The Oscar Project Reviews
Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) arrives with his alter ego, The Incredible Hulk, in the second film set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Unlike Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk drops us right into the story with little background on how Banner found himself in this predicament other than some broken flashbacks during the opening credits. From the beginning, this film feels less cohesive, not sure exactly if it's an origin story (it's not) or a story about Hulk finding himself and becoming one of the "good guys."
Hulk also feels like it is trying to give too many nods to the past portrayals of the big green guy. Lou Ferrigno makes what feels like an obligatory cameo in one scene, Banner utters the now famous line that "you wouldn't like me when I'm angry," and Betty Ross (Liv Tyler) shows up with super baggy purple pants as an option for him to wear. While they're funny, they get old quick and you just want the film to get back to the story at hand.
That story ends up going all over the place. As I noted above, we drop in with Banner on the run in Brazil at the beginning of the film and soon end up with him making his way through Central America back to the U.S. to try and find a mysterious "Mr. Blue" he has been communicating with online. The core cast is small, including Norton, Tyler, William Hurt as Ross's father, General Thaddeus Ross, and Tim Roth as Emil Blonsky, the special forces soldier tasked with taking down Banner. There is little chemistry between any of the actors and similar levels of character development. The filmmakers try to show the relationship between Betty and Banner during one scene with them together in a cave, but it falls flat.
One last note is the effects in this film. It is obvious that Hulk is entirely computer animated throughout the film, but the animation here looks generally cartoonish. In many scenes, Hulk doesn't feel like he's part of the world so much as animated on top of the scenery around him. There is also some inconsistency in the size of the Hulk. In certain scenes he appears to be a mere 10-12 feet tall while in others,like when he rips apart a police car to use as boxing gloves, he comes across much bigger.
It may not be fair to compare this film to Iron Man as the two characters are from different worlds, but after the thrill of the first MCU film, this one is a big disappointment. Unlike Iron Man, it was not nominated for any Academy Awards. If you're going through the films to catch up like I am, this is worth a watch, but this is definitely one of the lesser MCU films.
5 out of 10
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