There was two reasons I wanted to watch the new Hulk movie. The first was because Edward Norton is Bruce Banner and I thought that casting was sheer genius. Why didn't I thought of that?
The second was the scene in the trailer where Bruce Banner actually stepped out of a flying helicopter, with the intentionof bringing out the Hulk in him through sheer extreme agitation, since he recently just managed to suppressed the Hulk.
Damn. That was taken straight out from the Ultimate version of the Hulk. In the comic, Banner had successfully suppressed the transformation into the Hulk through medical science. But when the military needed the Hulk to fight an unstopable enemy, they didn't think twice to just push Banner off the helicopter. The panic, fear and madness felt by Banner as he plummeted to the ground from so high up in the air was enough to turned him into the Hulk again just moment before he crashed with a loud thud. Brilliant. Only from the wildly creative mind of scribe Mark Millar.
Back to the movie. It opened with a quick introduction to the origin of the Hulk. In an experiment on radiation imunity went wrong, Banner became the Hulk, destroyed the lab and injured his lab partner and love interest Betty Ross. Also in the openning sequences are flashes of documents addressed to Stark Enterprise and Nick Fury from SHIELD, each making reference to famous characters in the Marvel Universe. So when the story takes us to the present, where Banner is in hiding in Brazil while looking for a cure with the help of a mysteriuos Mr Blue, I can't help but wondered if that was Dr Reed Richards aka Mr Fantastic himself from Fantastic Four. He turned out to be a Dr Samuel Stern, whom Banner must return to meet back in the States if he is to have any chance of ever suppressing the Hulk.
But even before that trip, the military already located his whereabouts and a band of highly trained soldiers, together with mercenary Emil Bronski was dispatched to capture him alive. Of course the Hulk came out and they didn't stand a chance.
By the time the Hulk and Emil meets for round two, the British mercenary has already been enhanced by the US Super Soldier programme and was already stronger and faster though not yet bigger. It was interesting seeing a soldier pitting his cunning and agility against the pure brute of the Hulk. However, his guns could not harm the Hulk and the battle ended with him broken and almost dead.
As Banner and Betty continued their run, Emil received a second dose of the Super Soldier serum to further even the odds. Earlier before that encounter, Bruce actually did looked for Betty the moment he returned to US but when he saw that she is already seeing someone else, he left her alone. After all, if you truly love someone, you let her go. If she comes back to you, she is yours. If not, it was never meant to be. Right?
Well, it was meant to be. Even after seeing Banner transformed into the Hulk, she continued to stay with him. There was even a King Kong moment where in a scene after Hulk rescued Betty, she woke up to an apparently nervous and clumsy Hulk. The giant just soften up at the mere sight of the woman he loves.
The story doesn't ends there as Banner finally met up with Dr Stern. The cure apparently worked and just as the Hulk was banished from Banner's system, the military busted in and took Banner away. Emil, disappointed to lost to the Hulk without a rematch forced Stern to use Banner's blood sample on him, turning him into the Abomination. His anatomy is a little distorted which is quite interesting. He also became bald and because he was not wearing extra large and loose pants like Banner, he loses that as well. His pants and hairs are not the only things he lost though as a full frontal view also revealed that he no longer has what is every mens' favourite piece of muscle. Ahem..
This is the scene I was waiting for. Unsure if the Hulk was truly suppressed, Banner needed a trauma at its highest level to try draw out the monster within, so he decided to throw himself out a flying helicopter. The Hulk emerged and they both clased like only Titans can. Noone was supposed to be physically stronger than the Hulk in the Marvel universe but the producer wanted to give him a real challenge. Not only is the Abomination stronger but he was also more well trained in close quarter combat as a soldier.
As an ardent movie fan who take the fight scene very seriuosly, I find it unacceptable that this version of Hulk was able to defeat the Abomination. What I would do differently if I were the director is to have them in a more primitive fist fight with the Abomination having the upper hand due to the skill he already have but with the Hulk keep coming back for more. Despite all his skill, Emil will finds that it was not enough to overwhelm the Hulk's brute strength. The Hulk would also not be the one using weapon but the Abomination will. And plenty of collateral damage from the fight.
The anatomy of the Hulk as presented in the CG was rather impressive. Take it from me that I do know abit on this subject since I draw a lot of muscle bound men. If they could retain a little resemblance of Norton to Hulk's face, that would be even better. The texture however, does not like like skin some of the times. And they move too fast. Big creatures like them could not possibly move with that kind of agility. Just look at Peter Jackson's remake of King Kong, especially the scene where he fought the 3 rexes. They are by no mean slow, but there was a certain weight in their movements that was more realistic. And that was an excellent fight scene. No need to smash cars into fists like gloves.
Other than that, I really have no other complain. The movie even managed to get abit emotional at times although I doubt anyone would actually shed a tear. There was some light humour that blended in very well like the purple pants that Betty bought for Banner. In the comic book, the Hulk is always wearing a torn purple pants. Then there is the time when Banner got his Brazilian wrong and told some rascals not to make him hungry because they won't like it when he is hungry. The movie also hinted on a possible new nemesis when we saw drops of Banner blood falling on Dr Stern's wounded forehead, causing it to swells.I didn't recognise the name but Stern must be the Leader, another archnemesis who battle the Hulk's brawn with brain. The cliffhanger near the ends however, takes the cake when we see Robert Downey Jr in a cameo as Tony Stark aka Ironman telling General Ross that they are assembling a team, obviously refering to the Avenger, which is rumoured to be an upcoming Marvel live action movie project.
I suddenly find myself wondering how an Avenger movie would be like if Peter Jackson directs it.