Plot: Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) is back and along with him is his angry green giant that lurches within. Bruce is on the run from the military who want to harvest him as a weapon, while all he wants to do is get rid of the beast.
Who’s It For? Comic book fans should be a little more inclined with this version of Hulk compared with Ang Lee’s 2003 adaptation. But ladies, the romance doesn’t work, so if that’s your only reason for going, you can stay at home.
Expectations: I love Norton. He’s easily in my top 5 right now. But saying that, Hulk is a tough sell because of the CGI factor. Plus, rumors swirled about Norton refusing to do press for the film because they wouldn’t agree to 10 minutes being added back to the film.
Edward Norton as Bruce Banner: Is it a bad sign when the consistent highlight of the film doesn’t include the superhero? Norton steals this film from the Hulk. He adds a light sense of humor and confusion to everything, and they would have been better off continuing the film in a Fugitive on ‘roids kind of thing.
CGI as The Hulk: Don’t get me wrong, it’s an improvement over the bright green 2003 version (this time, he’s dark green) but there is still no sign of a human being playing this character. Hulk is totally removed from Norton and more aggressive than defensive (which would give him a vulnerability).
Liv Tyler as Betty Ross: I don’t know what works less, Tyler as a scientist or Banner’s love interest. It just doesn’t fit. If there are more of these films down the line, Banner just needs to keep on walking.
Score: I like to think Norton had a role in lines such as, “You wouldn’t like me when I’m … hungry.” They worked. Even the snarling of Tim Roth was well done. Perhaps was surprised me the most was William Hurt, as the general after Banner (and Betty’s dad) was totally wasted.
Sights & Sounds:
There are a couple of key scenes where the Hulk is on full display. The warehouse, the college campus, and New York City. I think they got two out of three correct, but New York felt redundant. By that time it felt like he had seen “Hulk smash” too much. Plus, why was it that Roth’s creature could speak full sentences and Hulk was lucky to but two words together without drooling on himself?
The question becomes, is there a point to another Hulk? Tough. It seems the real reason for this was Marvel and Universal’s desire for more cash. The final scene (with a hint of Robert Downey Jr.) will explain that part of it. Plus, it’s getting old to have a bizarro villain clash with our superheros. Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk have done it the first time out of the gate, at least Spider-Man waited until part 3. The film does stand on it’s own two feet, thanks mainly to Norton who should have demanded having Banner run a little more, and Hulk smash a little less.
Score: 6 out of 10