why i thought this movie would suck, i have several reasons of course. first, of course, was the cgi hulk. second, it was so out of character for ang lee, a drama director, to take the helms of an action movie, and a summer action movie at that. but i should've known that ang lee wouldn't make a bad movie. sure, some of his past works i haven't really liked, for instance, the ice storm, but he always garners critical praise, so it was interesting to see what a director like him could do with an action movie. the answer: the hulk is a drama first, sprinkled with action. that's the case with crouching tiger, hidden dragon, there's a heavy element of drama, of emotional dialogue, punctuated with amazing action sequences.
the first 2/3 of the movie was really good. i was actually thinking, "boy, this is some serious acting, there could be some academy award nominations to be mined here," but then i saw the final third of the movie. although not a disaster, i left the movie with something left to be desired. the showdown between bruce banner and his father just seems forced. that whole scene, with the two of them spot illuminated on a platform, seems like some acting studio exercise rather than a scene in a movie. is it just me or has the basic story of the hulk been changed by the scriptwriters? in the comics, from what i can remember, bruce banner turns green through gamma ray exposure. in the movie, his greenness comes from genetic experiments his father did on himself which bruce inherited when his mother gave birth to him. i think this change is very interesting, it allows this more complicated "sins of the father carries onto the son" storyline, but i feel the ending doesn't quite resolve it, or not in a way i was satisfied with. another thing i really liked about the movie: the creative use of split screens, a la 24. in some ways, it almost feels like i'm reading a comic, with actions appearing in boxes that side in and out.
so the bottom line is it's a very good movie, definitely surprising me in its level of complexity, and visually beautiful. the cgi hulk is not bad, and during the movie, i actually wanted to see more of the cgi hulk, not less, because just like bruce banner, the hulk represents release, almost a force of nature that can't be contained by the constraints of man, whatever problems can easily be resolved quickly and effectively in classic hulk "smash" style. perhaps out of all the big summer blockbuster movies out there, definitely the smartest one, and has enough substance to really linger in your mind when the movie is over.