Bruce Banner (Eric Bana) is a nuclear researcher with a dark and convoluted past. His estranged father (Nick Nolte) coincidentally worked in the exact same field, carrying out experiments with side effects that were passed on to baby Bruce. But it’s not until yet another experiment goes wrong that Bruce discovers it’s not easy being green.
I don’t know why it’s so difficult to make a good Hulk film. He should be one of the most interesting Marvel characters with his Jekyll/Hyde personas, and the relatable fact that he becomes someone he doesn’t like when he’s angry. Yet Ang Lee’s 2003 effort makes the largely forgotten Louis Leterrier/Edward Norton film look like a masterpiece.
Unlike its split personalitied protagonist, this film is all bad. And not just bad overall. Virtually every single scene is bad. The acting is largely poor and the editing is choppy, so we find ourselves in a lab with Banner and generic love interest Betty (Jennifer Connoley) with no idea what they’re doing except microwaving frogs. There’s a lot of science but no romance; much chemistry but no chemistry.
It’s horribly put together with distracting Powerpoint-style scene transitions the likes of which haven’t been seen since the Star Wars prequels. The overly involved plot stretches the limits of both Lee’s talents as a director of comic book films and the CGI available at the time. It would have been better if it was directed by Stan Lee. Or Robert E. Lee.
Most aspects of the film are badly done, including the CGI mutant dogs, dodgy plotting and blatant disregard for logic. I tried to make a list of the good things and here it is: there’s some good scenery during some of the action scenes, the CGI hair on the Hulk looks pretty good, Bruce uses a Nokia 3310.
But after extended sequences of San Francisco smashiness, this over-stuffed and over-serious film feels rather pointless, its absurdity exacerbated by the Angry Green Giant at its centre. What’s most surprising is that it’s produced by Terminator 2‘s Gale Ann Hurd and MCU supremo Kevin Feige. So this is only one for the hardcore fans, and even then make sure you get smashed first.