While Hulkamaniac Jim Machin gushed green goo all over the place, it seems that not everyone was quite as enamoured with the return of Marvel’s Jekyll and Hyde-esque hero.
Can you ever have too much of a good thing? In cinematic terms the answer is a definite yes, for although this version of the raging mad green blobby thing is far superior to the Eric Bana-starring last effort, its mix of Cloverfield, Godzilla, King Kong and countless other SFX-laden vehicles turns it into tedious stuff.
Things start out promisingly enough as the backstory (scientist Bruce Banner [Edward Norton] turns into a raving green monster after an experiment led by army General Ross [William Hurt] goes drastically wrong) is told under the opening titles. With that out of the way the film proper begins with Banner in hiding in a Brazilian slum as he tries to work out if there is a cure for his affliction. But an accident sets Ross on his trail again, and this time he has enlisted an English-trained Russian commando (Tim Roth) who will stop at nothing to track Banner down.
This is the basic backbone of the film – a relentless pursuit of Banner as he searches for an antidote. As the chase hots up he rekindles his love affair with girlfriend Betty (Liv Tyler), while Ross resorts to ever more desperate measures in order to catch what he believes is the ultimate human ‘weapon’. Unfortunately, what that means is a finale where once again (and here’s the Cloverfield reference), New York is under threat from abominable monsters, with cars thrown about like toys and helicopters being plucked from the air.
The problem is it all gets too much. It is too big, too over the top, and too reliant on SFX animation (which is nowhere near as good as King Kong). So, there’s plenty of boom and bang, but very few real thrills. However, you kind of cotton on to where this is all leading when a certain other superhero makes a surprise appearance at the 11th hour – you can see the sequel coming already, before they even run the end titles.