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Iron Man Smashs The Hulk

  • Aug 14, 2008
  • by
Rating:
-3

Don't tell the Army or his girlfriend, but Bruce Banner has a secret identity. When he's angry, he turns into Jason Bourne.

The second attempt this decade to launch a film franchise around "The Incredible Hulk" (whose idea was it to hire Ang Lee to direct "The Hulk"? Did Ingmar Bergman turn them down?) is a much more satisfying experience than the first one. Director Louis Leterrier ("The Transporter"), not previously known for plausibility or restraint, gets this one going in Brazil, with some nifty, stones-in-your-shoes grit reminiscent of (though not as skillfully realized as) the chase scenes in the "Bourne" movies.

Scientist Bruce Banner has been hiding out in South America–maybe for as long as five years–after he stumbled into an experiment that left him with strange memories of a chlorophyll-colored rampage that left several dead and his own girlfriend (Liv Tyler) hospitalized. It turns out he was an unwitting victim of a fell military experiment intended to turn a human into the kind of weapon that makes tanks and helicopters want to call in sick.

Like the show, the movie has an unusually somber mood. Hulk is one of the few comic-book superheroes–or is he more of a supermonster?–whose other half never wanted him around in the first place. Banner wants an antidote so he can put himself out of his misery, and as Bixby once did Norton spends a lot of time wandering lonely roads in the hard, cold rain.

Hulk is also, for all his aggression issues, a strangely passive figure. He is defined by his enemies. If people were nice to Banner, evil Shrek would never be seen again. That leads to a storyline that is more about running away to live another day than accomplishing anything, although to its credit the movie realizes this and devises a way to change gears.

Still, unlike Spidey or Supe, the Hulk is not a man putting on a costume. He is a mutant, a ridiculous-looking creature, and it's hard to get emotionally attached to him. This is especially true during the film's climax, which may be highly commercial but is, like the endings of "Transformers" and "Iron Man,"nothing more interesting than two giant beings clobbering each other as in a WWE smackdown (and with the outcome equally easy to predict).

"Iron Man" is otherwise easily superior to "The Incredible Hulk,"though. (Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark makes an appearance here that the movie plays as a surprise ending, but the TV commercial has already given it away). Stark's wit, his flair, the way everything comes easily to him and he makes the ladies purr, are all the opposite of what Bruce Banner brings to the party, and there is nothing in this movie remotely as much fun as Tony's devilish wisecracks or his flirty bantering with Pepper Potts.

Norton is, like Downey, a much better actor than we deserve in a superhero movie, but unlike Downey he puts intensity above having fun. His Hulk is the superhero equivalent of the guy who couldn't get a prom date. Hulk roar. Hulk rampage. But Hulk lonely and Hulk sad.

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March 01, 2009
Funny review . So, you have a dissenting opinion. Cool. Haven't seen it yet myself.
 
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About the reviewer
Kevin Pak ()
I'm a total nerd. I like comic books, science fiction books and movies, and I like LOST. I also used to be a huge World of Warcraft junkie but I don't have a whole lot of time for that. The X-Men are … more
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A more accessible and less heavy-handed movie than Ang Lee's 2003 Hulk Louis Leterrier'sThe Incredible Hulkis a purely popcorn love affair with Marvel's raging, green superhero, as well as the old television series starring Bill Bixby as Dr. David Banner and Lou Ferrigno as the beast within him. Edward Norton takes up where Eric Bana left off in Lee's version, playing Bruce (that's the character's original name) Banner, a haunted scientist always on the move. Trying to eliminate the effects of a military experiment that turns him into the Hulk whenever his emotions get the better of him, Banner is hiding out in Brazil at the film's beginning. Working in a bottling plant and communicating via email with an unidentified professor who thinks he can help, Banner goes postal when General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross and a small army turn up to grab him. Intent on developing whatever causes Banner's metamorphoses into a weapon, Ross brings along a quietly der! anged soldier named Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth), who wants Ross to turn him into a supersoldier who can take on the Hulk. The adventure spreads to the U.S., where Banner hooks up with his old lover (and Ross' daughter), Betty (Liv Tyler), and where the Hulk takes on several armed assaults, including one in a pretty unusual location: a college campus. The film's action is impressive, though the computer-generated creature is disappointingly cartoonish, and a second monster ...
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Details

Director: Louis Leterrier
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Release Date: June 13, 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Zak Penn
DVD Release Date: October 21, 2008
Runtime: 1hr 52min
Studio: Marvel, Universal Pictures, Valhalla Motion Pictures
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