How horrible must a film be to require a complete franchise reboot five years later?
The answer is Ang Lee’s attempt to make an arthouse film out of Hulk in 2003. (I’ll also accept repeated attempts at The Punisher in 1989, 2004 and 2008.)
Eric Bana is butt ugly and his ears bother the shit out of me. (He has no earlobes and they seem attached to his skull in a rather odd way.) Then there’s that whole, um, acting thing that Edward Norton is so good at. The win is decisive. Advantage Norton.
So Jennifer Connelly has an Oscar and Liv Tyler doesn’t. Hmmm…why do I like Tyler’s Betty Ross so much more than Connelly’s? Must be residual goodwill left over from all those Aerosmith videos in my formative years. Connelly has Labyrinth and Dark City going for her, but face it – Mia Sara had a better dress in Legend and Connelly didn’t even do her own singing in Dark City. Advantage Tyler.
Josh Lucas is a WAY hotter nemesis than Tim Roth, but being hot doesn’t mean you can act. Josh Lucas can do crazy eyes, but face it, he’s just a discount store Matthew McConaughey. Tim Roth is the real deal. Roth does have the advantage of getting to transform into the Yellow Hulk, but since he’s all old now, it merely levels the playing field. Advantage Roth.
Sam Elliot’s mustache did most of the acting in Hulk. Even though William Hurt knocked the shit out of Marlee Matlin back in the 80s, he’s still a good actor and I can’t hate on him too much. Advantage Hurt.
CGI has come a long way in the last five years, but art direction plays a bigger part in the success of this film’s Hulk sequences. A darker, more olive green was chosen for the Hulk this time around, instead of the Jolly Green Giant hue previously used. This Hulk’s movements have also improved – the previous movie had him moving too lightly for his weight and size. The whole tone of the film was darker and more shadowy – the makers had obviously been using Batman Begins as a cheat sheet.
Somehow, The Incredible Hulk seemed to fade out of the theaters rather quickly, which was easy during the summer of The Dark Knight and Iron Man. It’s actually pretty good! I’m even interested in a sequel…which they set up rather nicely with a possible gray hulk coming our way.