Sunday, October 21, 2012

A "Incredible Hulk" trumps a mere "Hulk"

Continuing my exploration of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I watched "The Incredible Hulk". I was skeptical when I bought it because "Hulk" was such a disapointment but I am a skeptic no more. In addition to having a plot this time, the reboot veers away from the human melodrama that killed the first by including plenty of action and occasional humor.

The story begins long after the experiment that transformed Bruce Banner into the Hulk. It focuses on a cure. Every action Bruce takes is towards a cure and leads the plot. On the other side of the coin, Blonsky's drive to progressively upgrade himself into the next Hulk. Thus we have passive and peaceful Banner vs aggressive and war-like Blonsky melding like yin and yang; a fascinating cinematic device. This is the sort of thing that was missing in the last Hulk movie.

Considering the poetential for action inherent in such a superhero there was little of in "Hulk". In contrast,  the "Incredible Hulk" tells the origin story briefly durring the opening credits and fills the audience in after a five month time skip. This allows it to go right to the HULK SMASH and give Bruce enough time to come to terms with initial angst. Furthermore, instead of whinning about it, this Bruce is proactive. He studies soft-handed martial arts, practices meditation, and wears a watch that monitors how close he is to hulking out. Living in a shared Marvel universe is also a bonus.

I love shared universes. Each story in the shared universe adds to all the others; a 'whole is greater than the sum of its parts', sort of thing. General Ross wants to weaponize Banner's DNA; why he wants to do this is not stated directly but inferred by the wider universe. First of all, The US government wants to recreate the super soldier serum (Captain America) to match the power of hostiles that can drop out of the sky (Thor) or wear powered armor (Iron Man).  Thinking about these elements provides a higher level of enjoyment.

The film is not perfect. There is a contrived coinicidence where the plot could have gone in a completely different direction. Then there's an idiot ball that I could have been avoided but is understandable.  Every time Banner hulks out it's in response to Ross attacking him but this is only pointed out by people who can't stop him anyway. On the whole, these issues are minor.

Trickster Eric Novels gives "The Incredible Hulk" an A-

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