2008, Movies

The Incredible Hulk (2008, Louis Leterrier)

So I’ve finally found my way to one of the few MCU movies I’ve missed, the weird one where they replaced the star before things really took off. At this point this feels like a movie from another era, as it has more in common with the first Iron Man, as you’d imagine, than it does with the Avengers films.

The opening is just bizarre but makes sense once you learn that 20 ish minutes were cut from the movie. It’s possibly the clunkiest opening of a Marvel film I can remember. During it, I was really, really concerned I was about to watch one of the worst films in the whole MCU. But it turns out this extremely clunky opening is just a consequence of an earlier MCU idea of brevity, one that hasn’t persisted due to the absurd lengths of the later films. It might be a disastrous start, but it actually doesn’t harm the movie as I much as I imagined it would. And I think I’d rather watch a sub-2 hour MCU film.

The first chase is refreshing in how human it is, with no (or unnoticeable) CGI used until he goes full Hulk. It’s clear the MCU has changed in the intervening years (though there are some movies that still stay grounded at times) and one thing that was enjoyable about this film in its early going was how it felt more like a traditional super hero movie than an MCU movie.

In some ways Hulk is sort of a classic character and there’s a real Beauty and the Beast vibe to this film. (I don’t remember if there was in the Ang Lee Hulk.) And there’s also a Jekyll and Hide vibe, but of course. Much more of the classics in this character than many other Marvel characters.

But the problem with a character is what happens when he goes full Hulk, and it’s more of a problem with monster movies than it is with many MCU movies: the final battle is essentially just a Godzilla thing. I just watched Jurassic World and, honestly, there isn’t much difference between the final battles in either film; it’s just two monsters beating each other up.

But up until that point, I think it mostly works and it’s more effective than many of these movies if only because of how rooted it is to a particular story.


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