Anger management

 

Oh , Kermit T. Frog. What a sage you are.

For you have foretold the dilemma facing one similarly hued hero and his battle for acceptance among the masses. Let’s take a look at his Magi-like prognostication on a more thorough level to unveil his astute observations concerning the current box office bind concerning one “Incredible Hulk”:

It’s not that easy bein’ green,
Having to spend each day the color of leaves.

For five years, the not-so-jolly, lime-colored character has been the target of many a nasty fan-boy rant, ever since director Ang Lee decided to saddle the comic book adaptation with Freudian subtext and layer his tale with psychoanalyses better left on the couch than in a mega-watt movie. The film was levelled by hoards of angry basement-dwellers who puffed up like the titular beast and smashed the best way they knew how – through anonymous postings on message boards.

In an attempt to rectify the situation, Hulk’s owners, Marvel Comics, have opted to right the wrongs and deliver fans Hulk 2.0 (aka “The Incredible Hulk”), “Now with 50 percent more mayhem!” Truth be told, this version resembles the progression of comic-book-based adaptations hitting screens these days. It features a nuanced, serious actor (Edward Norton) in the title role of scientist Bruce Banner. And allow the depth and breadth of the character to be revealed not by laborious backstory, but by the lead actor’s history (just as Robert Downey was pitch perfect to portray a womanizing, substance abusing millionaire, so is Norton at playing a deeply philosophical persona given to fits of confrontation and on-set anger).

When I think it could be nicer being red, or yellow or gold –
Or something much more colorful like that.

Hmmmm. Red? Gold? The exact same colors as one other Marvel comic superstar rocketing up the multiplex by the name of “Iron Man” (to date, grossing a hair under $300 million and on its way to becoming the biggest hit of the summer so far). The film opened to stellar receipts and glowing praise from fans and critics alike. Yes, it would be nice to be him, but baby steps are needed even when you are a column-sized slab of sinew and rage.

And people tend to pass you over
cause you’re not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water – or in the sky.

The early trailers for this “Hulk” reboot did not show much promise, demonstrating the typical CGI-enhanced transformation and a climactic battle on city streets that seemed to be swiped straight from “Jurassic Park II: The Lost World.” And while both may be true, there is much more than standard pixel-enhanced entertainment to be found in this version, due, in large part, to Norton as Dr. Banner, and Tim Roth as Hulk’s main military man nemesis. Credit is also forwarded to director Louis Laterrier (“The Transporter”). Calling his film’s revved-up action pieces “breakneck” would be a disservice to other body part being broken during the proceedings.

But green’s the color of spring.
And green can be cool and friendly like.

Perhaps a bit too friendly, Kermie. For all its hurdle-hops over its predecessor, this “Hulk” is diminished only when it stops to smell the roses, or, in this case Betty Ross (played with gaspy solemnity by one Liv Tyler). While there is no doubt she can halt even an enraged 9-foot-tall ogre with her sultry smile, the minute those perfectly puffy lips part to deliver a line, she is as believable a scientist as Denise Richard is a nuclear chemist in the James Bond opus “The World is Not Enough.” Liv and let die, I say.

I am green and it’ll do fine, it’s beautiful!
And I think it’s what I want to be.

Norton’s convincing performance aside, “The Incredible Hulk” is at its best when it does not take itself too seriously. Bits of comic tchotchkes are sprinkled throughout (including an inspired comic performance by Tim Blake Nelson in the third act. It is also generous in dealing out hints of a future Marvel filmic universe (don’t blink to catch who supplied the military equipment and who makes a brief cameo at the film’s end).

“The Incredible Hulk” is not in the same stratosphere as this summer’s “Iron Man” or 2005’s “Batman Begins,” but it does manage to pick off the scabs left behind by its cinematic sibling of similar name. And that alone should have it seeing the most important shade of green it could hope for, all plastered with the faces of dead presidents.

~ by usesoapfilm on June 16, 2008.

2 Responses to “Anger management”

  1. You know, I have to tell you, I really enjoy this blog and the insight from everyone who participates. I find it to be refreshing and very informative. I wish there were more blogs like it. Anyway, I felt it was about time I posted, Ive spent most of my time here just lurking and reading, but today for some reason I just felt compelled to say this.

  2. Hey thanks, Sue. Lurkers are always welcome. We have a little side project called ‘Natsukashi (natsukashi.wordpress.com), that we are getting ready to launch over at spout.com as well. Would love to hear your feedback on that.

    Now that you are outed, though, we expect more postings!

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