After a tragic lab accident, when Bruce Banner is given a near-fatal dose of gamma radiation and turns into a monstrous hulk, he runs from the government and heads to South America. Trying to live a quiet life in Brazil, Bruce is trying to find a cure for his gamma-radiated alter ego, while keeping his heart rate and anger under control. When an accident at work, allows the government to trace his location, Bruce must once again flee and seek help where he can find it.
After Ang Lee’s craptastic Hulk five years ago, I had little hope for the Hulk movie franchise. From a ridiculous-looking Stay-Puff-Marshmallow-Man-Hulk to even more ridiculously silly radioactive killer dogs, I was glad to hear that this new movie was going to completely ignore the Ang Lee version.
It wasn’t so surprising that Ed Norton did an amazing job as Bruce Banner. He was the sole reason that I had a glimmer of hope for the movie. Getting back to the more dramatic feel of the Hulk tv show, Norton and company was finally able to do the franchise justice. Norton delivered the depth and complexity to the Bruce Banner/Hulk persona that not many could do successfully. Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, William Hurt, Tim Blake Nelson, and the rest of the supporting cast were exceptional as well. Liv Tyler, as Betty Ross, had great chemistry with Norton. Tim Roth played Blonsky/Abomination and was an intense power-hungry villain. William Hurt played the role of General Ross, Betty’s father and the person in charge of hunting down The Hulk in order to exploit his abilities. Tim Blake Nelson, as Samuel Sterns, played a great “mad scientist” role. And there were some fun cameos by Lou Ferrigno, Stan Lee, and Mr. Iron Man himself: Robert Downey Jr.
The special effects and action scenes were much better in this film as well. The Hulk finally gets to battle a worthy adversary. And in ignoring the first Hulk movie, they were able to re-tell the origin story in just the beginning credits in the classic style of the tv show. There is even a point in the movie where we get to hear the classic theme song. Not corny, but dramatically fitting.
With having the origin story out of the way, we are able to jump into the story and concentrate on the depth of the Bruce Banner character and his search for a cure. With a great story, complex characters, and quality special effects, please try to forget if you saw the first Hulk, and watch this one with no preconceptions. Of course, not quite as good as last month’s Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk was a very fun, action-packed, dramatic movie. Everything it should be.