Before you've ever seen THE INCREDIBLE HULK, you know that it has all the makings of a good superhero movie. Edward Norton playing a super smart scientist. Russian Guild of Film Critics nominated actress Liv Tyler as the lead actress. The lead actor re-wrote the script. Ty Burrell is featured in a non-Phil Dunphy role. Oh wait, did I say good? That was not the right word to describe THE INCREDIBLE HULK.
For Marvel week, the Dudefest.com dudes drew straws, I drew the shortest one. THE INCREDIBLE HULK isn't the worst superhero film ever made, but it's certainly the worst one in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The least dudefest one too. It's not all bad though. Three good things have come from it.
1. There are no MCU movies like THE INCREDIBLE HULK
IRON MANG and THE INCREDIBLE HULK came out a month and a half apart. Since the next MCU film, IRON MANG 2, wasn't released until about two years later, the tone of the Marvel movies could have gone in one of two ways. IRON MANG is a lighthearted action film, almost a comedy, that didn't really take itself too seriously, and is brought to a whole 'nother level by Robert Downey, Jr.'s performance as Movie Robert Downey, Jr., while THE INCREDIBLE HULK is a movie about a scientist who turns into a green giant and smashes things but for some reason tries to be "dark" and "gritty" while still tossing in awkward attempts at humor. Based on a vote conducted by the Dudefest.com dudes that sample exclusively dudes who write for Dudefest.com found that 100% of all dudes are glad that the MCU movies went in the direction of IRON MANG, rather than THE INCREDIBLE HULK.
2. Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner
It's no secret that Edward Norton is difficult to work with. When talks for THE AVENGERS first started rolling out, Marvel Studios announced that they didn't want Edward Norton in it, specifically for that reason. They instead cast Mark Ruffalo, who was arguably the non-Downey highlight of THE AVENGERS. (Downey's always the highlight. Damn him.) Marvel Studios has said after the second AVENGERS film, but before the third one (the Avengers are the Wu-Tang Clan of the silver screen), there will most likely be a new HULK movie, with Ruffalo in the starring role. While it might not be good, at least Ruffalo will be in it, and will at least make it worth watching, like Johnny Depp in any Pirates movie released after 2003. And do you know who we have to thank for all this? Drama king (and queen) Edward Norton. Had a less diva-ish actor been cast in the same film, it would have been just as mediocre in both the quality and dudefest senses, and we would have had a bad taste in our mouths seeing that chump drop a deuce all over THE AVENGERS. So thanks Mr. Norton, for being a terrible employee.
3. A Hulk movie that isn't the Ang Lee abomination
Nepotism has never been something that really works in the movie industry. Watch AFTER EARTH or anything starring Sofia Coppola if you'd like examples. Or take my word for it and don't. The latter route involves significantly less pain. Stan Lee's son Ang got the job to direct the first HULK movie with his father's interference, and despite having real life cowboy and mustache hero Sam Elliot as "Thunderbolt" Ross, HULK managed to be god awful. Thankfully, THE INCREDIBLE HULK was released five years later, bringing the shit level of Hulk movies from "outhouse" to "regular toilet". And I know I'm crossing streams here, but with the release of a Mark Ruffalo Hulk movie, the level could go all the way up to "clean wipe". We're excited to find out.
No dudefest movie review is complete without actually reviewing the movie; hence the plot summary you're about to read. The movie starts out promisingly enough with a montage reminiscent of the one in SE7EN, except greener. Seriously though, the opening montage is pretty fucking sweet. Watch it and then go out on a high note. The rest of the plot is pretty simple. Banner's on the run from "Thunderbolt" Ross, Ross gets close, Hulk smash, Ross gets close again, Hulk smash, Ross gets close a third time, Hulk smash, Abomination smash, Hulk smash harder. Throw in a failed attempt at banging Betty Ross, and I've just saved you an hour and a half. Watch the opening montage, though. Make it your warm-up for IRON MAN 2, like how they always have old men playing chess before Pixar movies.