The Incredible Hulk adds itself to the growing trend of superhero movies and fits right in. It is competently written and acted. It has a good blend of action and character development. The visual effects are also very well done. In short, this is a competent film and you’re nearly guaranteed to be entertained. The theme, however, has been done before and it’s a story we’re all familiar with. With great power comes great responsibility. It’s not exactly tired, yet, but it’s doubtful The Incredible Hulk will stand out in your memory a few weeks after watching it.
All things considered, it’s much better than the 2003 version. Still, it’s fortunate for the 2008 version that it didn’t have to be bogged down with an origin story, leaving most of the film as fertile ground for action/chase sequences. And there are plenty.
Bruce Banner (Ed Norton) is hiding out in South America, much in the same way as we left him in the previous film. This time, however, instead of doling out medicine to peasants, he’s working in a soda-bottling plant. When an errant droplet of his blood makes it into one of the drinks and gets shipped to America, Gen. Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross (William Hurt) gets tipped off to Banner’s location and sends in Special Ops to bring him in. One of the members is Maj. Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth), one of the best — but also aging — soldiers around. While Banner does his best to control the Hulk inside him, Blonsky admires the beast within and inevitably takes more and more extreme measures to become a hulk himself.
The CG work looks great and is on par with some of the best visual effects in film. The Hulk looks like he takes up space and is actually affecting the environment and the real actors he interacts with. The action is appropriately awesome, with big explosions and insurmountable odds. So, it’s a foregone conclusion that these sequences overshadow everything, which isn’t necessarily bad since the Hulk is mostly limited to doing things rather than thinking or talking about them.
Still, Hulk is also chock-full of dramatic story elements that offer nice respites between Hulk Smash! We get to see Banner struggle to find a cure for himself by conversing with a mysterious Mr. Blue. Banner also tries to control his anger by learning Jiu-Jitsu. We’re also treated to his sexual frustrations as too much excitement could be dangerous. All in all, the character is treated fairly.
The performances here are competent, but there’s nothing that really stands out. Although, if you count the CG Hulk as an actor, he is definitely the most entertaining to watch. Moreover, he’s everything you’d expect the Hulk to be, taking giant leaps, wrecking vehicles and even blowing out fires with super-claps. So if you’re a fan, this is definitely one to watch.