Hulk - saw it. Odd movie. Parts worked, a lot of it didn't really. What was great about it was the special effects, and a lot of the development of the Hulk according to comic-book canon. (Jim Henley has the canon angle covered, so go read that.) Regarding the special effects, not that much can be said beyond "wow!". You have to see them to believe them, and they are thrilling. Watch as the Hulk takes apart tanks and helicopter gunships. Hulk smash!! Bound with the Hulk into near-flight. Wow, that's fun.

What's not fun is all the establishing. Look, my idea of a superhero movie is Spider-man. Bit by a super-spider, bang - superpowers! How is it possible? Who CARES? If you aren't willing to buy the origin, don't see the movie. Or just ignore that and move on. But please - don't waste my valuable movie minutes trying to make plausible what isn't. In the case of Hulk, I feel like an hour was spent with David Banner, then with Bruce, tediously setting up the ridiculous and unbelievable explanation for Bruce's hulkness. Yawn. It would have been no worse, as an explanation, in 5 minutes, and it would save time.

What I do want a movie to do in that first hour is establish the characters. OK, Betty is a babe - fine I'll accept that I should pull for her. But Bruce? Why should I care about him? Is he smart? Nice? Is he courteous? Kind and forgiving? Thoughtful and friendly each day? Warm? Human? What? Don't tell me - show me. Hulk doesn't show me. Hulk doesn't even tell me. So you are left without any real reason to pull for Bruce; clearly he's the protagonist, so you identify a bit anyway. But you want a strong reason, not just the default "I've got to care about someone else why I am here? Might as well do him since he's on screen so much."

The Hulk, when he appears, you can identify with. Everyone would like the freedom and power to SMASH! Puny humans! But here there's a different problem. The Hulk has problems of his own, only imposed ones (mainly the army). Nor is he smart enough to be a full character on his own. He's fun to watch and bounce around with, yes. And that can take a movie a long way. But plotwise he can only serve as a problem for those we really care about - Bruce and Betty. Since Betty's bonifides are basically beauty, you can identify with her. But Bruce is banal. Being the Hulk should be a problem for Bruce, and that's what the movie should be about: his attempts to come to grips with it. First the discovery that the rampages he reads about (and maybe vaguely recalls) are real. Then the discovery of what is causing them (lost temper), and the attempt to control it. Finally the coming to terms with the dangerous alter-ego, and perhaps even use of it. Throughout this process, Bruce should be active, actively looking for information, actively hiding his identity, actively seeking means to control his temper. The antagonists - the army, Dad, even Betty to a degree - should be directly and indirectly limiting his plans, making things hard.

Instead we get Bruce as passive captive for most of the movie. Instead of an action/investigation type plot, we get a mind-numbingly boring psychological plot, where it is gradually, chinese-water-torturingly slowly revealed to us, that, oh no, Bruce had a terrible childhood experience! Well, that was worth two hours of movie. Not. Please: more tank-smashing.

Superheroes need problems; otherwise what's the point? Superman is boring. Spider-man had a myriad of problems: being a teenager; hiding his identity; acting responsibly; the Green Goblin. These all interrelate and make his movie work on more than one level at once. Bruce Banner, in Hulk, has essentially no problem that he had any control over. He is a passive recipient of plot, just having things happen to him until he Hulks out (at which point the movie gets interesting). Eventually he de-hulks and we're back to insipid passivity.

The classic superhero-problem is a supervillian. Well, Hulk has one, sort of. But it just doesn't work; you don't really buy the origin of the villian, and his superpowers are even less believable than the Hulk's. And their final fight seems like an afterthought, though, I suppose it relates to the psychological plot already waded through. Nonetheless it was confusing: who's doing what here, to whom? And so the movie just sort of ends; there's no real climax. You leave feeling vaguely unsatisfied. (The final scene was great, though.)

One more thing. In a movie, I am paying for immersion. I don't want to look at a screen and see a movie on it. I want be in a movie and not know I am looking at a screen. Hulk is full of arty-type screen divisions that are meant, I think, as a nod to the comic-book format of the original. These failed completely for me, each time jarring me out of my media-trance back into the movie theater, looking at a screen. Nice concept, but it just doesn't work.

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