The Hulk Really is Incredible

A text message arrives early on Monday from an inside man: Wanna see the Hulk premier tonight? Since the movie isn’t officially released until Friday, how could I say no?

The Zeigfeld had nary an empty seat when we finally arrived– luckily seats were assigned. Ours were in the rear on the right, but afforded quite a good view. Before the showing began, a representative from the Marvel Board of Directors, Marvel chief Joe Quesada, and two of the producers stood and said a few words about the movie and about the history of Marvel’s return to silver screen glory, beginning with the first X-Men movie through to today. They carefully avoided saying anything bad about a certain previous attempt to bring Bruce Banner to the big screen, but instead chose to look to the future by going over the upcoming Marvel blockbusters-in-waiting (Iron Man 2, Thor , The Avengers … etc).

The Incredible Hulk begins with a really well made flickering montage of news reports, flashbacks, and article clippings giving enough history of the tribulations of Bruce Banner to orient a casual nerd like myself. The movie starts off with Bruce Banner traveling desperately far and wide looking for a cure for the Gamma poisoning that transforms him into a huge and vicious monstrosity.

The movie itself is shot in an energetic mode, with lots of busy, colorful and strange settings. Ed Norton brings Banner to life as a very talented and expressive actor– He nails Banner’s despair and sadness, as well as the occasional stab of wry humor. Tim Roth‘s power-hungry Blonsky is terrific– His jealous nature slowly overcomes any reservations he might have had and sends him spiralling into the mad Abomination with frightening speed. I couldn’t help but note that the whole conflict in the film could have been avoided if only William Hurt’s General Ross had just taken a different approach to hunting down Bruce Banner.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Incredible Hulk , and I love the way Marvel is bringing the Marvel Universe together in their movies; even as we watch the action-packed Hulk-Smash flick, the more crafty and subtle Tony Stark is not far off at all. The Incredible Hulk is definitely more like the Transformers movie– Banking on nabbing the audience with lots of action and suspense, but it’s also blessed with a lucid plot that’s interesting and occasionally gripping.

The only gripes I would make are: (1) There are some incidents that go seemingly nowhere, and unless you know the Hulk story, you wouldn’t have any idea why you just saw that happen– They’re inside ideas that leave open the possibility of another Hulk movie… and (2) once in a while, I threw up my hands with a “wtf?” because something completely absurd had just happened. These moments were thankfully few and far between and I’m willing to forgive them because the movie was so entertaining.

Score: 9 out of 10

Lets raise our glasses to more!

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