THE/HULK (12A) 137mm .0...

Ang Lee's take on the Marvel Comics character is the finest adaptation of a superhero strip to date. Aesthetically, Lee's film leaves other recent adaptations from the Marvel stable far behind. Where Daredevil was shallow spectacle, The Hulk has depth of storytelling and character. Where the racial prejudice theme of the X-Men films was dealt with in a lightweight manner, The Hulk really gets to grips with its subtext of love and hate between father and son. coming off like a full-blown Greek tragedy with real pathos. Where Sam Raimi‘s Spider-Man employed some nifty CGl effects to realise the comic book hero, The Hulk uses the same to approximate the look of the source material, but takes the notion a step further by using the language of cinema: split screens and creative montage translate the visual language of the panelled comic strips. Against The Hulk everything else looks like a partially successful first draft.

The Hulk, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1962, predates the other Marvel characters thus far realised on screen. Accordingly and with great respect, Lee draws largely upon those original stories, but also the more sophisticated psychology of the contemporary Hulk comics. Thus, the basic idea of a mild mannered scientist, Bruce Banner (here played by Eric Bana), whose suppressed alter ego is released as the raging, super-destructive green behemoth following accidental exposure to gamma radiation, remains in place. Matters are complicated by the relationship between Banner

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and his mad scientist father, David (Nick Nolte, giving a towering performance), who unwittingly creates, and subsequently desires to destroy, his monstrous son.

This isn‘t to say that The Hulk doesn‘t show great fidelity to super dynamic nature of the comics. The deftly choreographed Hulk rampages are, in a word: gobsmacking. Whether the decidedly un-

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Royal Flush: Queen Latifah and Taye Diggs in Brown Sugar