Monday, 9 April 2018

Road to Infinity War - Phase 1 - The Incredible Hulk (2008)

One forgets that The Incredible Hulk came out a mere 6 weeks after Iron Man. The MCU were either very, VERY keen to build on the success OR that is what happens when you were dealing with multiple distributors on your films (until Disney bought Marvel Studios, Paramount were releasing the Iron Man, Cap and Thor movies while Universal still had Hulk. Actually even to this day which is why you don't see a solo Hulk movie).
Incredible Hulk is viewed by many as bottom tier Marvel. It is not a bad film. It's certainly a hell of a lot better than Ang Lee's 2003 Hulk with the mutant poodles!
It is just not as good or as slick and polished as the rest of their catalogue. Indeed, the MCU was clearly still finding its feet here as evidenced by Thunderbolt Ross's references to the Super Soldier plan not tying in perfectly with Captain America: The First Avenger.
Also, they seemed a little bit unsure of themselves and had the post-credit sting of Tony Stark telling Ross that they were putting a team together before the credits.
To think this is the same studio that gave us the troll-heavy Captain America sting at the end of Spider-Man Homecoming.

The Incredible Hulk always seems slightly out of place in the MCU and is mostly remembered for their handling of Edward Norton who did no publicity for the film after they rejected his 3 hour cut that was more of a Jekyll and Hyde character study in favour of retooling it as a two hour "Hulk Smash" action film.
The effects never really worked as the CGI Hulk never really felt like Norton's Banner. Something that would be fixed when Mark Ruffalo would be cast and did performance capture as the Hulk. Although it was nice to see Lou Ferrigno provide the voice and make a cameo.
It certainly wasn't all bad and there are some really lovely, fun moments such as Banner getting "You wouldn't like me when I'm angry" wrong in Portuguese or stopping himself from getting intimate with Betty Ross because his heart rate is getting too high and fearful he may Hulk out, or Craig Armstrong (delivering one of the strongest MCU scores) using the "sad walking away" music from the TV show.
In terms of references and world building, there is a nod to the Ultimates series of comics where they drop Banner out of a helicopter at an enemy to induce a change. This is also the series that introduced the Samuel L. Jackson version of Nick Fury and so gave comic fans an idea of where the over-arching story might be going.

Infinity Stone Counter: Still zero!

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