Sunday, November 5, 2017

Movie Review Hulk

Ang Lee's tribute to comics and the big green uncontrollable superhero distinguishes itself with a visual style but drags with a long story that is confusing and slow. David Banner experiments on himself with a new drug that enhance the immune system when he finds out his wife is pregnant. Their son exhibits strange behavior like a lack of response to pain and green-tinged skin when he's angry. General Ross confronts Banner about his experiments and threatens to shut down his work. David Banner's son is shown with his foster parents preparing to go off to college and become a scientist. Bruce Banner (Eric Bana) bikes to his lab at the institute where he works with Betty Ross (Jennifer Connelly) who recently dumped him. There experiment with gamma radiation is up for review but they are planning a big experiment but it goes wrong.

Looking to purchase the lab,  Glenn Talbot (Josh Lucas) has a unique relationship with Betty's father General Ross (Sam Elliott). A mysterious janitor (Nick Nolte) with three dogs begins to work at their lab sneaking around at night and watching Bruce. The next day the experiment goes wrong and Bruce is hit with a blast of gamma radiation. In the hospital, David Banner, the janitor, visits his son and tells him the truth of his identity. He uses his blood for his own nefarious experiments. Back in his lab, Bruce becomes uncontrollably enraged about confusing memories and transforms into the giant green monster Hulk trashing his workspace. He sees his father watching him and remembers the trauma of his childhood before leaping away into the city leaving his laboratory in shambles.

Betty discovers Bruce the next morning in tattered clothes. General Ross knows Bruce's true identity and suspects him immediately. While Bruce is kept under surveillance, his father sends his mutated dogs after Betty at her cabin in the woods. Talbot attacks Bruce but is shocked when he turns into the Hulk and throws him out the window. Hulk makes it to the cabin and fights off the dogs protecting Betty before he turns back into Bruce. Betty calls her father and they capture Bruce the next morning. He is shipped to an underground facility and kept sedated. David Banner experiments on his own body and is able to combine his cells with other objects. Talbot usurps Ross's command and torture Bruce trying to carve off some of the green skin to study. Bruce is confined to a water tank and induced to have bad dreams but he transforms, and Hulk breaks out. 

The soldiers try to stop the big green monster but Hulk manages to escape as Talbot dies in the process. Hulk flees across the desert as Ross calls in the military. Hulk fights off attacks from tanks and helicopters. The military believes they've won but Banner survives the attack and heads to San Francisco where Betty has taken David Banner into custody. Hulk fights jets, one flies high into the sky and drops him. He continues to wreak havoc on the city until Betty finally calms him down. In military custody, David and Bruce are brought together under the threat of a giant electro-magnetic pulse machine. David bites into the wire and receives a massive shock turning him into a large monster that carries the Hulk through a fight in the clouds. The battling behemoths end up at the bottom of a lake where the Hulk forces his power onto David, destroying him. A year later, Betty lives life under surveillance while Bruce hides out in Central America.

Hulk has some issues like being a bit too long and over-serious for a superhero movie, especially one with a giant green main character, but it does have several decent action sequences that are worth revisiting. Ang Lee takes a unique approach showing the film as comic strips and there is a decent enough origin story to move the film along. None of the main creators would return for the reboot but this film has a special place as one of the early superhero films with an original take on the comic book adaptation. 

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