh, and “HULK SMASH!”
  • Some scenes from the trailer never made it onto the print. The scene where Bruce talks with Doc Samson at Betty’s house, for one, which had the effect of Doc Samson being inexplicably fine with his girlfriend running off his her former boyfriend.
  • The other scene which didn’t seem to make it is the trek in the Arctic snow, which according to some sources is part of a scene where Bruce attempts to commit suicide there and discovers the site of Captain America’s body in the ice, entombed there since World War 2.
  • Edward Norton is a fine actor, but there wasn’t really anyone for him to play against in the script, like the scenes Robert Downey Jr. had with Terrence Howard, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeff Bridges (and even his basement waldos) in Iron Man. His scenes with Liv Tyler is pretty run-of-the-mill. He should have gotten a fantastic Oh snap! Someone got told scene with General Ross when Blonsky starts his rampage, but all we got from the script was a brief, “One of yours, General?” What a missed opportunity. In fact there weren’t any real good conversation scenes between Norton and William Hurt.

Coda

Marvel Studios’ resolve to create a unified Marvel movie universe shows in this second Marvel Studios produced movie. And they hit the ball out of the park when the [[popup:ironman01.jpg:star of the first movie::inline:1]] makes an appearance at the very end of the movie to General Ross to address him about the “big problem” the General is having, and tells him, “We’re setting up a team.”

I can’t wait for the third installment of our journey towards the Avengers movie. Will the next movie be Iron Man 2, or Ant Man, or Thor? Or even perhaps Hulk 2?

Let’s hope Marvel Studios do not slack off in the coming months because of two knockout hits under their belt.

Posted in Comics, Movie Review and tagged , , , .

Khairul Hisham J. is a tabletop RPG artist, writer, proofreader, translator, teacher, grad student and learner-in-general.

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