Just returned a little while ago from viewing the new Hulk movie, and I have to say that they nailed it. They really got it right. Now I’ve read some reviews of the movie and most reviewers have just crushed this movie. Don’t believe them. Here’s the deal, if you hated Ang Lee’s and like the comic books and/or the TV show, then your going to like this movie. What they got right most was the feeling. Something that I always liked about Banner was that he was a guy that was trying to fly under the radar, and he was very non-confrontational. Despite this, however, people always fucked with him. He was like a magnet for trouble and he had terrible luck. It was like anything that could go wrong went wrong. Now, in addition to this, he was a nice guy. If he wasn’t he probably wouldn’t have gotten into as much trouble as he always did. But he was nice and genuine and this invariably led to him getting into crazy situation. The movie gets this and Edward Norton plays Banner perfectly.
The movie also gets right the desperation and the movement. He is always ready to move at a moments notice, and he does the bare minimum to scrape by in life. The rest of his time is devoted to finding himself a cure. The movie captured this feeling. From the opening scene where Banner is hiding out, after a sweet opening sequence that re-explains his origin story, you are already anxious and taut. You just know that something is going to go wrong and ruin what semblance of a life he has created. Now most of the reviewers have criticized the story, and I strongly disagree with them. I didn’t go into this movie expecting The Godfather, but I did expect a fairly solid story. That’s what I got. It’s also a very simple story and we all already know it. He’s on the run looking for a cure, and at some point in time someone is going to try and capture him. It’s the same story just with different elements mixed in, but it works because every time he hulks out he starts back at square one.
In literature this would be called realism–think Twain, Garland, or Crane. Where you don’t get the full story, but you start somewhere after the beginning and finish somewhere before the end. There’s never a real resolution, but you get a snap shot of a person’s life. That is what made the TV show work, and if they keep this style going in the movies, they will work. A couple things I really like about the movie was the homage to the TV show: the beginning origins sequence, the shots of Norton’s eyes when he started to hulk out, they used the Lonely Man theme, and the kinetic energy of the movie. Unlike the Lee movie that dragged on and on, and tried to get waaaay too psychological, in this movie once Banner goes on the run, the movie takes off and doesn’t stop. One last point is on the animated hulk. Of course it’s CGI and doesn’t look perfect, but he looks pretty goddamn sweet, and much better than the last one. He’s not too tall or too crazy strong–like he doesn’t jump 10 miles with every leap–he’s more grounded in reality. What I really liked, however, was when the hulk came out you could see him get visibly pissed that people wouldn’t leave him alone. Time after time he tries to get away and yet people keep shooting him. At one point he just puts his head down and sighs because he’s tired of people messing with him, and he just wants to be left alone. This is directly influenced by the original Frankenstein, of course, where Frankenstein wants to be normal and blend in, but everyone keeps harassing him. That’s the feeling you get when you see the hulk. He just wants to be left alone, but then he can only take so much, and that’s when he goes bat-shit crazy. Anyways the movie is well worth the $10, and I’m looking forward to seeing it again, so go check it out.