The Incredible Hulk does not get off to the best start with a scattergun opening segment that seems to be trying to explain the creation of the hulk in about 90 seconds.
In a series of rushed scenes the audience is shown scientist Bruce Banner subjecting himself to a military experiment that goes ever so slightly wrong, creating a green monster which appears whenever he gets angry.
The film does pick up a bit as the story proper begins in Brazil, where Bruce is living in hiding from the US military, trying to avoid another destructive episode through calming meditation and exercise.
However, from then on, it can’t seem to decide whether it wants to be a treatise on one man’s struggle with his inner monster or an all-out action film.
Bruce Banner may spend most of the time brooding over his fate but the film still manages to end with the noisy destruction of part of New York. As a result, it never completely comes together.
The acting at least is generally quite good. Liv Tyler stands out as the lovely scientist Elizabeth Ross and Edward Norton makes a serviceable Bruce Banner, who the audience can easily get behind.
However it’s much harder to root for the CGI Hulk, especially when he seems almost completely invulnerable to harm. His enemies don’t look like they stand a chance, removing any sense of real danger from most of the fight scenes.
Tim Roth also doesn’t quite work as the central villain. Although he’s not bad in the role, he’s just not menacing enough and his charcter’s addition to the movie seems rather pointless.
Overall, there are a lot worse action movies out there but there are also much better.