Doc Bruce Banner, Pelted By Gamma Rays

Sadly, the tune referenced in the title of this post did not appear in the latest adventure of the Hulk on the big screen, that that is perhaps the only reference to a previous incarnation that was not included in The Incredible Hulk .  Despite this tragic shortcoming, it was still a good movie.

This movie — as every press release and preview article is quick to point out — is entirely unrelated to Ang Lee’s 2003 film Hulk , which I thought was just okay.  (In that regard, my sense is that many peoples’ opinions of that movie have degraded since it was first released, but I thought it was okay then much as I do now.)  Thankfully, it doesn’t waste much time rehashing the Hulk’s origin, but instead jumps right into the thick of things.

Those things include some good action sequences, a much better-looking Hulk than the previous version, a coherent storyline, and some decent character development.  The movie is also thankfully angst-free, unlike its predecessor — a movie about the Hulk is not really the place for daddy issues.

Ed Norton does a good job as Banner, and Liv Tyler is effective as Betty Ross, his love interest/conscience.  Tim Roth is particularly entertaining in his portrayal of Emil Blonski, an old soldier who is in the military for the joy of fighting rather than the honour of serving.  Let us say that such things do not end well on that front.

The Incredible Hulk is set in the same universe as the recent Iron Man movie , confirmed by a delightful cameo by Robert Downey Jr.  This is possible since Marvel Studios was the sole producer of both of these movies (having reclaimed the film rights to the Hulk after no sequel was made for Ang Lee’s movie); they have others in the works in the coming years (Thor and Captain America ), and have already announced plans for an Avengers movie that would bring together these heroes in a single movie.  If they can maintain the level of quality of these last two movies, and not go off the rails like the producers of the X-Men and Spider-Man franchises did, then the future looks promising indeed.

So, as you’ve gathered, I liked the movie.  I don’t think it was quite as good as Iron Man , but I was thoroughly entertained, the cast and special effects were good, it was chock full of cameo appearances and set-ups for future developments (new villains and allies, for example),  and it provided a nice blend of well-executed action sequences alongside story and character development.  If you like superhero movies, you’ll like this one, I think.

As a side note, much of this movie was filmed in Toronto last summer, and specifically at the University of Toronto St. Georgee campus and Yonge street — parts of town where I live and work.  (I saw lots of production vehicles set up, but none of the movie stars.)  So it was rather neat seeing places I’m intimately familiar with pop up in a Hollywood blockbuster, and how they made these places appear to be not quite what they are.  Of course, the Sam the Record Man sign cannot be disguised, and you’ll see people running past it several times in the climactic battle scene.

(As another side note, while googling something for reference, I got sucked into reading the Marvel Database , where I’ve spent over an hour reading Marvel comics backstory.)

Glancing back over all of the above, I realize that all I’ve said can be effectively summed up with "I liked it; it was good."  But since I took the time to type out all that, I’ll leave it, and sign off.