Hulk (2003)

The Hulk wrecks havoc in downtown San Francisco.

“You wouldn’t like me when I am angry”. Muscles bulge, skin turns green, clothes rip off but amazingly stretchy shorts stay on. Yes it’s The Hulk (AKA Bruce Banner here played by Eric Bana). This is a surprsingly mature adaption by Ang Lee. I presume this is relatively faithful to the comic book. The style of dialogue often seems similar to a comic and at times it adopts comic style frames to tell the story. It’s an interesting stylistic choice and works well.

However the introduction drags on for ages. Let’s face it – we all want to see the Hulk power-fantasy, not sit through reams of interminable dialogue. “How do you feel when you are the Hulk?” asks Bruce’s girlfriend Betty (Jennifer Connelly, her with the amazing eyes). “I don’t have any memory of it except… I feel free and ….. I like it”. We all like it. Hulk is at his best when smashing up things, and then growing bigger with rage and smashing even bigger things up. Yes give us some backstory but not quite so much please.

Once the Hulk finally appears and the indignity of having to beat up 3 hulk-like dogs aside (don’t ask), things get better from this point on. There are actually 2 villians here. The first is General Ross (Sam Elliot) Jennifer’s father who wants to control or destroy the Hulk. Ross brings out the full force of the US Army against the Hulk and the results are spectacular with the Hulk making huge flying leaps across the landscape while catching Hellfire missiles in his hands and flinging them back at the pursing helicopters. It’s not long before the General realises that perhaps his greatest weapon is his daughter Jennifer…

Then there’s Bruce’s Father David (Nick Nolte) who has shadier motives but whose intentions slowly become clear over the course of film. There’s a disappointing final ‘kludge’ where another Hulk-like entity is conjured up just so the Hulk has something equal to fight against but overall this is a good film albeit it one with far too much exposition.

“Hulk Smash!” (eventually anyway) 7/10


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