Week of January 9, 2022:

The Incredible Hulk released June 13, 2008 (where to watch)
Evie Totty | January 9, 2022

Oh lord - I just wrote up a huge response and accidentally closed the window, losing everything. I'm on my phone - so, I'll regroup and try again later. :'(

Erik Bates | January 9, 2022
This comment contains spoilers for Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: Civil War, and Spider-Man: Homecoming. Reveal it.

Scott Hardie | January 10, 2022

I didn't enjoy this the first time. This time I did. Maybe it was seeing it on Blu-ray, since Netflix's DVD service was my chosen way to watch this. There's an intensity to the action scenes and to the cave scene that I appreciated. I was pulled into the contrasting arcs of the two men, Banner and Blonsky, one who wants power and runs toward action, the other who rejects power and flees action out of necessity. (Also: Blonsky starts the movie a disciplined officer but gradually loses control of himself. Banner starts the movie terrified of Hulk but gradually accepts the transformations and by the end appears to have gained control over them. Blonsky was a good choice for a villain.) Plus there are great little details, like that jaw-dropping helicopter shot near the beginning as the camera soars up the hills of Rio and we see hundreds upon hundreds of tiny people and tiny houses; that "special effect" is worth more than any dollar amount spent on CGI elsewhere in the film.

That said, yeah, there's some really dumb stuff here, from Samuel Sterns's wacky lab hijinks (let's kick the computer to make it work!), to the aforementioned "clapping to put out a fire" and "punching the ground to create a fault line" powers, which may have looked cool in a comic book but just don't play in a live-action film. Yikes. There's no chemistry between Norton and Tyler at all. There's really very little to the story; it would not be inaccurate to summarize it as "bad guys shoot Hulk, make Hulk SMASH." Ross's plan to capture Hulk for experiments that could make more Hulks is deeply flawed (though it works better if you generously interpret his emotions in the opening credits as impotent frustration at being unable to protect Betty from Hulk and subsequent need to dominate & control the beast). And where I once liked the little in-jokes like the Ferrigno & Bixby cameos and the "Hulk smash" line, they now feel too cheap; I wanted Hulk to say something smarter or at least more relevant to the moment than a pop-culture catchphrase.

If film music is your thing, the original score by Craig Armstrong is one of the best in the MCU, and I've listened to them all. This movie may not accomplish much else, but it has some pretty good music.

Evie: Sorry to hear it! I've been there. :-( I look forward to your thoughts when you have another chance.

Erik: I definitely agree about the password scene. Banner had to guess, so he typed in five characters and it worked and then he smiled a little, so I think we're meant to assume that "bruce" is indeed the password.

Scott Hardie | January 10, 2022
This comment contains spoilers for Captain America: The First Avenger and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Reveal it.

Scott Hardie | January 11, 2022

Watching the Hulk transformation scenes, I couldn't help but wonder what this material would have looked like in the hands of David Cronenberg.

Scott Hardie | February 18, 2022


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