In 2003 director Ang Lee, riding the wave of overwhelming  success of his breakout picture “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” took his Asian film style to one of the most all American of stories: Marvel’s Hulk.  The resulting cinematic abomination sent Lee to make movies about homosexual cowboys.Still America loves the Hulk. Most likely because of the populations exposure to him through the long running TV series. There is something very appealing about a muscle-bound green monster mindlessly rampaging through cities.  Also, did I mention he’s the good guy?

The film opens with scenes of the creation of the Hulk shown to the backdrop of the opening credits.  This gives you a chance to build a loose continuity in your head between the previous film and this one. Though, outside of the general premise of the Hulk story much of the previous movie has been ignored.

We find our hero Bruce Banner (Ed Norton) living a refugee lifestyle in Brazil.  He is learning martial arts and relaxation techniques so that he can control the monster that comes out when he gets angry.

Meanwhile General Ross (William Hurt) is relentlessly searching for Banner.  Because of Banner’s elusiveness he brings in Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth) a specialist from the British Marines.

Ross wants Banner back to use the Hulk as a weapon.  In explaining this to Blonsky after their first encounter with the Hulk, Ross injects him with a similar serum that created the Hulk in the first place. 

Meanwhile, Banner heads north to Virginia and eventually New York with his romantic interest (and general Ross’s daughter) Betty Ross (Liv Tyler). Together they attempt to find a cure for his gamma ray-induced bad temper. This eventually results in the creation of an evil hulk and a climactic battle between Hulk classic and new spiky-skinned and bald evil hulk.

The resulting battle is somewhat negated by the climax of this summer’s “Iron-Man” where we had a good Iron-Man fighting a bad Iron-Man. However this battle was much more epic and overall more satisfying to the summertime moviegoer.  And leset we not forget that the relationship with Iron Man does not end there.   Robert Downey Jr. reprises his role as the ultimate alpha-mail, Tony Stark, in a brief, yet poignant cameo.

Norton is superb as Bruce Banner. He draws on his brooding character from “American History X” as well as the comedic timing as the priest in love in “Keeping the Faith”

Oscar Winner William Hurt brings quality acting to the role, though while I’ve never found Hurt to be that spectacular of a performer; it could have just been his General Ross moustache getting in the way.

Stealing every scene he is in Tim Roth delivers probably the best performance of the film. His cocky arrogance transformed by a chemical dependency comes off as both accurate and real.

Let’s not forget the films biggest stars: the special effects.  While 2003’s “Hulk” gave us one epic hulk scene mid-film, we are treated to no less than four Hulk-outs. In just under two hours.   Hulk battling helicopters, military humvees and even evil-hulk is done seamlessly between traditional effects and the Computer Generated ones.

Overall the Hulk franchise seems to be back on track now, as well as the greater Marvel film universe.  See you at the Avengers’ opening!

Be Sociable, Share!