The Incredible Hulk (2008) – Review, Best Bits, Not Best Bits

What did we think?

This is definitely the MCU’s problem child, mainly because the MCU was still trying to work out what it was. Despite the best intentions, it becomes a pretty standard superhero. As much as they try to imbue Banner with some individuality, he remains the same person at the end of the film. Compared to the ambitious slate of films to follow, this was the MCU desperately trying to fit in.

Another big problem is the CGI. It has dated badly, and feels weightless. A victim of its time, but it jars in a way that Iron Man (2008) doesn’t. That the Hulk himself doesn’t look great is a big problem. The final fight – two CGI nothings on a fake set, is a real let down.

What works is the cast. Edward Norton is actually great, and being a skinny, thoughtful man makes him very well cast. Liv Tyler is typically wonderful and emotionally raw. Tim Roth does a fine job. William Hurt brings great weight to his role, although the script gives him nothing to do, he’s yet another Marvel one note villain, evil for almost no reason.

There’s some breathtaking sequences – in particular Brazil. Norton, Letterier and Marvel all clashed over how much of the film should be Hulk, and how much should be Banner. The Hulk stuff is weak – the Banner stuff is great. Perhaps it would have been one ego too many, but Norton would have been pretty good in The Avengers.

This is still a good film in the end – not as memorable as Iron Man, but it does the job of saving the Hulk from the awful 2003 film. With William Hurt being cast in Captain America: Civil War, it feels like the MCU are embracing its problem child as well.

Best bits

  • Everything in the favelas in Brazil. Banner’s life, his ingenuity, and it looks great.
  • Banner and Betty on the run. Could have watched a whole series of this.
  • Love the take – the whole universities and colleges, science vibe.
  • The promise of the Leader. Tim Blake Nelson does a fine job of being helpful, creepy, and not necessarily a bad guy.
  • Liv Tyler. Pretty great here as she is in most things.

Not best bits

  • Really, the CGI. Why do they keep putting it on the DVD covers?
  • Thunderbolt Ross. What’s this guy’s motivation? Does he just hate his daughter, despite putting himself in the way of the Hulk in the flashback? If it turned out he was secretly looking for a cure for Betty or something…
  • Blonsky is also just a psycho for no reason.
  • Some of the Hulk jokes, like the purple paints, land pretty badly.
  • Ultimately end up at the same point we started?

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