You know, there are few movies that I have seen where people’s opinions about the movie are so divided. Granted, every movie is going to have it’s share of supporters and detractors but today’s movie really seemed to be split 50/50. Critics loved it or hated it. People on the street hated it or loved it. Even my friends are split on whether or not they like this movie. My opinion? Well, you will soon find out as I watch today’s movie, Hulk.
The plot: Dr. David Banner is working on a creating super soldiers by modifying human DNA but General Thaddeus Ross refuses his request for human subjects. David decides to experiment on himself and winds up passing the effects of his experiments on to his newborn son, Bruce. David tries to discover a cure but General Ross, learning that David had defied orders and experimented on humans, kicks David off of the project. In retaliation, David starts the sequence for a gamma decontamination and tries to leave with his wife and kid but he gets into an argument with his wife. Years later, Bruce, now an adult, is working with his ex-girlfriend Betty Ross on using low level gamma radiation to activate “nanomeds” in order to introduce cell repair in living organisms. Though their experiments have met with failure, they have caught the eye of Major Glenn Talbot, who wants to use their research for military purposes. One night, a short circuit in their Gammaspectrometer causes it to activate at full power and Bruce, in order to save his coworker, throws himself in front of the machine and receives a lethal dose of gamma radiation. Surprisingly, Bruce survives and, while recuperating in the med center, receives a visit from the new janitor, who informs Bruce that he is his biological father and tries to warn him to stay away from Betty. Bruce is doing some tests on his blood when the stress of everything that has happened gets to him and he transforms into the Hulk and proceeds to trash the lab. The next morning, General Ross places Bruce under house arrest and Betty goes to talk with David in order to get some answers but he refuses to tell her much. That night, Bruce receives a call from David, who tells him that he had used Bruce’s DNA to mutate his dogs and sent them after Betty. When Talbot shows up and begins to attack Bruce for getting Ross involved, Bruce transforms and, after attacking Talbot and the two guards at his house, heads off to rescue Betty. The Hulk manages to get to the cabin that Betty is at just before the dogs get there and ends up killing the dogs before changing back into Bruce. The next day, Betty calls her father, who has a team go and capture Bruce and take him to a secret underground military base in the desert, the same base Ross was in charge of years ago. While the military tries to locate him, David heads to what is left of Bruce’s lab and uses the equipment to try and recreate what happened to Bruce, but instead of becoming another Hulk, David finds himself able to absorb any material or energy he touches. Back at the base, Betty wakes Bruce up and the two walk around the surface of the base, eventually ending up at Bruce’s old house. Talbot gets control of Bruce from Ross and tries to force Bruce to transform in order to get a sample of the Hulk’s DNA. Betty, having been sent home, discovers David in her house, who offers to turn himself in for the murder of Bruce’s mother. Back at the base, Bruce winds up transforming into an even more powerful Hulk and escapes from the base, with Talbot getting killed in the process. As the Hulk makes his way towards San Francisco, the military, under command of General Ross, try to stop him but fail. He eventually makes it to San Francisco, where Betty is able to calm him down enough to transform back to Bruce, and he is immediately placed under arrest. Realizing that he is to great a threat, Ross orders both Bruce and David to be executed, but David uses a power cable to absorb all of the electricity in San Francisco. The burst of electricity causes Bruce to transform and he begins to fight his father. David tries to absorb the Hulk’s energy but it proves to be too much for him to handle and he winds up being killed by a missile and the Hulk disappears. One year later, Bruce is presumed dead, although Ross continues to receive reports of Hulk sightings. Bruce is shown to be living as a doctor in South America and when a group of armed militants try to take the medicine from him, the jungle echoes with the Hulk’s roar.
Hulk met with mixed reviews from the critics, earning a 62% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While some critics, Roger Ebert being one of them, praised the writing, story telling, and action scenes in the film, other critics felt that the length of the film and the “dated CGI” hurt the film. Hulk does have the dubious honor of holding the record for the largest second weekend box office drop for a movie that opened at #1 when the box office dropped almost 70%. While not the box office smash that the studio was expecting, the movie did go on to make over $245 million worldwide.
Soooo…..this isn’t the worst movie Marvel made before Iron Man, but it definitely isn’t one of their best. Let me get to the good points first. The acting in this movie really was good. While I honestly thought that Eric Bana was only decent, Jennifer Connelly, Sam Elliott, and Nick Nolte did exceptional jobs in their respective roles. I also thought that the story was good, from a writing standpoint but i could have been visualized better. I did like the nod to the old TV show by having Nick Nolte play David Banner, the name that Bill Bixby was given in the TV show. Now to the bad parts. First off, this movie was way longer than it needed to be. You could have easily cut 20-30 minutes from this and it would have turned out better. Second, the size changing Hulk. What the hell was that all about. Although he is smaller when he is the grey-skinned Hulk, when he is his “normal” mean-green form, the Hulk is an 8 foot powerhouse that does NOT continue to grow as he gets madder. The CGI was also somewhat hit or miss in my opinion. Some of the scenes were good but others seemed to be more like something from a bad B-movie. The one character I did not like in this movie was Talbot, mainly because they messed with his motivation. In the comics Talbot was in love with Betty and constantly chased after the Hulk in order to prove he is a better man than Bruce is to Betty and hopefully win her heart. In this movie, he is some power hungry jackass that will do whatever it takes to get what he wants. So if you want to watch a movie with the Hulk, watch the 2008 film, or the animated movies he is in, but you could probably pass on this one.
Rating: 2 out of 5