Personally, I refuse to acknowledge that the 2003 Ang Lee film Hulk exists. It simply does not. If it did, it would be the perfect example of how NOT to do a movie about the Hulk. It was dry, slow, and uninteresting. Thank goodness that in 2008, the year of the comic book adaptations, Marvel released the reboot that the Hulk deserved, this film being The Incredible Hulk.
The Incredible Hulk wastes no time getting started. In the opening credits, it is revealed that scientist Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) was conducting an experiment to make humans immune to gamma radiation, but he was testing this on himself. Something in the experiment goes wrong and he is infected with a tremendous amount of gamma rays, transforming him into the Hulk. General Thaddeus Ross (William Hurt) begins a hunt to find Banner, claiming that his body is property of the United States Military. A team of Marines is assembled led by Royal Marine Emil Blonsky to find Banner, but Blonsky soon becomes envious of the power Banner has and is determined to harness that power himself, which soon turns him into the Abomination.
When The Incredible Hulk ended, I said to myself, “That is how a film about the Hulk should be made.” This film is a tremendous amount of fun and had me grinning ear to ear with the multiple intense action sequences and the subtle tongue-in-cheek inside jokes that fans of the comic book and television show will love.
The special effects in this movie are also something that needs to be raved about. The Hulk looks fantastic and flows great. The same can be said about the Abomination. The entire showdown between the Hulk and the Abomination is a total CGI-fest, but it looks great and was so much fun to watch. It made me think what it actually looked like on the set as compared to what we are seeing as the final product.
Edward Norton really put his all in making Bruce Banner believable and sympathetic. Personally, I think he did a fantastic job, and it’s even said that he wrote his own version of the screenplay, some of which was used in the film. Liv Tyler looks and acts great here too. Some of her lines border on the cheesy side of the spectrum, but I went along with it. William Hurt and Tim Roth made great villains who are really easy to hate. William Hurt especially.
This film does a great job at making Bruce Banner out to be a regular person who does not want this weight on is shoulders, and likewise, Edward Norton conveys this perfectly. Sure, The Incredible Hulk is about seeing the Hulk cause as much damage as possible, but it’s also about the psychological and physical stress that it puts on Bruce and the supporting cast, both good and evil. There is also a small part of the film that seems to explore the morality of science.
The Incredible Hulk is, to put it simply, incredible. I laughed, I was on the edge of my seat, and I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. The ending scene alone is fantastic. I can’t say it beats Iron Man, but that’s understandable. That would be very difficult. Still, I loved The Incredible Hulk and consider it a vast improvement to Ang Lee’s Hulk.
One final note, to clear up any confusion: This is not a sequel to Ang Lee’s film. It is to be considered a reboot and a tie-in to The Avengers, where as Hulk is not (thank goodness).