Don’t Make Me Angry
The Incredible Hulk is not a particularly memorable film. Although it does well to present Bruce Banner as an empathetic hero and introduce The Hulk into the fold, it ultimately pales in comparison to other films in this universe. Between some questionable acting, and an overlong script that sags under the weight of mediocity, The Incredible Hulk is not incredible, nor is it a particularly memorable film.
The story begins with scientist Bruce Banner on the wrong end of a failed expeirment. Infected with a lethal dose of gamma radiation, heightened senses and a particular disposition to anger sees him transform into the monstrous behemoth known as The Hulk. With the military put on high alert and Bruce desperate to find a cure to his disease, our hero finds himself cut off from love interest Betty and on the run, mercilessly hunted by General Thunderbolt.
From here, the rest of the film slows in pace, seeing Bruce come to terms with the disease and embrace his powers, before a final showdown in the streets of Harlem with gamma-infected Abomination. As a straight forward origin story, The Incredible Hulk hits all the usual beats along the way in its 2 hour run time, including the climactic showdown at the end, but there’s really not a whole lot here that stands out.
When you compare this to Iron Man or Captain America, The Incredible Hulk fails to achieve the same level of prestige here, playing out closer to superhero films of old like The Punisher or Daredevil. The pacing is a constant hindrance here too, with Bruce’s anger management segments a particular problem during the bloated middle act of the film. It doesn’t help either that Liv Tyler’s portrayal of Betty fails to inject the right level of charisma or empathy, falling flat for much of the run time.
Admittedly I’ve never been a massive fan of The Hulk, even reading the original comics I never fully engaged with the character, and the same is true here with the film. There’s certainly some stand out moments though, including the final fight with Abomination which is a lot of fun, but too much of the film meanders along at a glacial pacing, failing to add anything new or exciting to this genre. When you compare it to other films in this franchise, The Incredible Hulk is not one to remember, and is held back by its own issues with the source material.
While it’s certainly an improvement over the previous Hulk film, The Incredible Hulk is a far cry from the lofty heights of what’s come before it in this Expanded Universe. The meandering plot line, lacklustre characters and methodical pacing really hold this back from being a more interesting superhero film. It’s not the worst in the universe, but it is one of the top contenders, making for an unfortunately forgettable superhero flick.
Verdict - 5.5/10