MCU Retrospective: Incredible Hulk (2008)

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Length: 2Hr 15
Rating: 12
About: Scientist Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) desperately seeks a cure for the gamma radiation that contaminated his cells and turned him into The Hulk. Cut off from his true love Betty Ross (Liv Tyler) and forced to hide from his nemesis, Gen. Thunderbolt Ross (William Hurt), Banner soon comes face-to-face with a new threat: a supremely powerful enemy known as The Abomination (Tim Roth).

The Good

  • Ed Norton, upon reflection, was quite a good Bruce Banner. He brings the angst and turns it into a fine art; guilt, longing and regret are high and it gives you all the feels. While he’s not as good as Mark Ruffalo’s Assemble/Ulton Banner, he’s much better than the clusterfuck that is Infinity War. Norton’s strength comes from him being able to show how much of a toll the change takes on his physical self; something I feel has been shelved in Phases 2 and 3.
  • I love how the film ends; yes it feels like he hasn’t made any progress by being back on the run, but I love that he seems much more at peace with himself; that smile and green tinged eyes say it all.
  • We get that Tony Stark sting. It doesn’t fit for me with what I know of SHIELD and what’s to come. That said, its Rob D J! I’m not going to sniff at that.
  • EASTER EGG!!! We get Stan Lee (Obviously), but the geek touch that adds to this is having Lou Ferrigno in a small cameo.
  • Liv Tyler is a brilliant addition to the film as Betty Ross which makes me feel like a traitor as I loved Jennifer Connolly in the original. Tyler makes the character her own, brings an element of ‘bad ass’ Connolly’s version lacked and I had a chuckle at her freak out that is reminiscent of the melt down she has in Empire Records .

The Bad

  • Tim Roth makes for an excellent anti-hero, and I welcome his presence for *most* of the movie. Unfortunately, he makes for a piss poor villain. More on this later.
  • Well, General Ross is beyond a dick and I really hate that there’s no resolution of the character. He isn’t redeemed, he isn’t completely vilified. By the end of the movie he’s asked to join Stark on a SHIELD project. This would all be fine if there was a payoff in a later movie, but there’s not. I’m just so frustrated.
  • The story is decent enough; there’s the McGuffin of Mr Blue and Banner’s desire for a cure. However, the execution feels a little too “been there, done that” when it comes to the villain, especially after watching Iron Man directly before it. Again, I’ll come back to this in a moment.

The Ugly

  • I really didn’t like Bruce Banner testing the size of a pair of pants on the backside of a larger lady. Not cool, Banner, not cool!
  • Abomination! Its an ironically apt name. As I said before, Tim Roth is a good choice and a brilliant anti-hero, but Abomination is a CGI nightmare. Riffing Iron Man’s final act; it’s the ‘bigger, scarier, more teeth’ version of the Hulk.
  • Emil Blonsky is set up as loyal military man so I just don’t understand why he goes against General Ross so quickly. When he becomes Abomination, he retains his thoughts and understanding (or at least that’s what is implied) so he is exactly what Ross wanted. So why on earth does he go on a rampage. Hulk has more motive to attack General Ross. I also don’t understand his motivation for attacking Hulk. Yes, before he doesn’t like what Hulk represents, but as Abomination they’re fucking brothers.
  • There’s no explanation of what modifications have taken place for Abomination to be so different. Why is he talking and why is the voice so shit?! And why, oh why, is it only Banner who takes responsibility for the actions that led to the existence of Abomination?!

Final Thoughts

Ed Norton isn’t too shabby as Bruce Banner, but on the whole it really isn’t the best installment in the MC universe.

Love Han x

Marvelous Movie Reviews: Iron Man (2008)

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“Let’s face it, this is not the worst thing you’ve caught me doing.”

Tony Stark

Release: 8 May 2008
Rating: 12
Length: 2Hr 6min
About: A billionaire industrialist and genius inventor, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), is conducting weapons tests overseas, but terrorists kidnap him to force him to build a devastating weapon. Instead, he builds an armored suit and upends his captors. Returning to America, Stark refines the suit and uses it to combat crime and terrorism.

First Thought

I was VERY hungover when I first ever watched this film. I missed a lot as I dipped in and out of sleep. Up until watching it to review the film for this new series, I considered it a rather disjointed mess of a film that I never wanted to see again. It didn’t help that each time I’ve watched it since has been because its been found on TV mid film.
I actually wasn’t looking forward to this watch and I’ve put it off all month.

The Good

  • While my poisoned brain did not appreciate the way this film opened, I loved it this viewing. Being thrown into the action can seem a little disorientating and certainly not something done often in cinema, but it’s a device used in many tv shows to great effect. Here it gives you a snap shot of who Tony Stark is, before finding out how he got himself into the situation.
  • It’s an economically told origin story. When I compare this to others, it would have been easy for the first 40 minutes to be stretched to the full 2 hours, leaving the remainder of the plot to a sequel movie. I’m so glad that didn’t happen.
  • The relationship between Stark and Yinsen is something I slept through the first time, and it’s the strength of the movie. It gives Stark his motivation to become ‘Iron Man’ and change the mission statement of Stark Industries. It’s sincere and emotive; I only wish there was a look back to him at some point. Perhaps there is and I missed it; this rewatch will answer that.
  • What a good bad guy. It’s the one thing I don’t think Marvel gets quite right in subsequent movies. No long-winded explanation as to why, no sob story to make him an anti-hero. Just pure greed. The moment in which Jeff Bridge’s Obadiah renders Stark vulnerable is really chilling and the most sinister scene of the whole franchise.

The Bad

  • It really bugs me that Yinsen lists off all the languages that The Ten Rings speak and the one they don’t, is English. Surly if your main aim is to hold a demographic to ransom, you learn to communicate with them. However, I do like the fact that the film gives us Yinsen to translate and eliminate the need for subtitles.
  • Not sure if it’s because I’m so used to his replacement, but I’m not a fan of Terrence Howard. He doesn’t seem to gel with the rest of the cast and his scenes with RDJnr fall a little flat for me.
  • While the CGI of the suit and its construction is some of the best in the franchise, I found the CGI during the ultimate showdown a little old and ropy.

The Ugly

  • Watching it now, it makes me realise that the franchise started on such a high. It set a tone and standard that I fear I am going to watch slowly degrade as I go through my re-watch.
  • There’s not enough Happy Hogan. I’m sure directing was time consuming and explains Jon Favreau’s presence being reduced to nothing more than a cameo, but I’m certainly looking forward to him having more screen time in later films.

Final Thoughts

I’m glad I gave the film a second chance. I’ve really been missing out with not giving this installment my full attention. Perhaps I would have been Team Stark outright when it came to Civil War had I really, properly, watched Stark’s humbling journey.

Next week in Phase One of the MCU rewatch is 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, which sees Edward Norton taking up the mantel of the Toxic Avenger.

Have a Marvelous week.
Love Han x