2008 was an important year for Marvel, they first produce a film called Iron Man, starring Robert Downey Jr. as the lead character. After years of probation, Iron Man was the film that resurrected Downey’s career as he’s now A-List Star yet again, and the film kickstarted the Marvel Cinematic Universe. (MCU for short) A month later, another Marvel related movie called, The Incredible Hulk, was released the same year as Iron Man. It received positive reviews from critics and fans alike. Edward “Ed” Norton, (one of my favorite actors) stars as Dr. Bruce Banner/Hulk, struggling to come up with a cure to get rid of the monster from within, until someone like him, begins to oppose.
With Thor Ragnarok earning a bunch of praise, I’ve decided to go back where Hulk was first introduced to the MCU, before Mark Ruffalo took over as the grumpy green giant in The Avengers, its sequel, Thor Ragnarok, and the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War.
Smashing & Yucky Qualities
Smashing: Edward “Ed” Norton, Tim Roth, & William Hurt, all did an excellent job on their performances. Norton also co-wrote The Script and did Motion Capture for his role to make it feel like he’s playing the title character. Roth also did Motion Capture too.
Fun Fact: Ed was considered to play the title character in Ang Lee’s movie, but he turned it down because he didn’t like the script. If you’ve seen Eric Bana’s Hulk, you probably know why.
C.G.I. looked three dimensional for Hulk’s appearance. He really matches his looks from the comics.
Action Sequences are filled with destruction, mayhem, bullets.
The Tone for this film is dramatic. It felt like an adaptation of the TV series from the 70s.
Character Development involving Banner/Hulk. At first, he wants to get rid of his power, until he decides to use it to fight someone powerful like him. Thus, his character arc is complete.
Hulk finally uses his catchphrase that we all know in love as fans of Marvel.
Unlike Ang Lee’s snooze fest, this movie is inspired by chase films including The Fugitive.
When Hulk uses a car to create gauntlets, this is an homage to the video game, The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction. Seeing this depicted on the big screen, made me put a smile on my face. Brings back memories playing Ultimate Destruction on PS2.
Chemistry between Banner/Hulk & Betty Ross wasn’t forced, their relationship felt realistic than the 2003 film. Not too much exposition, their scenes were used carefully.
The movie did a jab on the purple pants that Banner refuse to wear, is a reflection on Norton refusing to partake in Ang Lee’s movie.
During The Opening Credits, Bruce Banner’s origins as The Hulk, pays tribute to the origin story from the pilot episode of The Incredible Hulk, starring Bill Bixby & Lou Ferrigno.
Speaking of nostalgia from the 70s, Bill Bixby appears on a television screen which is considered a “cameo appearance.” It’s quite an honor to remember him for his portrayal as Bruce Banner. Lou Ferrigno also makes a cameo. I’ll give both cameos, Bonus Points for The Producers of this movie for giving us a heartwarming wink to us Marvel fans. Don’t forget Stan Lee’s cameo too!
Whenever Bruce transforms as Hulk, his eyes turn green. It’s a nod to the television series’ transformation scene, when Bruce’s eyes turn green, indicating that the beast is about to be unleashed.
Another reference to the television series is the theme song called “The Lonely Man,” is played in the background.
A minor character is named, Jack McGee. In the TV series, the name of the character is an investigative reporter who tracks down Hulk’s whereabouts.
I’ll have to give Norton’s Hulk, credit for inspiring Fast Five’s chase scene in Brazil. Both films feature a scene with the main character, running away from the military.
Banner’s contact’s name is Mr. Bruce, which is a reference to Quentin Tarantino’s (Tarantino is my 2nd favorite filmmaker) film debut, Reservoir Dogs. Tim Roth who plays Blonsky/The Abomination, co-starred as Mr. Orange.
One prominent character of The Avengers makes a pivotal cameo. I’ll give you a hint, he’s known for having a bromance with Banner/Hulk.
Yucky: Product Placement featuring the following brands such as, Coca-Cola, Nike. I’ll give this con a pass, because I couldn’t find any more brands to shove down my throat.
The Abomination looks nothing like his comic book self. He has no ears. Plus, he doesn’t wear any pants.
The Final Verdict: A-
My actual opinion on The Incredible Hulk, has got to be the best solo film for Hulk. It’s a shame that Edward Norton didn’t return to reprise his role for The Avengers and other crossover appearances. Well look at the bright side, Mark Ruffalo also did an excellent job portraying the character. He didn’t act like Michael Gambon turning Richard Harris’ Dumbledore, from a kindhearted mentor, into a stereotypical drunken Irish bar brawler.
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