Review – The Incredible Hulk
Following the 2003 Hulk disappointment (CGI especially didn’t work for me), Marvel studios had a second attempt at a Hulk central story with the 2008 The Incredible Hulk.
The film was penned by Zak Penn, and directed by Louis Leterrier (previously of Transporter 2 and Unleashed).
For the lead role, the reboot saw Eric Bana (from the earlier Hulk) with Edward Norton taking on the character and also completing uncredited rewriting work as well.
Liv Tyler took on the role of Betty Ross again different to the Jennifer Connelly performance in the prior film.
For the villain of the piece, Tim Roth was cast as Emil Blonsky, a highly trained soldier who takes on the Hulk and through genetic enhancement gone wrong, becomes the comic villain Abomination. This takes place under the watch of General Ross (William Hurt), the father of Betty.
The film is certainly an improvement on the prior film, although essentially performance to the same level. Norton delivers a Banner that is desperately attempting to eliminate the Hulk from his body, whilst working hard to control his appearances.
The film does ultimately raise a question about whether the Hulk can deliver a lead film that is at the box office expectations of the MCU though. It is an improvement on the previous one, but its still reliant on the performance of the lead actor in delivering one role, and the CGI entirely delivering the Hulk with no links back to Norton.
Iron Man, for example, whilst using CGI for Iron Man in flight and battle, still is able to have Downey Jnr as the voice over and cuts into the helmet for the ‘face shot’ frequently to link the two figures together.
With Hulk, the studios appear to have landed in a supporting role through ensemble films, with that allowing a more drawn out arc for Banner (which Kevin Feige recently suggested across a number of films) being the medium.