starring Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, William Hurt
screenplay by Zak Penn and Edward Harrison
directed by Louis Leterrier
by Walter Chaw Pretty much the unmitigated disaster its trailers predicted it to be, Louis Leterrier's noisome The Incredible Hulk is a cacophony of bad CGI, bad acting, and gravid serio-melodramatics that leaves only the disturbing image of Liv Tyler's acres of bangs standing in the aftermath of its absurd wreckage. It's a vanity piece for Edward Norton (as if Norton is ever in anything else these days) that washes out as one of the more puzzling examples of such, in that the only thing anyone's there to see is Hulk smash. Maybe not so puzzling upon further reflection; I heard someone describe Jim Carrey at a certain point in his career as the six-hundred pound gorilla--find Norton at the apogee of his own ego bloat in The Incredible Hulk. Rumoured to have rewritten wide patches of Zak Penn's script (and credited here as, tee hee, Edward Harrison), Norton strikes me as a player/coach in the mold of Sylvester Stallone but unburdened with Stallone's sense of temporal place and popular self-awareness. Norton's acts of persona-construction are involved with painting himself as more romantic and smarter (The Illusionist), more romantic and moral (The Painted Veil), or more romantic and mysterious (Down in the Valley) than the average bear (tragic Monsieur Curie Bruce Banner the amalgam of all three, of course), with little room in his Nietzschian self-regard for human frailty or much complexity. He's an actor capable of astonishing nuance, making it doubly frustrating that he seems to resent that in the Fight Club food chain, he's Edward Norton and not Brad Pitt. The Incredible Hulk is the hundred-pound weakling flexing in the mirror and answering the ad on the back of the comic book.