Caught two new movies this weekend, the first of which was The Incredible Hulk, with Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth and William Hurt. Not exactly a sequel to the 2003 film by Ang Lee, it's also not a stand alone feature. I really liked Hulk, where the first film really didn't "Get" the type of vibe that the Hulk fans were looking for, director Louis Lettier and co-writer Edward Norton do.
Combining the big screen action and CGI of the first film, with the guilt ridden man on the run motif from the beloved 1970's TV series, this new hulk finds a great balance. Norton does pathos and anger better than almost any other actor working today, playing characters with deep psychic flaws so perfectly, and as Bruce Banner he finds a perfect vehicle for his talents. Norton brings a real feeling of helplessness and regret to the role, and you really feel for this guy who can't control what's inside of him, and who is tormented by his missing love, Betty Ross (Tyler).
The supporting cast is great too. Tyler never feels like a damsel in distress ad brings a toughness to the role. A combination of brains, devotion and beauty she really makes you believe that someone could love Bruce Banner, despite what has happened to him. William Hurt as General "Thunderbolt" Ross is also a great casting choice, as the obsessed Army general who wants to capture Banner and turn him into a weapon. Tim Roth, the Hulk's opponent, plays a crack military officer assigned to take down Banner. After his first tussle with the Hulk, he becomes obsessed himself at the thought of beating the Hulk, going so far as to undertake treatments to become the ultimate soldier, and when that fails, undergoing the same treatment that cursed Bruce Banner to turn into the Hulk, he becomes the Abomination. In my mind, Roth may have been a bit old to play the role, but it's not so bad that it's truly distracting, just a bit off putting.
I really enjoyed the fight between the Hulk and the super soldier version of Roth, it almost made you beleave that one man could have a chance versus the monster.There was just such a good balance between action and character development in this version. The whole film Banner is adamant that he doesn't want to control the Hulk, only cure himself, then to find that in the end, control is the only thing he may be able to have.
I've read that there is still some bad blood between Norton and the executives at marvel Studios over the final cut of the film. I do hope that they can resolve their difference and gear up for another Hulk film. Or better yet as The Incredible Hulk has on screen ties to this summer's other Marvel film Iron Man, have the Hulk be the threat in an Avengers film. Anyway you look at it, you can't go wrong with The Incredible Hulk, it's a fun summer popcorn movie that has a little more to offer than most. With the recent slate of box office disappointments, I was glad to see something good come out. Go see it!
End of Line.