Yep, Ang Lee’s Hulk. You knew we had to talk about it eventually. I saw this movie in theatres when I was six years old, and for a while I was just as into it as the first Spider-Man movie. Also the Ben Affleck Daredevil. The point is I grew up, developed an actual discerning taste in movies, and eventually went on to see a much better Hulk movie in 2008. And since then the infamy of the terrible original Hulk movie continued to grow. Go up to anyone who was a comicbook fan in the early 2000’s and just say “Ang Lee Hulk” and I guarantee they’ll have something to say. I think the biggest problem with this movie is that the people involved seem to have very little respect for comicbooks as a medium. It’s one thing to have a comicbook movie be a little corny, or cater too much towards children, but Ang Lee seems to think that comics are such a silly little kid thing that he can’t even make a literal translation into film, but rather has to turn it into a parody of the medium itself. The movie is full of moments where the screen separates into comicbook panels to show two different angles of the same shot at the same time. Not only is this stupid, but it can be really disorienting and make it hard to focus on what’s happening. And it’s not like this just happens once or twice; almost every scene transition does it. There’s even a scene where the secondary villain dies in an explosion, and they do like a weird freeze frame with a cartoon outline around the character. It’s shit like that that makes this movie hard to take seriously. But the way bigger insult than the gross over stylization is the complete refusal to actually use any of the characters or story elements from the comics. Not only do they make Hulk’s origin totally ridiculous and overcomplicated, but they use a villain who’s not even in the comics. Instead of Abomination, or the Leader, or Doc Samson, or Absorbing Man, or Red Hulk, or Zzzax, the use Bruce Banner’s father (a completely different character than he was in the comics with a completely different name) who has some kind of super vague energy absorption powers. What a giant middle finger to the fans. And speaking of ludicrous villains, they are also Hulk dogs in this movie. But what really sucks about the whole thing is the wasted potential. There’s about forty minutes, roughly in the middle of the film, where Hulk breaks out of a government containment facility and just jumps through the desert being chased by military tanks and helicopters. The fight eventually ends in San Francisco, where Hulk jumps on to a military jet and gets flown all around the golden gate bridge. And this single forty minutes, where nothing is happening but the Hulk fighting the military, is awesome. It’s so cool. It’s beautiful, and cinematic, and well directed, and looks like it leapt right off the comic page. That forty minutes is everything everybody wanted from a Hulk movie. The only problem is that it’s both proceeded and followed by so much bullshit that it makes the overall film completely irredeemable. And so the great director, great cast, and some really great action go completely to waste in this complete fucking mess of a movie. Damn shame.
Overall Rating: Not so Incredible/10