Today I'm letting my inner-nerd run wild. I clearly love music and sports, but I'm also a big fan of fantastic stories. Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and assorted comic books all are very interesting to me. In fact, my favorite TV shows of all time are Lost and Carnivale- both of which have extensive mythologies (not extensive enough with Carnivale because HBO canceled it far too early.)
Anyway, I saw both the Incredible Hulk and Iron Man last night at the movie theater. I was absolutely impressed with what Marvel Studios is brining to the table. Filmmakers are finally understanding how take comic source material and make entertaining movies. This Incredible Hulk will obviously forever be compared to Ang Lee's The Hulk. Without much thought, or foreseeable argument, I can tell you that the new Hulk smashes the old one to bits.
The new Hulk mixes the authenticity of the comic book characters and mixes them perfectly with the wandering David Banner (TV Show version) to make for a good time at the movies. From the green eyes as Ed Norton begins to transform, to one part where they actually play the TV Show theme song as he's trying to hitch a ride. William Hurt is perfect as General Ross and Tim Roth was a great villain. This was not Liv Tyler's best performance, however her on screen chemistry with Norton was excellent (that could be Norton towing the line, but who knows?)
The final battle against the Abomination was a complete success. I had a better frame of reference in my head as to what was going on than, say for example, a movie like Transformers. The Transformers final battle scene was a bit jumbled and took a few viewings to fully understand what exactly was going on.
Hulk even has Robert Downey, Jr. show up as Tony Stark at the very end. Speaking of Mr. Stark...
Iron Man was also fantastic. They've updated his origin story from the original comic book version to make it more modern (originally happened in Vietnam, now happens in the Middle East.) Each actor did a great job creating a very believable comic story. Downy, Jr. was a savage as usual. Terrance Howard, Jeff Bridges and Gweneth Paltrow all deserve a lot of credit for helping the audience care about each character more than one does in an average comic movie.
Also, make sure you stay through the credits, Samuel L. might just show up.
I absolutely love how Marvel has their own studio and they can begin to tie their entire universe together. I also think they understand why their franchises are so successful, so they are doing a better job making sure debacles like the first Hulk or Elektra don't happen again. Inevitably, there may be slip ups in the future, but Marvel is definitely on the right track. They have 100% proved that with these two excellent movies.