While I appreciated the opening credits catching up the non-fan in me, if I hadn't had nomadreaderboy sitting next to me, I would have missed many of the references in this film. I have to wonder for whom this film is intended? I'm aware enough of pop culture to know Stan Lee (and love Stan Lee) and be able to recognize Lou Ferrigno. I don't know enough about the Hulk, through comics, tv or movies, to know who the Abomination is. I didn't have many expectations, good or bad, going into the movie.
I was disappointed. I appreciated the slow start, as we pieced together Ed Norton's life in Brazil. It was Bourne-like, with a little Batman Begins thrown in. It was a strong foundation for what could have been a character study. Ed Norton was fantastic; Liv Tyler was better. She had very little dialogue, but her eyes alone deserve an award for their acting. I found their relationship ridiculously intriguing, and yet, there was so little shown. More unsatisfying for me was her relationship with the psychiatrist. She seemed happy. He seemed understanding to let her go. Could we not get one scene where the two share a conversation? I would take an extra twenty minutes to flesh out some of the storyline between Hulk episodes. The movie itself was less than two hours. I think a little more character exposition would have made those dull by the end Hulk scenes more complex.
I realize I am not the intended audience, and I know after what fanboys consider Ang Lee's debacle of the 2003 version, this picture is meant as a love letter to the fans. Considering the film clearly sets the stage for more movies, perhaps it would have been wise to add a little heart and soul into the Hulk to attract a few new fans. This film did make less than the ultimate love letter to fans, Sex and the City made in its opening weekend.
Bottom line: The performances of Norton and Tyler make it theater worthy viewing, but the film itself is barely Netflix worthy.
Rating: 2 stars (liked it)