The Incredible Hulk 2008 ★★

From the premise that turns Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) into a wandering fugitive to multiple in-joke references, director Louis Leterrier and screenwriter Zak Penn aim for nostalgia about the 1978-1982 Hulk TV series, apparently oblivious to its mediocrity. There’s more Hulk-smash action than Lee provided, including a showdown between Hulk and the beastly Abomination (Tim Roth) full of thunderous punches and crunching falls. But there’s also stuff between those action beats, much of which is dead air. Attempts to build up the tragic romance fall flat, and Roth goes from businesslike antagonist to power-mad loon faster than Jeff Bridges in Iron Man. Plenty of recent superhero movies have provided compelling storytelling between set pieces; this one sits there for long stretches until the editors check their watches and realize it’s time for a transformation.

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