The Incredible Hulk a.k.a. “Hulk 2,” “O Incrível Hulk,” “L’ Incredibile Hulk,” “Der Unglaubliche Hulk”
Reviewed by: Taran Gingery
Sci-Fi, Action, Sequel, Adaptation
1 hr. 54 min.
Year of Release:
June 13, 2008 (wide—3,400 theaters)
The Bible says…
Should I save sex for marriage? Answer
What are the consequences of sexual immorality? Answer
“This summer, our only hope is something incredible.”
Five years ago, director Ang Lee brought to life yet another famous comic book character, “The Hulk,” giving it's title role a lot of angst, frustration and overblown computer-generated imagery. The result was a film that disappointed many with it's artsy approach to the story, and its usage of the split-screen effect to make it feel more or less like a comic book. Moreover, the acting lacked chemistry and the action left a lot to be desired.
Now, The Hulk comes back to the big-screen with a new director, a new story, and an entirely new cast, although with mostly the same characters. The movie starts somewhat quickly, assuming the audience is already familiar with the basics: Dr. Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) miraculously survived being zapped by gamma rays only to discover the radiation had awakened genetic mutations, the result of being experimented on as a child. Now, whenever he becomes angry, he transforms into a massive, uncontrollable green monster. Now, Banner is hunted by the government and hiding in Brazil, desperately looking for a cure for his “problem.”
Meanwhile, General Ross (William Hurt), in what has become a personal vendetta against Bruce, sends one of the army's best, Blonsky (Tim Roth), after Banner, equipping him with a dose of a new “super-soldier” elixir for good measure. Unfortunately, the elixir releases a beast within Blonsky that Ross cannot control, and Bruce Banner finds himself hunted by enemies both new and old, all in a race to find a cure before The Hulk gets him into too much trouble.
One thing that is truly incredible about “The Incredible Hulk” is the special effects. Here, the not-so-jolly green giant looks more polished, more rippled, and more realistic than ever. Indeed, a certain scene during a rainstorm will have you believe that The Hulk does exist.
Unfortunately, the realism also extends to the violence, and this film is much more violent than it's predecessor. The Hulk ends up smashing cars, tanks, helicopters, buildings, and people, dealing with explosions and shoot-outs, and the final 20 minutes of the film is an extended battle between The Hulk and Blonsky's alter-ego, The Abomination. Don't get me wrong. This final battle is one of the best super-hero showdowns I've seen yet. But it is brutal, chaotic, and bloody.
There is also some language, including profanities, and a lot of misuses of God's name. A passionate scene between Bruce and his old flame, Betty Ross (Liv Tyler) leads to them in bed and starting to undress, but ends before it gets any further.
Speaking of which, the tragedy of the story of Bruce Banner comes full circle here. Banner is a man who desperately doesn't want the “sun to go own on his anger.” He wants to control it, and even turns to some eastern religious practices to try and get a hold over his emotions. He often finds he cannot succeed, and the results disrupt his life and especially what happens to his relationships.
So, in many ways, “The Incredible Hulk” suffers from the Frankenstein Syndrome: The Hulk is misunderstood, hunted, afraid, frustrated and alone, the result of someone else's experiments. He wants to love and be loved, but is unable to find this simple peace of mind. He is definitely a flawed hero, because his violent rages prevent him from fully doing good, in spite of his best intentions, although he does consistently put himself in harms way to save those he knows (as The Hulk, he has a hard time telling the difference between friend and foe) and an interesting touch during the final scenes demonstrates mercy towards an enemy.
The end result is mixed. We get a strong movie with lots of impressive action and gritty special effects, plenty of excellent actors (Norton is much more sympathetic than Eric Bana as Bruce Banner), and several good messages about the need to control our emotions, especially anger, the importance of unconditional love, seen in Betty Ross, and even the strength of simple kindness. But we also get brutal violence, nods to eastern religion and premarital sex, and a main character who is very hard to identify with.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Mild
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.