>The Incredible Hulk

>Saw The Incredible Hulk Friday evening and, for the most part, was pretty impressed. It’s not quite the same level of greatness that Batman Begins or Spider-Man 2 is, but I will say that in many ways it’s as satisfying as Iron Man was.

After sitting back and have a few weeks to contemplate Iron Man, I’m more and more convinced the last battle seemed like it was put in there just to have a colossal last battle and to give the video-game something to emulate. In Incredible, we have a final battle that actually works because the script builds up to and sure, it’s two CGI characters going at in what could be an elaborate video-game sequence, but it’s still fun and it actually works within the context of the film.

It’s interesting to see The Incredible Hulk after reading the Peter David novelization. David wrote one of the definitive runs on the comic book and was the ideal writer to adapt the script for the printed page. And in case you missed it, there was some dispute between the Marvel Studios and the movie’s director and Edward Norton over which cut to use. Marvel wanted the action heavy cut that was shorter and Norton and the director wanted a longer, more character-driven cut. From reading David’s novelization, I think he was given a script from the longer more character-driven version. It’s not that they’re too radically different, but in the final act a choice Banner makes would have made a whole lot more sense had it been set up earlier in the film. And based on interviews with the director, the scene that was glaringly missing was filmed and will be put on the DVD and Blu-Ray release. (Along with 70 minutes of cut footage if the director gets his way).

Also during the movie, I found myself wishing that we lived in a time when they could keep some things under wraps more. The movie does a good job of keeping the Hulk in shadows for the first half, building up the moment when we fully see the Hulk on-screen. I’d argue the scenes in the bottling plant in South America with the Hulk hiding is shadows and smoke are more effective than the all-out shots we see of the Hulk taking on the Abomination at the end of the film. It’s the whole “less is more” theory. But if we hadn’t had leaked CGI of the Hulk in the trailers, fan boys would be up in arms, screaming about it. So I guess you really can’t win for losing in this case.

Another thing I liked is how Marvel Studios is working to create an overall universe in its movies. While the Captain America cameo was cut (I am not sure it ever existed since they haven’t cast the part yet), there are enough references to the Marvel universe and little things to catch that fans should be happy. And yes, the rumors you’ve heard about a certain character from another big summer Marvel movie making an appearance in there are true. But there are a lot of other references in there as well, making this one of those movies that it will be fun to catch all the little things and fan Easter eggs on the eventual DVD release.

Finally, there is no closing scene after the credits. I stayed all the way through and there was nothin’.

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