Superhero Movies on Steroids Series: Movie #45

Hulk (2003)

Plot: When scientist Bruce Banner (Eric Bana) is exposed to gamma rays, his genetic make-up is changed, causing him to turn into the giant green Hulk whenever he gets angry.  His new power opens the doors to his troubled past and estranged father (Nick Notle), while the military also tries to capture Banner so they can study him.

The Hulk is about a scientist who when he gets angry, turns into a giant green wrecking machine that destroys everything in his path.  Director Ang Lee took this concept and made a slow, artsy, pretentious film…what the hell!!  I’m all for making superhero movies more character driven and serious, but this is not the way to do it.  What makes a great movie is balancing story and character development with entertainment, and there is barely any entertainment to be found in Hulk.  The directing is a complete mess, especially in the beginning.  The edits are way too fast.  Just let a fricking scene play out!  The good music makes it bearable at times, but can’t save it.  There are two major flaws with Hulk.  First of all, Lee makes a terrible decision to use comic book like panels to tell the story.  It’s so distracting.  Sometimes I don’t even know what’s going on because of this bull shit.  But the worst part about Hulk is the pacing.  Holy shit, this movie is slooooooooooooooooooow.  Wow.  I’ve never clicked so many times on my DVD time left button when watching a movie.  There’s a part where Bruce Banner is exploring his old childhood home at the military base, and it’s just never ending.  Cut me a break!  The movie is cluttered with artsy images and feels like a bad Darren Aronofsky movie.  There’s stuff like Banner looking at a picture, and then he’ll enter the photo as the memory plays out.  It’s crap like this that is littered throughout the film.  The tone is so far off from what it should be that when the Hulk finally does show up, he looks like he belongs in another movie.  It’s so awkward.  And they barely do anything with the Hulk.  He just breaks a lot of stuff and jumps…A LOT.  The action looks nice towards the end, but Lee can’t sustain an action scene.  Every time the film is about to gain momentum, it cuts back to the slow moving lame images.  Just let the action play out!!  There’s some really nice imagery at the end including Hulk getting flown up into the sky, and some powerful moments between Bruce and his father that make this film not a total disaster, but by the time you get there, you are so jaded by the length, you barely care anymore.  So aside from a few spurts of greatness at the end, this is the opposite of a movie like Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.  It’s no action with all character drama whereas that movie is all action with no character drama…you need both.

Rating: 4 out of 10 (Really Bad)

Category Rankings (Spoilers Throughout):

Best Performance: Nick Nolte as David Banner
-It’s really towards the end where Nolte shines, but he at least infuses an eccentric quality to the film that takes you out of it’s slow pace.

Worst Performance: Eric Bana as Bruce Banner
-I know Bana can act, so I don’t think it’s his fault.  I get that Banner is a man who holds back his emotions, but they took it a little too far.  There’s nothing here. 

Best Line: “You weak little spec of human trash.” –David Banner to Bruce
-Wow, pretty harsh towards his own son, but a powerful moment nonetheless.  What an asshole.

Worst Line: “We’re gonna have to watch that temper of yours.” –David Banner
-Oh, because when Bruce Banner gets angry, he changes into the Hulk, so they better watch that temper.  It’s not so much the line, it’s the way Nolte delivers it, like he’s winking at the camera and parodying the material.

Best Fight:
-David and Bruce Banner have an interesting fight at the very end.  This is the one part where the odd images kind of worked.  The setting looks gorgeous as the David Banner character becomes this being that can absorb all the energy around him.  The lead in to this fight looks pretty slick as they fall through the clouds in this lightning storm caused by David, and the music syncs up beautifully with it.  Although the end is fricking weird as David Banner turns into a giant water circle of repressed memories.  I’m not kidding.  David Banner turns into a big glob of water and floats up into the sky as flashbacks play out inside it.  Yea.

WTF Moment:
-When General Ross calls the President to tell him Hulk is on the loose and he needs more military support, he casually answers, “Consider it done, [and] keep us posted,” like he barely cares.  Then he goes back to fishing.  Shouldn’t he be a little bit more concerned that a giant green monster is on the verge of attacking thousands of innocent people?

Best Scene:
-After Bruce is detained yet again, David is able to visit him at the end, and this is where Nick Nolte really steps it up.  He goes crazy, screaming at his son and the military, delivering a good monologue.  And the setting looks nice…really dark.

Worst Scene:
-The scene that epitomizes the slow pace of this film is when Bruce Banner is captured for the first time, and they take forever just escorting him down to the isolated military base.  It feels like they go down twenty elevators.  This combined with the weird comic book panels is just torture.

Funniest Moment:
-After Bruce goes through the accident, he sits in his hospital bed with a concerned Betty.  Bruce says “Hey, I’m not going to explode, okay.”  What’s so funny about this is that I can’t tell if this was meant to be funny or serious because Bana has one tone throughout the movie.

Bad Ass Moment:
-There’s one pretty bad ass shot where Hulk jumps from a barrage of missiles, and we see the missiles all explode on the ground below him.  It was the best jumping moment in the entire film, and there were about 900 jumping scenes to choose from.

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2 comments

  1. Pingback: Superhero Movies on Steroids Series: THE FINAL RANKINGS « The Green Light
  2. Pingback: The Three Hulks: Eric Bana, Edward Norton and Mark Ruffalo « Radu presents: The Movie-Photo Blog

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