Sunday, November 5, 2017

Movie Review: The Incredible Hulk

The big green superhero joins the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a reboot that skips over the origin story and jumps into the chase of Bruce Banner (Edward Norton). After a brief recap shows the Hulk's destruction, the controlling General Ross (William Hurt) trying to stop Bruce, and Betty Ross (Liv Tyler) being hurt by the Hulk rampage. Bruce disappears but General Ross pursues him using Stark technology and in cooperation with SHIELD. In the favelas of Brazil, Banner works to keep his inner monster under control with a series of meditations. He works at a bottling factory, studies the language, and tries to lay low but when a drop of his blood accidentally spills in a bottle, it triggers General Ross and his hunting party. A new member of his squad, Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth) takes a more ruthless approach to the pursuit but is stunned when he confronts the Hulk in a bottling factory. Banner is harassed by bullies until he turns into the Hulk before the team can advance. He beats up the teams throws a giant forklift at Blonsky before disappearing again.

General Ross scours Banner's old room looking for clues while Bruce manages to make it to another country to determined to cross the border back into America not just to converse with a mysterious Mr. Blue about a cure, but also to see his love, Betty. He watches her from a distance and seeks out shelter at a friendly pizza owner's place. Betty catches sight of him and flees but she manages to track him down in her car. He explains everything and why returned to collect his old data. Sharing it with Mr. Blue may be his only chance to find a cure. Blonsky becomes obsessed with Banner's mutation and General Ross agrees to give him a low dose of the serum. On campus, Bruce tries to escape with his data but the military surrounds him. He retreats to the library where he swallows the data stick before he morphs into the Hulk. As the Hulk, Banner fights off the military assault but Blonsky looks to be able to keep up with the Hulk. General Ross throws everything he has at Hulk including a soundwave cannon that Blonsky tricks him into chasing him into the range of. Hulk manages to break free of the soundwave and smash the vehicles. He kicks Blonsky hard smashing all of his bones against a tree. General Ross sends in a gunship helicopter but Betty steps in the way so Hulk wraps his body around her to protect her before escaping. 

Betty and Bruce go on the run once he returns to normal form and vomits up his data. They hope to find Mr. Blue and with the data discover a cure. General Ross is on their trail as Blonsky recovers from having his bones turned to gravel. Bruce is haunted by awful dreams and unable to make love to Betty without raising his heart rate. They eliminate any possible sources of tracking but Bruce does reach out to Mr. Blue which gives SHIELD a trail to follow. Dodging roadblocks and dealing with crazy taxi cab drivers, Betty and Bruce make it to the office of Samuel Sterns (Tim Blake Nelson) aka Mr. Blue. He is amazed by Bruce's appears and agrees to help induce a Hulk episode to test out a new antidote. The trial works somewhat after Betty calms the Hulk down but as they discuss the possibilities the military invades. Blonsky tries to get information out of Bruce but he was hit with a tranquilizer dart.

Blonsky demands that Sterns give him some of the serum so that he can have super strength. He turns into the Abomination and begins to torment people in Harlem. General Ross has a dazed Bruce Banner so he didn't understand the reports of a Hulk in the streets at first. Banner convinces him to turn around and let him fight the Abomination. Bruce drops from the helicopter smashing into the road as he turns into Hulk. Abomination and Hulk clash in the streets but the Abomination proves he's stronger. Hulk smashes a car in half to use as metal fists but even after he smashes Abomination into the ground, the boney beast kicks the green monster through a building. General Ross uses a helicopter to shoot at Abomination so the mutated Blonsky jumps at the helicopter. Hulk grabs Abomination's foot and they all come crashing down on a rooftop. As a fire spreads beneath the helicopter, Hulk fights Abomination turns to save Betty and General Ross with an airwave caused by slamming his hands together. Finally, he smashes down on the ground and takes down Abomination, being calmed by Betty before he can kill Blonsky. In the end, Betty looks longing out at the ocean while Bruce hides out in the woods in Canada. 

The Incredible Hulk was an improved reboot that served as sort of a sequel while also clearing the way for the superhero to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As an early film in the MCU, the film does not have the quality of later entries but does boast some stunning special effects, especially in the battle between Hulk and Abomination. Hulk still suffers from the boring parts of Bruce Banner trying to find a cure, since doing scientific research is never very entertaining and doesn't move as fast as a Hollywood film. Edward Norton wasn't great as Banner and was recast before the Avengers film. This movie is strange because it feels separate with many different characters and actors that never came back into play, though recently General Ross has appeared in Civil War. I enjoy watching this film every once in a while but certainly not my favorite. 

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