The Road To Endgame – Part 2: The Incredible Hulk
Now we move on to the next film in the MCU, The Incredible Hulk.
Boy it was great seeing Mark Ruffalo shine as the Hulk in his own mo- Wait, what do you mean it’s not him?
Edward Norton? You’re kidding, right? You’re not? Oh, well, this is embarrassing. Time to look at the Hulk’s only solo movie in the MCU – which doesn’t actually happen to star the current Hulk.
The Incredible Hulk is, not surprisingly, about the big green man himself. It’s about him evading the military and trying to stop General Thaddeus Ross from capturing hi, when suddenly, shock horror, we get the traditional comic book trope of a mirror comic book villain (The Abomination, played by Tim Roth) fighting against the might of the hero. It’s an extremely tropey plot, but simply being tropey doesn’t necessarily mean bad.
So why is it that I dislike this plot so much? I think it’s the villain. The Abomination isn’t really set-up at all and his motivations are almost paper-thin. If the film had used a villain such as The Leader, maybe I’d feel different about this whole thing. As it stands, I don’t really like it.
The cast is… poor. I like Edward Norton as Bruce Banner/The Hulk, but that’s my extent of affection towards the cast. Well, that and William Hurt’s portrayal of General Thaddeus Ross.
Apart from that, I couldn’t care less about the cast. I really don’t like Liv Tyler’s Betty Ross. She just doesn’t inspire hope in me like the character is supposed to, and her chemistry with Norton is off the wrong end of the charts. That is to say, she has literally none. Tim Roth’s aforementioned Abomination is not only a mediocre villain, Roth feels like he couldn’t care less about the role. Perhaps he saw it as nothing other than a paycheck or perhaps this was just during a down period during his career, but it doesn’t have the same quality that Roth exudes in his other films.
On the bright side, the action in the film is quite good. It’s just The Hulk tearing stuff off, and I will never stop loving the giant green man ripping stuff apart with his bare hands and throwing it at people, and while the final battle is just two giant CGI monsters going at each other, it at least feels like it has impact and weight to the battle. They show the destruction that the battle would realistically cause and you feel like there’s real stakes to the whole affair. It’s just a shame that it’s not enough to save the film.
Overall, The Incredible Hulk, while still being mediocre, is at least not the worst of the MCU films in phase one (that honour must go to either Thor or Iron Man 2). I quite like Edward Norton as Bruce Banner, although not as much as I like Mark Ruffalo in the role. Everything else in this film ranges from inoffensive to just straight up poor: in terms of an MCU catch-up, you can probably skip this one if you want to.