Count me among one of ‘those people’ that actually enjoyed Ang Lee’s “Hulk” from 2003.  I’m not quite sure why many hated that film so
much, but I thought it was a very unique way to approach comic book material and I genuinely felt for the character of the Hulk by the end of
the film.

Unfortunately, Marvel agreed with the hasty opinions of viewers (many of whom seemed to form their opinion about the film based on visual
effects in the Super Bowl TV spot) and decided to go in a completely different direction with this kinda sequel.  Not even the excellent cast
was brought back.

As in “Superman Returns,” there is just something off about a film that expects us to immediately latch onto characters based on a film that
starred different actors in all of the main roles.

And the result is an opening with an uneasy feel as we try to determine whether this film is trying to be a direct sequel, or live in a new Hulk
universe.

There is one good idea introduced early on as Bruce Banner trains himself to control his body through his mind.  It’s a shame that this
philosophy is never truly explored.

Director Louis Leterrier is an action director, and he’ll be damned if he lets that philosophical junk into his flick!  

Instead, we are barraged by uninspired action sequences with sound effects mixed so loudly that they are literally mind numbing.  At least
the visual effects are pretty good.

And to be honest, Edward Norton (who supposedly also co-wrote the film) makes for an adequate Banner.

Liv Tyler doesn’t fare as well as his girl Betty, and Tim Roth is fairly dispensable as the villainous Emil Blonsky.

Add in some awkward comic relief and a directionless and droning score by Craig Armstrong and you have the makings of a mediocre film.

I was completely bored by this movie.  While it’s never embarrassingly bad, it just never strikes a chord.  The characters are uninspired and
the plot is a standard exercise in safe comic book writing.

Leterrier directs the entire film as if it’s an extended film trailer, and the result is a very detached experience.

I’ve never been a big fan of the Hulk, but the character lent itself well to the surprisingly straight laced drama of the previous film.  Here we
get exactly what we expect, and that isn’t a good thing.

You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry, and to the film’s credit, it didn’t make me angry.  It’s hard to be angry when you are half asleep…

* 1/2
(out of four)
THE INCREDIBLE HULK
Directed by: Louis Leterrier

Written by: Zak Penn

Starring: Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, William
Hurt, Tim Blake Nelson


Music by: Craig Armstrong

Released: June 13, 2008; 114 Minutes