Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Incredible Hulk Is Too Good to Deserve My Immediate Digression

Superhero movies seem to be attracting a higher caliber of actors these days, and my life is all the better for it! First we had Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man, and then we had Edward Norton as The Incredible Hulk. And of course, we can’t forget the upcoming Dark Knight which stars Christian Bale as Batman and the late, great Heath Ledger as the Joker in what I’m hearing is an Oscar-worthy performance. Oscars for comic book villains? Cool.

Don’t get me wrong, Christopher Reeve as Superman stole my young collegiate heart at the time and made me want to be Lois Lane. When several people told me I looked like Lois Lane from the Superman movies, I was thrilled. At least until years later when poor Margot Kidder was found wandering, toothless and crazy and dirty, in the shrubbery of Southern California. That was kind of a buzz kill. But I still watch that series of films with a bittersweet thumping of the heart (the second movie was the best—we got a little Superman/Lois Lane action). The other actors who did turns as Batman—Micheal Keaton, George Clooney, Val Kilmer—are all definitely on my personal A list. And those Batman movies started raising the bar on the level of superhero actors, so that we now have the likes of Downey and Norton, two of the best at their craft. I love America.

Well, this was supposed to be a review of The Incredible Hulk, so I guess I’m just a little unfocused today. Kind of like every other day. Anyway, let’s get to it. Just as Iron Man is an exceptional movie for its genre, The Incredible Hulk is likewise a cut above. I have nothing against Eric Bana and I enjoyed the last Hulk film, but this one is just so much better. With Norton and William Hurt and Liv Tyler and Tim Roth, it has an impressive line-up of talent, but it’s also well-written with a plot that is much easier for the audience to connect to. I felt much closer personally to the characters in this Hulk than in the last one. (In fact, on some days at work, I actually feel like I’m becoming the Hulk!) The movie is well-paced and has a nice mix of explosive action and characters connecting. I really enjoyed it. Go see it.

I just hope Ed Norton’s rumored tiff with the fledgling Marvel studio over the final cut of the movie doesn’t keep him from reprising his role in a sequel. I guess that's one of the dangers of having a higher caliber of actors. What’s the male equivalent of “Diva”?

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