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The Incredible Hulk Is The Best MCU Movie

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We Defend the Indefensible

The Incredible Hulk movie 2008
Marvel Studios

The Incredible Hulk was released in 2008. It became one of the first movies that introduced us to the beautiful marvel universe. The perception of this movie is not good. We’re here to argue that not only is it good, but The Incredible Hulk is the best MCU movie.

Edward Norton played the green monster in this incarnation. He was accompanied by Liv Tyler, who undertook the role of Betty Ross, his romantic entanglement. Tim Roth was also involved, who played the role of Emil Blonsky and the Abomination.

Yet, the general perception of this movie was not good. The audience did not like the movie, and some consider this to be at the bottom of the barrel of MCU movies. But, we’re here to argue that not only is it good! But it is better than some of the modern instalments of the MCU universe, such as Infinity War and Endgame. Before you say anything, let us present our case for The Incredible Hulk as the best MCU movie.

What Was the Plot?

As The Incredible Hulk has been largely ignored since 2008. It makes sense to refresh your memory about the plot of this movie. Dr Bruce Banner, played by Norton, seeks the cure to his green-rage condition. All the while the authorities search for him after the events of the Gamma Bomb from 2003. He comes close to the cure, but the Abomination gets into his way and destroys his chances of ever getting a cure.

What Didn’t You Know About The Incredible Hulk Movie?

Liv Tyler accepted the role without even reading the script because she wanted to be a part of a superhero action movie.

The director, Louis Leterrier, wanted to cast Mark Ruffalo for the role of Hulk, but the studio went in another direction. As we know Ruffalo would later replace Norton as Hulk in Avengers Assemble and byeond.

Unlike other Hulk movies, the face of the green monster was not modelled after the lead actor. Instead, it was a homage to the Hulk artist Mike Deodato since Edward Norton was not a part of the project until after the CGI work had been completed. This demonstrates how the studio was still finding its feet.

Norton wanted to input into the project. As he had with his previous success American History X. But, the studio cut his input and only a few scenes were included in the final edit that Norton was happy with. Demonstrating some of the tension that ultimately led to recasting the role.

We’re going to assume that you have only watched this movie once or twice in your life during a Marvel marathon. If you pay close attention to the opening scenes, you will find plenty of hidden Easter Eggs there. Such as Tony Stark’s blueprints for a sonic cannon that is later used in the movie as a defence mechanism against the Hulk.

Did you know Captain America was teased in the movie too? Well, in some alternate endings, we see a block of frozen ice with Captain America taking his nap with his beloved shield. The majority of fans missed this because this scene was included in one of the many alternate endings.

Why the Incredible Hulk is an Excellent Movie?

You may believe that the Incredible Hulk from 2008 was a horrible movie that should be scraped from the MCU timeline. But, this movie may astonish you and turn out to be one of the best, if not the best, movies in the MCU universe. Here’s why.

The Hulk Wasn’t Too Talkative

If you’re familiar with the previous versions of Hulk. Specifically Ang Lee’s Hulk from 2002. You must appreciate the lack of nonsensical and oversentimental scenes from The Incredible Hulk.

While Ange Lee’s Hulk felt the need to fill out every silence with dramatic overtones and sentences, The Incredible Hulk only wanted to smash. Thus, this marvellous movie from 2008 gave as a less talkative and more raging Hulk. Isn’t that the true definition of Hulk? The green monster who likes to smash.

Mark Ruffalo’s Avengers Hulk is good. We’re not going to say that his HulkBut. But, there are times when he talks way too much and focuses on things other than smashing. We see him having fun with others, playing with Thor, and taking selfies with kids. Well, if that is the kind of Hulk you want, you should know that this is not how the creators intended it.

So, the Incredible Hulk from 2008 gave us the best Hulk so far. As a doctor, he was a genius yet a mad scientist, and as Hulk, he was all about the smashing. Remember the twee “I am always angry” from Mark Ruffalo? Well, that’s why Edward Norton’s Hulk is far superior to any other Hulk appearances and takes the lead.

The Brilliant Performances from Edward Norton and Tim Roth

This should be enough to change your mind about the movie. While you may have some doubts about the overall flow and editing. You cannot deny the incredible performances from Edward Norton as Dr Bruce Banner/Hulk and Tim Roth as Emil Blonsky/Abomination

Mark Ruffalo might be a more popular Hulk, but Edward Norton was an amazing Dr Bruce Banner and Hulk at the same time. Every time you see Ruffalo on screen, you don’t feel the Hulk shining through. It takes a few green screens and CGI to turn Mark Ruffalo into Hulk. However, Ed Norton played the role so well that you could see him as the calm doctor and raging monster at the same time.

Tim Roth played the sinister role of Abomination better than other villains of the Marvel Universe to date. Yes, we are comparing him to Hela, Thanos, and Loki. He was calm and determined at the same time. His only goal was to smash Hulk, and he did it several times during the movie. He not only excelled at his performance as an aggressive soldier but also gave us a knockout performance.

Therefore, the Incredible Hulk from 2008 gave us an equally amazing and capable antagonist and protagonist. Go on. Mention any other movie with the same level of both roles. If the protagonist did well in some movies, the antagonist lacked in some areas. This is why the Incredible Hulk is the best MCU movie so far for acting.

The Outstanding Grand Finale

You may love the final battle in the endgame but think about the glorious showdown between the Hulk and the Abomination. Now, think about the technology and CGI effects back then and reimagine the scene. It was way better than any other movie, and it gave us one of the first CGI battles between two angry monsters.

When you think about the modern CGI effects, we would like you to think about the grand finale of the Black Panther. The suits looked foggy, and the fight scene was average too. Moreover, the entire scene looked like it was an intro to a weird 70’s Tron-ish game. Yet, the Incredible Hulk gave us a raw and unadulterated battle between two giant creatures looking to crush eachother. That is why the Incredible Hulk is way better than the majority of modern MCU movies even with age-old CGI graphics.

The Very First Cameo

No, we are not talking about Stan Lee, who was also in this movie, but we are talking about Tony Stark. Robert Downey Jr., Tony Stark, appeared at the end of this movie and became the first Marvel character to cameo in another character’s movie. You can find him in the post-credits, where he talks about his plans about putting together a team with General Thaddeus Ross. This would later set the stage for the first Avenger movie.

Why Should You Think of The Incredible Hulk is the best MCU movie?

Every great journey begins with a single step. The Incredible Hulk was that single step that allowed movies to be more comfortable with using massive CGI shots in the final cuts. Moreover, it also set the stage for the MCU universe we see today as we found out about the Avengers in this movie.

Edward Norton gave us a brilliant performance as both Dr Bruce Banner and the Hulk. His Hulk was more about fighting than about talking and waiting for lullabies from Black Widow. The CGI fight was intense, outstanding and lasted longer than any other CGI fights back in the day.

The story was a fast-paced chase scene between the Hulk and the authorities. We did not have to sit through the characters getting all sentimental during the action scenes. We got raw Hulk action. This is why the Incredible Hulk from 2008 is the best Hulk movie of all time, and also the best MCU movie to hit the cinemas so far.


Is there anything we missed out that you think could’ve been on this list or are we way out of our depth with this argument? If so, leave us a comment below.


More from the MCU HERE.

Read IMDB information about The Incredible Hulk movie HERE.

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No Time To Die – Review

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Metro Goldwyn Mayer

No Time To Die is the 25th instalment in the official James Bond series. It’s the VERY long-awaited follow-up to 2015’s Spectre. The 6-year gap between the two films is only matched by the same gap between Timothy Dalton’s last outing in 1989’s Licence To Kill and Pierce Brosnan’s debut in 1995’s Goldeneye. Here’s our review of No Time To Die.

SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the film, but if not there are spoilers ahead.

Of course, there are mitigating factors in that enormous gap. Namely COVID. Which made No Time To Die the first major film to delay its release due to the pandemic. Although, this film has had a difficult gestation irrespective of the global situation in the last 18 months. As soon as Spectre was released the speculation over Daniel Craig’s future in the role began. With him initially suggesting he would rather slash his own wrists than play the iconic spy again. He did a mea culpa on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show in August 2017, where he confirmed he would appear as Bond for a fifth and final time. The original director and writer, Danny Boyle and John Hodge, left the project a year later over creative differences. Cory Joji Fukunaga took over as director. While Bond script veterans Robert Wade and Neil Purvis took charge of the screenplay – with a sprinkling of magic from Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

Delays

Originally slated for release in April 2020, at long last, we finally get to see Daniel Craig’s denouement as 007. His portrayal of Bond has been very much in keeping with the character of Ian Fleming’s original novels. His performances have certainly followed the dramatic lineage of Sean Connery and Timothy Dalton. Rather than the lighter portrayals by Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan. Yet his Bond has displayed a vulnerability only really demonstrated with any plausibility by George Lazenby in his solitary outing as 007 in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

The deference to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is presented in stark relief throughout this 2h43min epic. Making this the longest Bond film in the series. As this was the first film I’ve seen at the cinema since before the pandemic, I was already excited before I even sat down. As a massive James Bond fan as well, I was close to apoplexy! I felt a tangible shiver go down my spine as the iconic gun barrel sequence appeared before we see James cruising around Italy in the classic DB5 with Madeleine Swann at his side. This anticipation was clearly felt by other cinema-goers. They have made No Time To Die break the UK box office record for the biggest opening weekend. It took almost £26m, breaking the record previously held by Skyfall.

I’m not going to spoil the plot for those who’ve not seen it. I had made a conscious decision to avoid spoilers before I went.

A step up?

This film is another shot in the arm for those who see Craig as the definitive Bond. This was aided by a refocusing of the Bond canon after the main tropes of the series were stretched to breaking point by the invisible cars and melting ice palaces of Die Another Day. And then stretched still further by Madonna’s cameo as a fencing instructor. Daniel Craig was given leeway to truly regenerate James Bond for the 21st Century. The stripped-back nature of Casino Royale, without most of the supporting characters that have been a staple of the series like Q and Moneypenny. Gave him licence (pardon the pun) to explore the deepest and darkest recesses of the Bond psyche. Some well-drawn female leads and villains really allowed Craig’s Bond to spar with them with depth and genuine emotion.

That exploration continues and grows in No Time To Die. We get to see an ageing, truly world-weary Bond, whose past he appears unable to escape. This leaves him in a state of almost constant angst. Paradoxically though, we also see him truly relaxed at times. In a way I can’t recall ever seeing James Bond in any of his previous cinematic outings.

Screen time

The issue with that exploration is that a number of characters then have their screen time cut. Moneypenny is reduced to little more than a cameo. And Remi Malek’s Safin is almost secondary as he features in the opening moments as his story is told, but then disappears for what seemed like an eternity. He of course reappears but he almost seems a mild irritation within the plot and merely a conduit to allow us to see the climax of Daniel Craig’s Bond era. It’s a disappointing underuse of a terrific actor. One with a captivating screen presence, who could have been one of the most menacing Bond villains of all time. That said, the influence of his dastardly but highly sophisticated plan is felt by all of the main protagonists. Christoph Waltz’s Blofeld continues to wreak his havoc with malevolent glee from his cell. He again revels in the chaos of his twisted sibling rivalry with Bond.

Lea Seydoux is wonderful again as Dr Madeleine Swann, picking up where she left off in Spectre and giving Bond as good as he gets in every way imaginable.

There are new characters who definitely cut through. Ana De Armas is utterly charming in her relatively brief time on-screen as Paloma, while Lashana Lynch takes no nonsense from Bond as Nomi. She also gives us a potential indicator as to the future direction of the franchise. Which has been the subject of much discussion in all quarters. That debate has even made its way into the political sphere with even Boris Johnson weighing in on what gender the next actor to play 007 should be.

Score

Hans Zimmer’s score is classic Hans Zimmer, adding power and bombast to the usual mix of stunning scenery and brilliantly choreographed stunts. He brilliantly weaves nods to previous entries in the Bond musical tapestry throughout his score. While his cues are always thunderous, they never overpower the action on screen, but do add a sonic rumble that I don’t think has been heard in a Bond score for quite some time. I found Fukunaga’s direction a bit mixed, with some of the cinematography unnecessarily showy. Some of the tracking shots almost gave me motion sickness while some (admittedly beautifully composed) shots of the scenery seemed to have made the edit purely so as whoever the drone operator was could demonstrate their skills.

Duration

The film is much too long, although at no point did I check my watch. It’s not that any of the plot points are superfluous, more that the pacing is a little slow in places. Some of the dialogue feels cliched and clunky, making what is a great story feel a tad generic. Which doesn’t do anyone justice. However, there were some excellent jokes, and I laughed out loud several times. You don’t have to be a 007 super fan to get some of the self-referential humour that they seem to enjoy sprinkling throughout the film.

Billie Eilish’s theme song is a worthy addition to the collection and certainly sits comfortably within the top half of the ‘Bond Theme Chart’. It’s definitely more memorable and evocative than Sam Smith’s ‘Writing On The Wall’ for Spectre. Her voice trembles at times as you can almost feel she recognises the significance of singing the theme for Daniel Craig’s final appearance in the franchise.

It was also very pleasing to see that this film has moved with the times and reflects the world of 2021 with its portrayal of women. Every single female character had a genuine purpose and important role within the plot. While of course, the female actors playing those roles are all irrefutably glamorous and attractive. There was genuine respect and no objectification of women.

Wrapping up

I came out of the screening with mixed emotions. Glad to be back in the cinema on one hand, sad that Daniel Craig’s stint ordering Martini’s was over on the other. I was pleased that such a good climax had been created to bring this era of Bond to a close, and all its story arcs had been brought to conclusions. I’m also excited and apprehensive in equal measure for the future of such an iconic film series. But I was disappointed with some of the characters not getting the necessary screen-time to truly develop their characters. Surprisingly, I was almost tearful at the final few moments, especially as the credits rolled.

Overall, this is a loving homage to the James Bond series, past and present. It’s a solid if unspectacular film in its own right, but the performances of Daniel Craig and Lea Seydoux, as well as the Bond history it wraps itself in, elevate it beyond that.

It’s not Craig’s best Bond film, as Skyfall is almost untouchable in my opinion, but it does bring closure to his tenure in the tuxedo in a manner that should please Bond fans across the board. It also tantalises us as to what the 6th age of Bond will look like. Let the intense speculation begin!


CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 7/10


Thank you for reading our review of James Bond No Time To Die. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.


Check out who we think could be the next James Bond and why HERE.

Read IMDB information about No Time To Die HERE.

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