Thursday, June 12, 2008

Good evening, Mr Green

I have just been to see The Incredible Hulk and, having done so, felt strangely compelled to post something of a review of it here (but don't worry, I'm not going to give away any major spoilers here).

As most people already know, the movie is something of a reboot of the franchise rather than a complete starting over, so in the title credit sequence we get a flashback to how the Hulk was created in the first film (a la Spider-Man 3).
Without further delay we get into the film and are introduced to all the main protagonists, and before long the not-so-jolly green giant makes an appearance.
The film certainly delivers in a way that Ang Lee's misguided, angst-ridden, more cerebral and ultimately confusing Hulk didn't, but is a much simpler and less satisfying movie as a result. Tim Roth's Abomination turns up rather late in the game and the final denouement of the film left me feeling a little like... is that it?

However, there's plenty to please the fan boy. There are references to S.H.I.E.L.D. and Nick Fury, a not-so-secret cameo appearance by a character from Marvel Studios' other comic book movie outing this summer, Samuel Sterns makes an appearance (who becomes the super-villainous Leader in the comic books), as does the future Doc Samson, the Lonely Man theme from the TV show gets a play and Banner's eyes glow green when he's about to change, and (best of all) our hero/anti-hero gets to utter the immortal words, 'HULK SMASH!'

As an aside, weirdly a number of scenes from both trailers for the film (the first released ages ago and the current one) don't actually appear in the film (although there is a scene lifted straight out of The Ultimates comic book by Millar and Hitch), but at least there isn't a gamma-irradiated poodle in this one! And both Stan Lee and Lou Ferringo (the transformed Hulk from the 1970s TV show) both make an appearance, just as they did in the first Hulk movie.
So, not as satisfying or exciting as Iron Man and not as funny, or relentless in the action stakes, as Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, but a diverting hour and fifty minutes if you're up for a bit of mindless escapism.

Now I just have to wait until July for The Dark Knight and I will have seen all of the big four action movies of Summer 2008.

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