The Incredible Hulk is a movie directed by Louis Leterrier, starring Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, and William Hurt. It tells the story of a man named Bruce Banner, searching for a way to rid himself of gamma radiation that causes him to become the Hulk, a monster of rage. As he attempts to find said cure, the military, led by General Ross, attempt to capture him. Banner must overcome all of these obstacles if he ever wants to get his old life back.
I’m the kind of guy who would be down to watch any superhero movie, so when this came out in theaters in 2008, I was excited to go see it, despite the Hulk not being one of my favorite characters. I came out of the movie satisfied with the action on display and happy to see the Hulk in action. However, at the time, I didn’t know that this movie tied into Iron Man a few months prior, and honestly, I don’t know if that would have affected my viewing experience, but I think it’s good that I viewed the movie as a standalone one at first.
This is a very okay movie, in my opinion. I don’t feel as though any of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies are bad per se, but if I were asked about where The Incredible Hulk ranks in terms of the movies in that franchise, it would be very close to the bottom. I think the main reason for this is because the movie is very forgettable.
I enjoyed Edward Norton’s portrayal of Bruce Banner. I feel as though he did a very good job capturing the fear Banner has of triggering the Hulk, and he does flesh out the character a bit through his acting. However, there’s just nothing quite special about the hero he portrays. Whereas Robert Downey Jr. completely owned the character of Tony Stark and imbedded him with curves and edges that defined the character to the extreme, the Bruce Banner on display here doesn’t get the same treatment. I wouldn’t go as far to say that he’s bland, but at the end of the movie, there isn’t much I was left to hold onto.
It’s all encapsulated really in the final battle, where the Hulk faces off with Tim Roth’s Abomination. The battle is by no means boring, it’s just a little forgettable watching two CGI monsters go head to head with each other.
However, like I said, this is no means a bad movie. Let’s go over what I enjoyed about it.
I enjoyed the aspects of the movie that illustrated how Banner weaved his being the Hulk into his daily life, i.e. with meditation, stress monitors, etc. It brought a more realistic feel to it, and it makes you think about what other little mundane stiff Banner struggles with normally.
I really really enjoyed the sequence where Banner hulks out against Ross’ men at the university. Up to that point, there hadn’t been so much Hulk, apart from an opening confrontation with Ross’ men again, where there wasn’t so much Hulk to be seen. So the timing of this big Hulk rage was perfect. And it was so satisfying watching him pummel, barge, and smash everything in his way.
I also really liked that the movie didn’t start its story off with the origins of how Bruce Banner got the ability to turn to the Hulk and all that jazz. Everything we need to know about what had happened to that point is neatly laid out in the opening credits, which allows us to jump right into the middle of what’s happening. I feel like this allowed for the movie to flow in a very free manner, as opposed to what might have happened had they added in an origin story in the runtime.
Generally, I’m very happy that The Incredible Hulk is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I know I gave Edward Norton a bit of flak for his portrayal of Bruce Banner, but like I said, I did enjoy his performance, and it was a shame he didn’t get to tango with the likes of RDJ and Chris Evans in the Avengers (not that Mark Ruffalo is a bad Bruce Banner or anything… more on that in my review of the Avengers). Overall, this is an entertaining movie that does its job of establishing the character of the Hulk within this universe. I give this movie a score of 75.
Finally got this review out! Admittedly, I wasn’t looking forward to reviewing this movie, at least not while there are so many other Marvel movies I’m just dying to review (can’t wait for Guardians of the Galaxy vol. II to come out!). I’m adamant on reviewing the MCU movies in the order of their release, and I’m happy to say that I’m looking forward to reviewing the next installment of this franchise: Iron Man 2. Keep an eye out for that one, and as always, thanks for reading!