An astounding display of brute force and moving drama that provokes “thunderous” claps with the film giving more ground in its “smashing” take from the misunderstood monster!
“Doc Bruce Banner, belted by gamma rays turned into the Hulk. Ain’t he unglamorous! Wreckin’ the town with the power of a bull ain’t no monster clown who is as lovable. As ever-lovin’ Hulk! HULK!! HULK!!” – Hulk (1966)
Created by Stan “The Man” Lee and Jack Kirby, The Hulk debuted in May 1962 as one of Marvel Comics perennial superhero! A towering green behemoth with a strength and stamina that can be boundless once angered…and no one would want him to be angry!!!
A retroactive continuation (retcon) with a new cast and Director!
This film gave more emphasis on Dr. Bruce Banner played by Edward Norton (The Fight Club) a scientist testing gamma rays in a laboratory with a fellow scientist which turned into a freak accident resulting on the grave injuries on those who participated. On the run from the military, specifically with Gen. Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross who was portrayed by William Hurt (A History of Violence), he took over the role from Sam Elliott from the first film. He happens to be a witness and supporter of the Gamma Radiation Project that Bruce and his daughter Betty was working on which made it more complicated on their specific agenda, from a military standpoint and of a scientist. His role was a bit more stale coming from the latter’s performance seeing he had only a violent disposition in capturing the “monster” for further experimentation and imprisonment!
Now in the case of Edward, he replaced Eric Bana from the last movie which I believe he was able to give a more in-depth take on the character, making him more susceptible to his transformation seeing that he’s a fugitive dealing with repressed anger, constant bullying, seeing the love of his life with another man and with no cure yet for his dilemma…what do we get? A living engine of destruction! He even generously inputted on the character and the script which the studio and the Writers Guild of America for the lack of a better term…did not credit! (you’re making him angry, you would not like him when he’s angry!)
In Guatemala, where most of the filming was made in spite of the heavy downpours! Bruce works temporarily in a soda factory while finding a cure for his condition. Fending for himself and with the help of Tim Blake Nelson (Minority Report) he plays Mr. Blue also known as Samuel Sterns, a Cellular Biologist who perceives to be more curious than cautious! He must stay off track and lie low from any contact and from some meddlesome “gringos”! Tim is a great actor and with a lot more to offer since he is also a Director, playwright and a singer, he was able to inject the specific take on his performance which is both geeky and eccentric!
The good part was that Bruce wants to give purpose of what he is and what he is destined to be, he must get rid of the monster inside him but there are always consequences in the process. Enter pesky nemesis Emil Blonsky a veteran soldier from Russia who is determined to bring down the Hulk and hungers to also acquire his superhuman strength, he was brought to the big screen by a reputable actor Tim Roth (Reservoir Dogs). Upon understanding how this operation all started, he had discussed his eagerness to take down the monster with Gen. Ross and was given a dosage of The Serum which started the Super Soldier Program back in World War II.
After brief encounters with the Jaded Giant, Emil was seriously injured and was left crippled…but there is more to him than meets the eye! As Bruce is off again in hiding with Dr. Elizabeth “Betty” Ross on his side, Liv Tyler (Armageddon) is the actress who replaced Jennifer Connelly from the previous film, she was his lover and co-worker when the laboratory accident happened who is now having a relationship with Dr. Leonard Samson played by Ty Burrell (Evolution). They were able to find Mr. Blue who helped Bruce to contain the Hulk with the blood sample given to him earlier in the film. Not aware that they are being tracked, Emil stormed the lab and captured Bruce, along with Betty. This part was a turning point for the two main characters as they prepare for the ultimate slugfest.
Emil’s persistence and unstable personality forced Sterns to give him Bruce’s blood and the supervillain was born… enter the Abomination! Pushing Sterns aside, another thorn, another headache will soon arise! So all hell breaks loose, we do have Abomination on one side and dropping off from the sky is the Hulk on the other end. Battling in the city landscape, muscle per muscle both behemoths wrecked the city in a climactic conclusion… Hulk Smash!!!
The Hulk was able to beat the Abomination and left the rooftop of the building with Betty’s broken heart. It will soon be found if Bruce can contain the monster or will it be forever his curse! A perfect conclusion for the film which gives the studios to have more interesting inputs in its sequels!
The action was pure adrenaline coordinated by Cyril Raffaelli (The Transporter) a French Traceur, Martial Artist and Stunt Man providing one of the best fight scenes ever done in comic book film history! Image Engine worked on the screenshots and specific CGI to be incorporated while Rhythm and Hues digital visual effects key frame animation preferably chosen by the Director to actually materialize and see the flow of these elements to come to life in the story. Overseen by Visual Effects Supervisor Kurt Williams (Fantastic Four) working with a small group of specialists, they were able to give the character the desired look of a “linebacker” as opposed to Ang Lee’s “body builder” behemoth from the previous film!
The film was definitely incredible; Director Louis Letterier (The Transporter) did bring back the franchise and the fans as well. He also brought in Zack Penn (X-Men 2) coming from another Marvel project to oversee the Writing of the story, they were able to make remarkable insights dealing with multi-angle scenarios to capture the story’s premise! Edward and the cast were so genuine to give this film a new start and they were accepted with open arms! Only hoped that he was able to continue his duties for the coming films, since Marvel had to let him go!!!
We can foresee what’s next for the “green goliath” when we are directed into a bar as Tony Stark makes a cameo appearance from the ever “sophisticated” Robert Downey Jr. (Tropic Thunder) who discretely informs the General about “forming a team”!