Film Review: The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Release Date: June 8th, 2008 (Gibson Amphitheatre premiere)
Directed by: Louis Leterrier
Written by: Zak Penn
Based on: Hulk by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby
Music by: Craig Armstrong
Cast: Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, Tim Blake Nelson, Ty Burrell, William Hurt, Robert Downey Jr., Martin Starr, Lou Ferrigno

Marvel Studios, Valhalla Motion Pictures, Universal Pictures, 112 Minutes

Review:

“[Preparing to finish the Hulk off] Any last words?” – Abomination, “Hulk… SMASH!” – The Incredible Hulk

A few months after the Marvel Cinematic Universe kicked off with Iron Man, we got the second film in the now massive Avengers franchise. I feel like people actually forget about this movie now, as there has never been a sequel to it and the character of the Incredible Hulk was recast by the time 2012’s Avengers rolled around. Edward Norton, like Eric Bana, only got to play the Hulk once. Granted, Bana’s Hulk film is not a part of this continuity.

The Incredible Hulk is pretty decent as an introduction to this version of the Hulk character. It benefits from not being bogged down by an origin story, as that was covered in that earlier, unrelated Hulk film and the two movies are only separated by five years. However, the details or a rundown of the origin should have been mentioned, as opposed to just giving the audience a flashback scene cut into the opening credits.

A problem with this film and it being a part of the larger MCU canon, is that everything that happens in it doesn’t really matter to the bigger picture and really, this could be removed from continuity and no one would notice. In fact, I feel like it should be non-canonical.

One, the Hulk role was recast and given to Mark Ruffalo. Two, where the hell has General “Thunderbolt” Ross been since this movie? He had a meeting with Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark but for what reason? Liv Tyler’s Betty Ross has also never resurfaced in favor of Marvel switching Hulk’s love interest to Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow. Where are these two people who were so important to the Hulk’s story? Also, Tim Blake Nelson is exposed to magic Hulk juice and was turning into the Hulk villain, The Leader. Seriously, where the hell is The Leader? I want the f’n Leader! I love The Leader!

Granted, they’d probably ruin The Leader, as Marvel doesn’t do anywhere near as good of a job developing their villains as they do their heroes. Which is a big bone of contention for me in regards to the larger Avengers franchise.

Time also hasn’t been kind to this film and watching it now, when there’s like two dozen more MCU films, makes it feel even more out of place.

And while I’m speaking of time not being kind, the CGI is less than impressive and the film is pretty slow because it doesn’t have the flow that the later Marvel movies have. While I did like the slower pace in Iron Man, that film managed its time better and developed its plot and its characters very effectively. The Incredible Hulk doesn’t develop much of anything, it just relies on you knowing these characters based off of the unrelated Hulk film from 2003. But even then, the characters here still have a different personality. Norton’s Hulk is different than Bana’s and the same goes for Liv Tyler in the role Jennifer Connelly played and William Hurt taking over from Sam Elliot.

The Incredible Hulk is far from a bad movie and it’s decent as a standalone story but it just doesn’t fit in with the rest of the MCU and relies on knowledge and history that the film doesn’t actually give you. The actors did a good job with the material but it was still a weak effort, overall.

Rating: 6.5/10
Pairs well with: Iron Man and Iron Man 2, as its wedged between the two. Also, Avengers, as that’s the next time that the Hulk is seen.

Film Review: Fantastic Four (2015)

Release Date: August 4th, 2015 (New York City premiere)
Directed by: Josh Trank
Written by: Jeremy Slater, Simon Kinberg, Josh Trank
Based on: Fantastic Four by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby
Music by: Marco Beltrami, Philip Glass
Cast: Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell

Marvel Entertainment, Constantin Film, Marv Films, Robert Kulzer Productions, TSG Entertainment, Kinberg Genre, 20th Century Fox, 100 Minutes

Review:

*originally written in 2015.

“There is no Victor… there is only Doom!” – Victor Domashev

This film has been panned by fans for months, even though it just now came out. Critics have also been panning it now for about a week. So is this film the big shitfest that many people have anticipated?

Well, the photo I used in this review was the most exciting I could find of this film and it is pretty boring and uninspiring (*I replaced this with the poster). But I do like looking at Kate Mara – there she is, to the left. I’m not sure why but something about her is alluring. But I’m a guy and pretty is a weakness for us.

No matter what though, this film can’t be as bad as all of its predecessors, right? This is the third attempt at a live action Fantastic Four film. They should’ve gotten things right on this attempt, right?

The answer is “no.”

But let me start by saying that this film is not as horrible as many people want you to believe. It certainly isn’t worth the 4.4 on IMDb or the 3/10 on JoBlo. It isn’t as bad as other awful comic book films – the worst that come to mind being Catwoman and Elektra. This film was better than the previous Fantastic Four films. Granted, not by much but at least they didn’t fight a hungry fucking space cloud or Doctor Doom on a flying surfboard.

Sure, the final battle in this movie was also horrible, I can’t excuse it. The barren rocky world they were on and the fact that Doctor Doom acted like a false god while telekinetically altering the topography of this planet was reminiscent of the final battle from Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, which if you remember, was the absolute worst Star Trek film featuring the original cast. Except, that film was more imaginative and had more soul than this new Fantastic Four. This film had no soul. And if it had a soul, it’d be the soul of a manila folder. Because those are the boringest damn things I can think of.

I don’t hate this movie but more likely than not, I will never watch it again and I hope a sequel is never made. I didn’t like the direction, the dialogue must have been written by a middle school kid and the acting was mostly crap. The sets were boring, the effects were boring, the characters were boring, their costumes were boring and being that bored with everything got pretty boring. If anything, this film was a fantastic bore.

Doctor Doom looked like a humanoid creature made of garbage collected after a rave at a tin foil factory. He also had ridiculous powers that allowed him to telekinetically make people’s heads explode like the aliens from Mars Attacks when they were confronted with Slim Whitman music. Doom could also move the Earth. He was like that shitty villain from season four of Heroes but with godlike powers added in. I’m not even really sure what the hell Doom was – before or after the transformation.

I’m kind of all over the place with this review, as the film was all over the place. My brain is scrambled from this film. Also, my popcorn was shitty.

Anyway, I am already pretty damn bored talking about this boring turd. So I’m going to go get drunk now and hope that the bourbon erases this experience from my memory.

Film Review: Colossal (2016)

Release Date: September 9th, 2016 (TIFF)
Directed by: Nacho Vigalondo
Written by: Nacho Vigalondo
Music by: Bear McCreary
Cast: Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, Dan Stevens, Austin Stowell, Tim Blake Nelson

Voltage Pictures, Brightlight Pictures, Sayaka Producciones, Neon, 110 Minutes

Review:

I have been waiting for this film to come out for quite some time after hearing the buzz after the Toronto International Film Festival and seeing the first trailer. It’s no secret I am a big kaiju fan, as well as a fan of movies that crossover genres that aren’t usually put together.

Colossal is incredibly unique and that could go one of two ways. It could really work and be fantastic or it could crash and burn and be a mess of a movie. Thankfully, Colossal, in my opinion, is an instant classic.

Now it isn’t a perfect or a flawless movie but when has something featuring a kaiju been a flawless picture? Well maybe the original 1954 Gojira (the Japanese language version, not the Raymond Burr Godzilla: King of Monsters version).

Colossal is so much more than a kaiju flick however, as the bulk of its story is about Gloria (Anne Hathaway) coming to grips with her mess of a life and the awful men she seems to attract. And to be honest, almost every man in this film is awful in some way. One is overly judgmental, one is pure evil and one is a total pussy – all awful qualities. The cokehead, of all people, is the only seemingly decent man in the story.

When Gloria returns home, after a big breakup, she soon discovers that she has some sort of psychic connection to a massive kaiju that is destroying Seoul, South Korea. Her friend and confidant Oscar (Jason Sudeikis) finds out that he is then linked to a massive robot that also appears in Seoul. As their friendship falls apart, due to Oscar having serious mental health issues (he’s the pure evil one), Gloria is emotionally held hostage by Oscar, who threatens to destroy Seoul every morning – killing thousands at a time. It is hard to watch, as Oscar starts out as sweet and nice and evolves into being completely psychotic by the end. However, the finale of the film is absolute perfection.

Anne Hathaway gets a really bad rap. I’m not really sure why, but this film and her performance in it are top notch. Sudeikis is absolutely stellar and this is my first experience seeing him playing a really dramatic character. Dude has chops. The supporting cast is good too but the weight of the picture rests solely on the shoulders of Hathaway and Sudeikis. They carry this kaiju drama well.

The film has good effects, good cinematography and a nice score. The tone throughout the picture is great.

Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect going into this as I tried to avoid spoilers. I wanted to be surprised and taken on an interesting ride and I was.

Colossal, so far, is my favorite picture of 2017, even though it debuted on the festival circuit late last year.