Friday, June 13, 2008

A Tale of Two Hulks

So I have long contended that the first Hulk movie was a good movie, just not a good Hulk movie. By that I mean, if it had been about some other, misunderstood monster, it probably would've been hailed as a much bigger success, but it missed the mark in giving comics fans, and the general public, the things that we wanted out of the Hulk. Namely, being big, dumb, and upfront with the smashing. We didn't want a long think piece on a scientist with daddy issues who occasionally turned into a monster that would eventually get all sad on us and cry (that would be like getting a Spider-man who went all Pete Wentz-emo on us and started strutting down the street like he was in Saturday Night Fever,...oh, shit). Plus, they didn't really give him anyone to punch, other than some cartoon dogs (who looked suspiciously like the live-action Scooby Doo) and Nick Nolte as Zzzax *. The Hulk needs someone to punch.

Anyway, Marvel figured that they could get it right with a quick reboot, thus bringing us to tonight's movie, The Incredible Hulk:

Hey Banner, what's with the redneck tuxedo?

So it was with hope that I attended a showing of The Incredible Hulk and it was exactly what the fans said they wanted: a big, loud movie featuring the Hulk smashing shit, but good. So, I'll say this, it's adequate, it's not bad, it's OK, it's pretty much every adjective you can think of, up until you hit "very good". It's the equivalent of every movie that you stop and watch when it's on TNT at 9PM, but you will never buy it on DVD. Since I'm too lazy to actually put my thoughts into paragraphs, here's a quick breakdown of the good:
  • Tim Roth was a really good villain. I loved the motivation they gave him (old warrior realizes he needs a new edge to keep up in the field, and gets addicted to it), he had the right look and he just really sold the role.
  • There were a ton of Marvel easter eggs in there, a quick rundown of the ones I caught the first time through (and subsequently remembered): Weapon Plus Program, Nick Fury, SHIELD, Stark Enterprises, Super Soldier Program, and the Tony Stark cameo.
  • They did a good set-up for both Captain America and the villain for the next flick.
  • Shit blew up real good.
And now, on to the not-so-good:
  • The script was rather thin, and unfortunately, unlike Iron Man, where really good (if not great) actors elevated the material, it just didn't happen this time. This may have led to:
  • As I stated on Twitter, Liv Tyler is not very good at the acting. On top of that, she had some very unfortunate bangs.
  • William Hurt did everything but ask for his check on camera. I think his sole commitment to the role was growing the mustache, and what a wondrous 'stache it was. Then again, you can't blame the dude, he gave his all for Lost in Space, and look how that turned out.
  • All this Marvel cross-over stuff is cool, but, let's face it, only one out of four cross-overs ever end up turning out good, and two of those four are complete clusterfucks. So let's just hope that Marvel understands that.
Anyway, it sounds like I'm damning this movie with faint praise, but it was certainly worth my $8.50 and it is exactly what a Hulk movie should be, It's just that I didn't walk out of the theatre thinking, "That was awesome! I need to see that again." I just thought it was OK.

*Perhaps without the aid of special effects, just certain pharmaceuticals.

1 comment:

The Fortress Keeper said...

I share your opinion of the first Hulk movie, but then again I thought Robert Altman's Popeye was one of the best comic-strip adaptations to screen ever.

It was panned because more people were familiar with the cartoons than Thimble Theatre.

That said, I expect the new Hulk to be a decent-enough smash-em-up and it sounds like I won't be disappointed.