The Incredible Hulk (12A)


It's not easy being green

Five years on from Hulk, Ang Lee's take on the not-so-Jolly Green Giant, the Marvel Comics franchise is revived for the screen again.

He has gained an epithet "The Incredible..." in the interim, and perhaps put on a few pounds to boot, but he's still the same pneumatically muscled man-mountain governed by the same volcanic rages. Director Louis Leterrier, who made his reputation (ominously) on the two Jason Statham Transporter movies, has ditched the Oedipal-wrecks angle of Lee's movie and torn straight into the moral battle for The Hulk's soul.

That battle has been entrained by an experiment that went horribly wrong. Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) caught an overdose of gamma radiation that gave him a body mass like a sumo wrestler's and a glare like Alan Sugar's. You really wouldn't like him when he's angry. Having fled the scene, Banner is now hiding out in a Brazilian favela and working on a cure for his disease, though he still holds a torch for his research colleague, Betty (Liv Tyler). Too bad Betty's father is a hawkish general (William Hurt) obsessed with replicating Banner's volatile DNA and turning it into a weapon for the US military.

Watch the Incredible Hulk trailer

Competent, action-led and almost entirely humourless, the movie surprises only in its casting. Norton, reedy of voice and recessive of mood, does not convince either as scientist or as arch-fugitive. You want to believe that he's haunted by the Mr Hyde-like alter ego within him, but all you notice is the rather narcissistic urge to show off his six-pack. He's also weirdly asexual. When he hooks up with babe-by-any-standards Betty and they're kissing in a motel, he stops her and says, "I can't get too excited" – surely the lamest excuse one lover has offered to another on screen. I'm sure she'd have forgiven him if he'd turned green.

The other inexplicable miscasting is Tim Roth as a military tough-nut seconded to Hurt's special operations unit. Roth, even more ferret-like than Norton, gives a lousy impersonation of soldierly discipline: any general worth his stripes would surely have told him to a) get a proper shave and b) stop slouching. When Hurt decides to make Roth's unimpressive specimen his protégé and injects him with a dose of Hulk-strength serum, we prepare for an adversary that's twice as monstrous and 10 times as antisocial as our hero. Only problem with this is that the emergent creature – a sort of GM Hulk known as The Abomination – still looks nowhere near as unpleasant as Roth. A demolition derby on the streets of Manhattan duly kicks off, though the finale causes not gasps of excitement but groans of dismay: we are now being primed for a superhero face-off, the likely and only victor being the film studios out to flog the franchise.

Arts and Entertainment

Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year


Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington plays MI5 agent Will Holloway in Spooks: The Greater Good

'You can't count on anyone making it out alive'film
Arts and Entertainment
War veteran and father of Peter and Laust Thoger Jensen played by Lars Mikkelson

TVBBC hopes latest Danish import will spell success

Arts and Entertainment
Carey Mulligan in Far From The Madding Crowd
FilmCarey Mulligan’s Bathsheba would fit in better in The Hunger Games
Arts and Entertainment
Pandas-on-heat: Mary Ramsden's contribution is intended to evoke the compound the beasts smear around their habitat
Iart'm Here But You've Gone exhibition has invited artists to produce perfumes
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
    'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

    'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

    British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
    Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

    Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

    Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
    14 best kids' hoodies

    14 best kids' hoodies

    Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk