Sorry, but Hulk sucks. Stop now if you don’t want to bump into any spoilers.
I was very, very, VERY disappointed with the film. Two things to consider with any narrative art: style and story. Here, story’s not so bad. Not particularly good, either. But man, the style just sucked. Horribly. The transitions were SO annoying. I actually know someone who thinks that it’s the strength of the film, and I just look at him and want to clock him on the head. If you’re going to try to get us to invest in a serious story, then TREAT YOUR STORY SERIOUSLY. Don’t fuck around with editing techniques that constantly pull your audience out of the story and remind them every ten seconds that you’re watching a movie. And not just any movie, but a COMIC BOOK MOVIE. Ang Lee, what the fuck happened to you? I know you know how to tell a story. But this, I don’t know what this is... even if we forget the horrible transitions, the structure really needed a good going-over. They fight, run, time for some introspection, oops, time to fight again, now run, and then another spot of down time, and then another fight... didn’t we go through this with Matrix Reloaded? What was with that scene in the end where father and son meet bathed in bright white light and Daddy’s raving like a lunatic? Nick Nolte’s character was so one-dimensional, you can’t sympathize when he confesses to killing his wife. And when Ang inserts that shot of him kissing baby Bruce at the end it’s just a case of too little, too late, who the fuck gives a damn? The accident scene where Bruce gets the gamma radiation was so Undramatic. I mean, he gets solarized, for God’s sakes. If you’ve ever played with your camera or photoshop, solarization isn’t exactly an impressive effect. Then the constant cuts to molecular-level agitation. Hulk hiding in a closet like some boogeyman. The lake climax was a disaster for me. Daddy talks to Bruce underwater? Then he expands to some balloon above the lake that’s projecting 2D memories on its sides in a 1.83:1 aspect ratio? Man, it’s just thisclose above Daredevil. Oh, and who can forget the explosion that froze Josh Lucas into an outlined 2-dimensional figure? For a second I thought I was watching Austin Powers or something.
Ahh... most of my anger really comes from being disappointed. I mean, $120 million budget, Ang Lee directing, story by James Schamus... what happened? Is Danny Elfman the go-to guy for superhero film scores now? And did they really have to use the comic book font for the title credits?
Surprisingly, the best superhero film of the summer (so far, though I doubt LXG will unseat this) is fucking Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. It’s fun, enjoyable, with all the gratuituous cheesecake shots, decent jabs at comedy, clever use of pop music, and more effective action scenes than Reloaded (and that’s saying something). Of course, don’t bother looking for a story, just be glad Crispin Glover’s back. And they’ve got superpowers.
ADDED: Sorry, I forgot all about X2, still the best superhero film of the summer. It's just my brain was numbed to submission by the general disappointment of Reloaded and Hulk that it immediately attached itself to Charlie's Angels as manna from heaven.