Can you imagine that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is 11 years old this year? It’s absolutely insane, other franchises have died and gotten rebooted multiple times in less time than that. So let’s have a looked at one of the more maligned entries in the series… 2008’s The Incredible Hulk.
After having become the Hulk and destroyed some stuff once, Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) has gone on the run and hidden himself in one of Brazil’s many favelas. But he soon has to come out of hiding when he’s found by an American special ops team led by General Mustache “Thaddeus” Ross (William Hurt). So we basically just follow Banner as he tries to find a way to reverse the Hulking while trying to not get killed by General Mustache, the military, and a highly skilled soldier named Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth). So yeah, it’s not the most layered, emotional, or well-written plot in movie history… but it’s still a really solid Hulk story. It does give us a decent look into the tragedy of Banner’s life, showing how he can never settle down again, that he’ll always have to look over his shoulder. Now, it doesn’t go all the way in showing the perfect Hulk story, but it’s certainly a lot more interesting and exciting than the last big-screen effort about the Green Goliath.
Everybody love’s Ruffahulk in Avengers and everything afterwards… but can we all just take a second to appreciate just how good Edward Norton was in the role. For one, his slender frame is a nice contrast to the radioactive beefcake that is the Hulk. And secondly, he just gives a generally great performance where he’s likeable and sympathetic when he needs to, and tragic when he needs to. The scenes we see after he’s transformed back into Banner after being Hulk are some of the best ones for that, as it gives us a fairly realistic look at what making that transformation would be like… it would be like the worst hangover ever, basically.
Liv Tyler plays Betty, Bruce’s former girlfriend that he had to leave because, you know… Hulk. She does a decent enough job in her role, even though her material can feel slightly lacking at times. Tim Roth as Emil Blonsky is a bit of fun, as he’s this cocky soldier constantly looking for a real challenge, and he is a really interesting presence throughout the movie. William Hurt as General Mustache is as military general as it gets, and I love him for it. The rest of the supporting cast does a good job as well.
The score is fairly standard, with the most unique piece probably being a certain familiar theme. The direction by Louis Leterrier is pretty solid as well. Leterrier isn’t exactly the best director out there, but the man knows how to give a movie a fun sense of impact and energy that keeps a steady pace that translates both into the plot and the action scenes (the latter of which are a ton of fun, especially one involving Hulk and some humvees). And yeah, the visual effect for the time look great.
I always enjoyed this movie quite a bit, but it often got harshly dumped on by plenty of people. I can kind of see where they come from, but I also disagree a lot about it. But in general, does it hold up? Yeah, I’d say so. Sure, it doesn’t have the depth of some of the later movies in the series, or even the first Iron Man, but The Incredible Hulk is still a highly enjoyable entry within the MCU, and I will happily come back to watch it at least once a year. If I had to give it a score I guess I’d give it an 8/10… I think that’s a fair score for it.
Have a good one.
Directed by: Louis Leterrier
Cast: Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, William Hurt, Tim Blake Nelson