Good, But Not Incredible

17 06 2008

“The Incredible Hulk” 2008

Starring: Edward Norton, William Hurt, Liv Tyler

I won’t lie. I usually go into superhero flicks expecting the worst. I always prefer drama to action and I’m interested in a subtler type of character development-one that doesn’t include metamorphosis into a super-human beast.

When I entered the theater to see “The Incredible Hulk,” I did not enter with the highest of hopes.

With “Hulk,” I was pleasantly surprised. I think that Edward Norton has proven himself a fantastic actor across film genres, and his interpretation of Bruce Banner as the sympathetic (sort of) superhero was no letdown. I wouldn’t categorize this as his finest demonstration of talent, but he did a good enough job to keep my eyes anxiously glued to the screen for two hours.

I’ll admit a little confusion when I first started seeing previews for “The Incredible Hulk.” Hadn’t I seen trailers for the same film just a couple of year ago? This “Hulk” didn’t appear to be a sequel. So why two adaptations in one decade? I soon discovered that the comic book monster had indeed been the star of a very recent film (2003), by a director I knew well, Ang Lee. Apparently (I’m going on the reviews, not an actual screening of the film) Lee’s version was more subtle, thought-provoking, interested in the emotional complexities of its characters rather than simply their transformative capabilities. More talk-y, less action-y, so to speak.

So I have to say, the Ang Lee version sounds like it would be my ideal if given a choice between the two. I’m adverse to most action scenes. I can’t stomach graphic violence and I honestly do not think it is possible for me to cultivate a sense of connection with a mythical action figure. In the end, I don’t care whether or not the big green angry guy or the big orange scary guy wins.

In the case of “The Incredible Hulk,” I did feel compassion for Bruce Banner, and because his “Hulk” was uncontrollable and not really his fault, I was able to sympathize with the beast he turned into as well.

In “Hulk,” the two bad guys are pure evil (despite a reluctant stab at redemption by one) and the good guys, including the title superhero and his brilliant alter-ego, are a bit trickier to designate. The Hulk does have an explosive temper, but he’s doing his best to protect himself against the legions of military special forces who pursuit him in a conspiratorial attempt to channel his immense power into a devastating weapon. How can we blame him for expressing his irritation with violence? He has the means to strike back, and good reason.





One response

18 06 2008
Susan Hated Literature » Blog Archive » links for 2008-06-18

[…] “The Incredible Hulk” Review « The Paper Bag Princess (tags: The.Incredible.Hulk filmreview) […]

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