FILM: Vintage Review: The Incredible Hulk

Written by Jordan Petersen on . Posted in Film

In an effort to put all of my wonderful reviews in one place, I’ve decided to post my older reviews (back from the days when I blogged frequently) here. Think of it as my Christmas gift to all of you. No, I’m kidding — don’t think of it that way.

Anyway, regardless of how you think of it, here’s the first one…

(Let me request, before you begin reading, that you maintain a charitable attitude toward my somewhat less-experienced methods of expression. I think I’m a little better at this now, and I believe it shows.)

The Incredible Hulk – June 17, 2008

Great movie. I mean it, I’m serious. I really, really loved The Incredible Hulk.

Several things you should know about this film if you haven’t heard already: First, it wasn’t Hulk, the 2003 disaster that convinced everyone that making a Hulk movie was a terrible, terrible mistake. And it wasn’t that movie’s sequel. Or prequel. Or anything. The Incredible Hulk was its own wonderful film, and it worked on pretty much every level it occupied.

Also, Edward Norton plays Bruce Banner, who becomes a lovable Hulk when angered (or hungered) — don’t ask, just watch. Edward Norton is a brilliant actor, and he puts a life and spirit into this part that I can’t imagine anyone else pulling off quite as well.

As for the rest of the performances, no one was lagging. In fact, I would say the acting was more solid, overall, in this film than it was in Iron Man. Don’t get me wrong, Iron Man was the better film, and Robert Downey Jr. blew my brains out with his spectacular performance, but T.I.H. was more consistent when it came to all of the supporting roles.

But let’s be honest — I loved it because it made me want to tear cars apart and throw giant green men through brick walls when it was over. It made me feel like a little boy again.

Why did this film succeed at doing that when Transformers did not? Because it takes great filmmaking to put a hyper-critical member of the audience (such as myself) into those shoes, that’s why. Transformers was fast, colorful, loud and extremely large, but Michael Bay’s a bit of a hack. He’ll even admit it if you corner him. The guys behind the new Hulk movie knew what they were doing. They were working with a strong script, strong actors, and an obviously strong affection for the material. What resulted was a little bit like magic.

And, oh yeah, Tony Stark showed up at the end and made everyone giggle like schoolchildren in his presence. Promises of things to come. Let’s hope they’re not as empty as the minds of the studio executives. Really. Let’s hope pretty hard.

Jordan Petersen is a film correspondent for Rhombus.

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