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Before I went on this journey of watching all of the MCU films before Endgame came out, I thought that Mark Ruffalo was the Hulk since the beginning, like Robert Downey Junior. I thought that I was watching the wrong film when I started this one, and then I found out that the Hulk was switched. I’ve only seen Mark Ruffalo in the Avengers so far, so I can’t really compare his performance to Edward Norton’s performance. But what I can say is this. The Hulk was supposed to be a far more important character than they made him out to be. The more Marvel Movies I see, the more I realize this.
For starters, Bruce was dating Betty, who was General Ross’ daughter. General Ross almost killed her as he was going after Banner. This was an important plot point, as Ross is basically against the Avengers in the current films. In this film, he really learns about what the heroes can do, and he learns that he can’t just judge a book by its cover. The Hulk looks like a monster, but he still knows enough to protect those he loved. When Bruce reappears in the Avengers in 2012, Betty should have shown up again! She was his soulmate, and this would have gotten the General involved in a far smoother way. He would have sort of been against the Avengers, but he still owes the Hulk for saving both his and his daughter’s life. But they completely dropped this storyline in the future Marvel films. Betty isn’t even mentioned, the Hulk gets into some sort of weird relationship with Black Widow, and the General doesn’t show up again for the rest of Phase 1. I don’t even think that he mentioned Bruce Banner in Civil War, but I will have to see the movies in between to see if he even interacts with Bruce at all.
This movie is definitely darker. From what I’ve seen of the new Hulk in movies like Infinity War, Bruce Banner seemed to be more like the bumbling, nerdy scientist who has this crazy alter ego. This Bruce Banner was a lot cockier in some ways. He did the experiment on himself because he knew it would work, and he was just shocked when it didn’t work. He was going to different teachers to learn how to keep his heart rate under control so that he wouldn’t turn into the Hulk. It wasn’t really about him being “angry,” but it was more about his heart rate hitting a certain number. He was determined to find out what happened to Betty after the experiment, but he has to get control over himself first. Then he gets back to the states after escaping the government trying to take him back into custody, and is still struggling to get the information he needs. He wants to cure himself, but there seems to be no cure. He then teams up with Betty, gaining even more control over his Hulk, and trying to get up to New York in order to find a scientist to cure him.
The action scenes in this movie could be amazing if they were made this year. Unfortunately, this movie suffers as all the action scenes feel like they took place in the middle of the night. Only the Hulk Vs. the military fight happens in broad daylight, and that’s not the main fight! I wanted to see Hulk fight Abomination in decent lighting! Honestly, this was a pretty gritty fight. The Abomination is an abomination with exposed bones and skin taught over the nonexposed ones. The Hulk was breaking off parts of the Abomination’s spine, the ribs, but because everything was in the dark, you just saw a bone chip here or there. I need the Abomination to show up again, please, I need a fight with the new computer technology of almost-2020. We’ll see.
Honestly, I really liked this film. Even though some said that it didn’t have the best plot, I think it did well as a gritty hero film. There were like no “jokes” in the film, it was full drama. The Hulk does not have a happy story, he is sort of like Frankenstein or Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in one. He can’t live with regular people, as he can’t control when he turns fully. But he is still a human most of the time, and he craves being around people. It’s an interesting mixture, and I hope that Marvel brings up this dynamic when they FINALLY give the Hulk another film. His story doesn’t deserve to be left off like this, no matter who plays the Hulk. It’s a huge time skip between here and the Avengers movie in 2012, I want to know what happened then!
One funny tidbit I have is that action/science fiction/fantasy films think that Brazil is just full of supernatural people who need a place to hide out where the people won’t question anything. In this film, the Hulk goes to Brazil. In Twilight, Bella and Edward spend their honeymoon on an island off the coast of Brazil and hire Brazilian people to clean the house for them. I wonder how many other supernatural films use Brazil as a perfect hideout location?
I would recommend this film to anyone looking for a new good science fiction/action film to watch, but who don’t mind cliffhangers that might never be tied up properly in the MCU.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.