Saturday, June 21, 2008

Review: "The Incredible Hulk" (2008)

Almost all of us share this moment from childhood; one of your parents has just read to you before bedtime, the story ends with a soft little clap of the bookcover and mom or dad is smiling because now they get an hour or two to themselves before they have to go to sleep. Except you're sitting there with a frustrated furrow on your little brow and you're just mad. "No, no, no, you got it all wrong," you say. "You should've had the wizard marry the princess. Tell it again!" And your mom or dad sighs, does some quick mental calculus and deduces that the path of least resistance is actually to cave in and just tell the frigging story over with the alternate ending. The wizard winds up marrying the princess after all, you fall asleep, everyone's happy.

That's the film industry. "The Hulk" came out in 2003, and millions of people sat in darkened theaters with frustrated furrows on their little brows. "No, no, no, you got it all wrong," America said to Hollywood. "You should have the Hulk be awesome, and you should have him fight a giant gray Hulk, and there shouldn't be any Nick Nolte. Tell it again!"
The new, new "Hulk" is indeed awesome. I could have done without all the exposition, and dialogue, and actors, but once it gets going it's one of the best American films to ever deal with the subject of a guy who goes around destroying shit. This new Hulk punches out banks and dropkicks airports and uses two halves of a cop car for boxing gloves. At one point I think he eats a child. My only complaint is the sequel teaser at the end of the movie. They should have ended the film honorably, King Kong style, by killing the green beast in the streets. I guarantee everyone in my theater would've wept.

But if there must be a sequel, here's my pitch, in the grand spirit of storytime. We all know that if you kick Bruce Banner in the groin you're going to get the Hulk. But what does the Hulk turn into when you get him mad? Answer: Mega Hulk. The poster for "Mega Hulk" is just a wall of throbbing meat with a tiny eye peeking out in the middle. The tagline reads HOW MUCH ANGRIER CAN HE GET? In Europe maybe the tagline could be something a little racier, like HOW MUCH MORE CAN HIS PANTS STRETCH? Although, obviously, it'd have to be in German or whatever.