On June 20, 2003, movie goers eagerly waited in lines to catch a glimpse of the newest superhero to grace the big screen, the Hulk. Directed by Ang Lee and starring such Hollywood heavyweights as Eric Bana and Jennifer Connelly, The Hulk was suppose to be one of the biggest blockbusters of the summer "“ it tanked.
Now, almost five years to the day later, the Hulk is getting another chance to inspire and impress its audience "“ okay maybe not inspire, in The Incredible Hulk. Including such accredited names as Edward Norton, Liv Tyler and Tim Roth, fans and movie buffs are finally greeted to a film that they can enjoy.
The film stars off with a bang as we are introduced to Dr. Bruce Banner, a scientist that is played effortlessly by Edward Norton. Some time before, Banner became victim to gamma radiation poisoning, forcing him to go on the run, avoiding the United States government at all costs. However, the love of his life, Betty Ross, is back home, and each day he searches for a cure, hoping that he will eventually be able to rid himself of his destructive alter ego and reunite with her. Working to control his heart rate and his transformation, Banner is a true work of discipline and determination, and without the talents and versatility of Norton, the Hulk would have never been presented in his true light.
What I found so appealing about The Incredible Hulk was its decision to tackle the story head on. Wasting no time with back stories or character introduction, the film only provided clues to the previous lives of Banner, Ross and others through their actions and periodic flashbacks. By doing this, the story was able to start strong, never letting up throughout.
As the film progressed, I was amazed at how well casted it was.
Liv Tyler turns in her second amazing performance of the summer as Bruce's love, Betty Ross. Often unappreciated, Tyler steals the show as she brings out the confusion and uncertainty that lies deep within Ross' soul. Yet, what makes her such a starlit on screen is her ability to conform to any character and bring the best out of her cast mates. Her delivery and approach to Betty Ross is brilliant and fluid, allowing her costars to work with her instead of around her. Then there is the simple fact that she carries such a realistic beauty on screen, making her seem real and approachable "“ a plus for any young actress.
However, the true spark of the film proved to be Tim Roth, who brought Emil Blonsky and his alter ego Abomination to life. Using emotion and a military like personality, Roth showcased his talents as he presented a stern character that would do anything for power. Willing to subject himself to the detrimental effects of gamma radiation poisoning, Blonsky is as mad as he is intelligent. Yet, even with his inner source of anger and his pursuit to be the best, Blonsky will find a true test in the power and discipline of the Hulk.
Even with all these great cast members, the film didn't prove itself worthy of its four star-rating until it hit its climatic concluding sequence. Dealing with high rung emotions, time sensitive knowledge and two tough guys duking it out, the film entered into a whole new spectacle of entertainment. No longer was the action cheesy. Nor was the script lacking any major pieces. Instead, the film proved to be the complete package: realistic dialogue, relatable characters, strong action sequences and some stellar special effects; ultimately making this film a great late present for the millions of patiently awaiting Hulk fans!