Tuesday, August 20, 2013

'The Incredible Hulk' Review -- Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 1

(Photo Source: Marvel)
Last week, I began my blog series of reviewing all the Phase 1 films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe -- this is all part of my countdown to the premiere of ABC's Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in September. With Iron Man behind me, now it's time for The Incredible Hulk.

The Incredible Hulk
(Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase 1 -- Avengers Assembled)

Before starting to watch any of these films, I decided to watch 2003's Hulk just so I could compare the two. And now having watched both Hulk movies, I'm a little confused. Going into this, I was under the assumption The Incredible Hulk would be a reboot instead of a sequel, but the way the movie starts, it's as if they're doing a recap but decided to make a bunch of changes from the first film's plot. Hulk ended with Bruce Banner working as a doctor in a rainforest, and we first see him in Incredible working in Rio de Janeiro, not as a doctor, but still an interesting semi tie-in between the two with being in South America. (So more of a requel, I guess.)

The Incredible Hulk is by far the better of the two, though I still won't deem it a great film. (I'm so glad they got rid of the cheesy boxy transition graphics between shots and scenes--that was truly awful.)

And I'm starting to think, having seen both now, that maybe the character of the Hulk just doesn't suit this format--I don't think he can carry individual films on his own. I haven't seen The Avengers yet, but since he's part of a group in that one and not on his own, I'm hoping it'll be better since he doesn't have to be the one to carry the movie.

And it really all comes down to this particular superhero -- what is even the point of the Hulk? Why does he exist? What is his purpose? What is trying to be accomplished by having Banner turn into the Hulk except to just get angry and smash things? The biggest problem revolving around all this is the storyline. The military/government is trying to get him, and that's pretty much it. What else happens? Not a whole lot.

Iron Man Review -- Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 1 >>>

Besides the plot, another weakness is the characters themselves. Even though Tony Stark is a multi-millionaire, unlike us average folk, he's still a well-developed, multi-dimensional person with a personality -- that's critical. Now, I'm not sure if a lack of all this on the part of Bruce Banner ties back to the actor playing him--Edward Norton--or not. And it's not just him, it's the others as well. There's not much personality all around; I don't feel like I really know these people. They're sort of two-dimensional with little to no character development whatsoever. That was an issue in 2003's Hulk, and it comes up again here.

To finish on a more positive note, my favorite part of The Incredible Hulk is the climax at the end--the battle between the Hulk and the Abomination. The special effects on that villain are unbelievable, and I'm fascinated by the way he looks. I actually wish the battle went on longer.

Speaking of the special effects, there are vast improvements to the look of the Hulk here when you compare it to the 2003 film--in the first, there are times I thought he looked a little cartoony. But five years have passed between the two, and he looks a whole lot better.

Also, I want to mention the final scene, which is sort of a bonus that was originally intended as a post-credits scene. Tony Stark makes a cameo (yay) and mentions how he's looking to assemble a group together--I assume he's talking about the Avengers, right? I love that this scene's in here, and in doing so, it's a great tie-in not only to the previous movie of Iron Man, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole and what they're building towards.

So to sum up, not a fan of the Hulk. I'm not familiar with Thor or Captain America, so I hope those are more in line with Iron Man than The Incredible Hulk.

Next week, I'll be venturing back for more with Tony Stark--it's Iron Man 2!

Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 1 Reviews:
Iron Man | The Incredible Hulk | Iron Man 2 | Thor | Captain America: The First Avenger | Marvel's The Avengers

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