Why I Love Ang Lee's Hulk movie!

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Posted by Bezza (5019 posts) - - Show Bio

The first Hulk movie is unique amongst comic book movies in that it was directed by an Academy Award winning director. Yep, Ang Lee, twice best director winner took the reigns for this film in 2003 and for me that makes it a very special movie, despite its flaws, because I am a big fan of his work and obviously a massive Hulk fan. In 2003, Ang Lee was a big name in movie circles, following his seminal Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Following on from the hugely successful original X Men and Spiderman movies, hopes were high for that is arguably Marvel's most popular and iconic character, the Hulk. Here I declare an interest. In the 1970s, as a child, my devoutly Christian parents for reasons only known to themselves banned me from watching the original Hulk TV series. I have no idea why Hulk was barred when Wonder Woman was ok, but as you can imagine as a child I rebelled against this ban and the Hulk quickly became a massive favourite of mine. This love for the character has remained to this day and although I don't really have an out and out favourite character (Batman, Spiderman, Hulk, Superman, I love them all), I would say the Hulk is probably my favourite more often than not! Anyway, the Hulk movie. Ang Lee movies are never conventional and he served up 2 hours 12 minutes of art house comic book film, with ground breaking effects, as this was the first time the main character would be played out in CGI! The cast also included Oscar winner Jennifer Connelly, aussie ex comedian Eric Bana as Bruce Banner and Sam Elliott as General Ross. The film was neither a commercial or a critical success, but personally I love it, as it is so different from the other Marvel films. Why do I like it? Well it plays out the greek tragedy element of the Hulk story so well, for a start. Secondly, Ang Lee's version of the Hulk actually got bigger, as he got angrier, which I thought was pretty cool, even if it was a departure from the comic. He was also really, really big at about 10 feet tall!! The battle scenes in the grand canyon were epic and showed Hulk at his best. He was really fast, running at incredible speed, leaping for miles in one bound and able to deflect bullets with his hands. He was also properly strong, throwing a tank hundreds of yards away. Something that couldn't be said about the 2008 movie Incredible Hulk who was frankly disappointing in the power stakes! Indeed although it took some time to get going, there was a huge long part of the film which was basically Hulk smashing, jumping and raging against Ross's tanks, choppers and jets. In these scenes Lee took great pains to show the intelligence and cunning of the Hulk. He was certainly no brute, showing skill earlier in the movie when battling the four gamma powered dogs and then again, in using more than sheer brute force to dodge rockets, outrun helicopter gun ships and even save an out of control fighter jet from hitting the Golden Gate Bridge. Some of the best action scenes from any Marvel film actually. The flash backs with Bruce Banner's mum and Dad made for a poignant tale and the climax with the absorbing man enemy showed that the Hulk can take anything thrown at him. For me, it was special, being able to see the Hulk on the big screen for the first time and this film paved the away for other CGI characters in movies. Watching it again yesterday, although some of the camera work looks a little dated, I think it holds up pretty well for a 12 year old film. So, although the Ruffalo Hulk is undoubtedly the best Hulk portrayal to date, I save a big soft spot in my heart for the original Hulk movie. Its perhaps no coincidence that one of my other favourite Marvel films is the original Thor movie, which again tried to be different and was directed by another notable legend who doesn't normally go for the comic book movies, Kenneth Brannagh!

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#1 Posted by TheIncredibleSuperHulk8642 (4666 posts) - - Show Bio

Honestly I adore this movie. Its one of my favorite CBM and extremely misinterpereted by most people who see it. People just come to watch Hulk smash things but don't understand the analysis of the character and his physce and the reason he was created and what he means. Which is what the film was tying to convey.

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#2 Posted by Spidey_Jackson (6359 posts) - - Show Bio

I enjoyed reading this.


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#3 Posted by Bezza (5019 posts) - - Show Bio


Thanks. Its very under-rated IMO. I've just edited my blog because a point I wanted to make was that Ang Lee went to great lengths to show the agility and intelligence (in battle) of the Hulk. Watch him outrun gun ships, deflect bullets and save a fighter jet from hitting the Golden Gate Bridge. Compare the Ang Lee Hulk to the weedy one in the 2008 film who took effort in smashing up a Humvee for goodness sakes!!! No comparison in my book! (even if the fight with the Abomination was cool...)

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#4 Posted by UnderdogSupporter (468 posts) - - Show Bio

I agree Hulk 2003 was underrated.

As far as storyline goes, it was a good one despite the portrayal of Hulk as a character.

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#5 Posted by mikex20 (3146 posts) - - Show Bio

I've tried, and wanted to like this movie, but I just can't. From bad CG (even at the times standard), terrible villain at the end of the film, and it just seemed to drag on forever at times.

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#6 Edited by BappyRonChantin (2772 posts) - - Show Bio

It was an underrated movie. Sure the director could have lessened the weirdness and make the scenes look less like comic book panels but it had some decent story going on. Jennifer Conelly is a better Betty Ross than Liv Taylor in my book, so is Sam Elliot as General Thunderbolt Ross than William Hurt. I wish Ang Lee would make another Hulk movie under Marvel's production.

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#7 Posted by GreenScar1990 (1785 posts) - - Show Bio

I personally found all the actors to be very solid in this film. I place Eric Bana right alongside Mark Ruffalo as the best cinematic version of Dr. Bruce Banner. If the story were to have been tweaked a bit and special effects more on par with those of the Avengers Hulk, it could have been a truly awesome film.

Instead of Brian Banner being the main antagonist, I would have brought in the Abomination. Something more akin to Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, while keeping the Brian Banner/Bruce Banner part of the story.

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#8 Edited by GreenScar1990 (1785 posts) - - Show Bio

Jennifer Conelly is a better Betty Ross than Liv Taylor in my book, so is Sam Elliot as General Thunderbolt Ross than William Hurt.

Definitely true. They were far superior. If I had a say in it, they would have all been in the 2008 film. Of course, we can always get these actors back if we ever get another standalone Hulk film.

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#9 Posted by Outside_85 (23518 posts) - - Show Bio

The ultimate problem of Ang Lee's Hulk was that it was released not very long after one of the first McGuire Spiderman movies and people wrongly assumed that the Hulk would be of the same vein.

But I fully agree that Lee's Hulk is underrated. I maintain this is the most Hulk-like the monster has ever looked, the movie is kinda trippy with all the weird cutting he used (looked like we switched panel in a book), I gives the best explanation to why the Hulk has his powers, and it gives us the classic encounter between Hulk and the US army's tanks.

Ang Lee's Hulk was brining to life the classic version of the character. The later versions moved on to the modern version.

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#10 Posted by Bezza (5019 posts) - - Show Bio

It was an underrated movie. Sure the director could have lessened the weirdness and make the scenes look less like comic book panels but it had some decent story going on. Jennifer Conelly is a better Betty Ross than Liv Taylor in my book, so is Sam Elliot as General Thunderbolt Ross than William Hurt. I wish Ang Lee would make another Hulk movie under Marvel's production.

I agree and thought there was at least an emotional connection between the Sam Eliot Ross and Jennifer Connelly Betty Ross, where as the Hurt/Tyler combination seemed to outright dislike each other. In the classic stories, Ross was always acting for the protection of Betty and that came across in the first film.

Also, the 2008 Hulk was sooo weak! The 2003 version threw a 60-70 ton tank a mile or two away, which was an impressive feat

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#11 Posted by canuckdad (136 posts) - - Show Bio

I personally hated this movie. I have been a hulk fan for over 30 years and felt it was not even close to how I see the Hulk, and they changed too many things. but again thats JUST me. I found this to be a really interesting post

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#12 Posted by haza96 (20 posts) - - Show Bio

I liked how powerful the hulk was in this movie but this hulk would be too powerful for the MCU

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#13 Posted by Fifthchild (734 posts) - - Show Bio

I think theres a lot to like in it - first and foremost for me is that they brought the comic book Hulk (more or less as he existed at the time) to the screen. Not something they thought would try to appeal to fans of the TV show. The fact that they went with the psychology of PAD/Mantlo's run was pretty huge.

I also think the film deserves massive respect for getting the way Hulk should move right. Nobody had ever really visualised this before - all we had was Lou Ferrigno flexing and static comic pages. Lee realised that the Hulk should/would be fast and explosive as all hell whereas most directors would have made him a lumbering brute. I think the desert action scenes are fantastic.

As for the movies problems - its super dour and light on plot which is a weakness of the psychological foocus. The film's main plot point hinges around the discovery that Banner Sr killed Bruce's mother which would have to be pretty obvious even if you hadnt read the comics.

Its not a perfect movie but its one of the more interesting comic book films and i think it ages pretty well in that respect - perhaps better than stuff like the Raimi Spiderman films which basically seem like kids films now.

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