Review: The Incredible Hulk

Published 6 years ago by , Updated September 4th, 2012 at 8:37 am,

Short version: HULK SMASH!

Let’s cut to the chase, shall we? If you’re expecting a movie as fun and great as Iron Man, you’re going to be disappointed. However if you’re a big fan of the Hulk in the comics and/or in the old TV series and hated Ang Lee’s version you are going to LOVE this movie.

As I sat and watched the opening credits, it occurred to me that the best way to describe The Incredible Hulk is to call it a semi-sequel to the last film. They actually did something very wise during the opening: Instead of taking up a significant portion of the film re-creating Bruce Banner’s origin as the Hulk, it was done via a series of quick scenes during the opening credits. As soon as the credits are done, we’re plunged right into Banner’s present-day life on the run.

We find Dr. Bruce Banner (Ed Norton) living in less than stellar accommodations in Brazil. He’s working a menial job in a soda factory and when he’s not there he’s learning martial arts and anger management from a Brazilian martial arts instructor. Banner is trying his best to lie low and amazingly, it’s been five months since his last transformation into the Hulk.

Early on fans get nods to the old TV series that starred Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno, and yes, eventually even the music from the TV show is heard in the movie. There is cool stuff that fans will appreciate throughout the film.

It turns out that Bruce has been staying in touch with someone (via satellite uplink) who is trying to figure out how to cure him of his affliction. Banner’s nemesis, General Ross (played very effectively by William Hurt), has not stopped looking for him and as expected gets a lead that allows him to send a special ops team after our hero. Leading the team is Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth), a long time military man who loves field ops and is determined to be in combat situations for as long as his body can handle it.

There’s a very exciting chase scene where the team corners Banner and we see his first transformation very early on in the film. Now, a few words about the Hulk character in this movie – This is NOT Ang Lee’s Hulk folks. Sure, that version got angry and threw tanks around, but overall he seemed kind of likable, and dare I say – huggable.

This Hulk is a very scary character.

Words that came to mind during his first appearance included: ferocious, brutal and savage.

Eventually Banner makes his way back to the U.S. and although he tries to avoid her, of course find his true love – Betty Ross (Liv Tyler), estranged daughter of the General. As you can imagine, she gets put in harms way and is not repulsed by the big, green angry version of good old Bruce. Meanwhile it doesn’t take Ross much effort to convince Blonsky to participate in an experiment that will take 10 years off his life and make him – are you ready? – a super soldier.

By the end of the film he turns into the monstrous Abomination and the Hulk must battle him to save the city.

The Incredible Hulk, while it has a couple of lighthearted moments, is not a “fun” superhero movie. It’s dark and gritty and has more in common with the tone of Batman Begins than it does with Iron Man. It’s a very good movie, but it’s not great in the sort of way that makes you want to go back and see it again unless you’re a big fan of the character.

Ed Norton was excellent as Bruce Banner, I thought Liv Tyler did a decent job as Betty. I really enjoyed seeing William Hurt play a tightly wound General, he’s aged since we’ve last seen him and he was a great fit for the role. Tim Roth also did a believable job during what few scenes he had with actual dialog.

If you are a big Hulk fan, this movie is going to be right up your alley. The Hulk is as ferocious and uncaring about collateral damage to people as he is in the comics, you’ve got multiple references to the old TV series, and a great cameo by Lou Ferrigno. In addition there are classic Hulk moments from the comics like him saying “HULK SMASH!,” the mega-hand-thunderclap, hitting the ground so hard as to knock his opponent down, etc. Also the final battle is quite long and is filmed in such a manner that you can actually tell what’s going on, as opposed to the hyper-cut/close-up fashion at the end of Transformers that I really hated.

And yes, Robert Downey Jr. appears during the film as Tony Stark (his appearance generated the biggest cheer of the movie at the screening I attended) and if you’re a Marvel Comics fan, what he says will put you through the roof on the coolness meter. Marvel is most definitely weaving a thread through their superhero movies that will end up at Avengers Mansion.

Despite all the above, it just didn’t scream “great” to me… more like “very good.”

All in all, I’d say it’s definitely worth checking out.

Our Rating:

4 out of 5
(Excellent)

Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:
TAGS: 4 star movies, iron man, the incredible hulk

85 Comments

Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.


If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it.

  1. Thank you Vic for re-thinking your view of this movie…I understand you were just like most fans who were waiting to be let down some how…but the more i think about this movie the more i love it and i hope that with enuff word of mouth it will keep a steady profit at the box office.You just have to read most of the fans reviews to know that most people are really pleased about the movie and the doors it has now opened to furhter movie story lines.
    Cheers Vic!

  2. What is with this movie? I also like it the more I think about it. I MUST see it again.

    With all its veneer and hype, I have little interest in seeing Iron Man again soon.I can’t even tell ya WHY it’s “growing on me,” (a little Ang Lee Hulk lingo there.) Didn’t particularly care for the actors, the orc clone bad guy, the settings, the ReBixbying, the LACK OF HUE, or the romance (I do like that we were not treated to a Sam Raimey Lover’s Angst for half the movie).

    But I must see it again. Not even Gamma Poodles can stop me.

  3. Haha JC in Chicago, yeah you have a point about the Raimey lovefest that seems to anger every Spider Man fan.

    I think what’s fun about Hulk is the entire movie is a face paced chase.

    And there’s 3 acts that all climax in a spectacular way.

    The helocopter crash at the colledge was simply breath taking on the big screen.

    One thing I also liked alot was the weapon sound effects were very authentic. The 50 cal. especally, you could really feel each round hitting you in 5.1 surround. (Awesome).

    Keep the Superhero movies fast paced and place the girlfriend in the backgorund, thanks Marvel.
    You guys are 2 and 0, :-)

  4. It’s time Marvel got more behind this film and show a little more belief in it by announcing a follow-up,the fans have given it a huge thumbs up…now it’s up to the main men to give the new movie a huge boost.
    This movie wasn’t about just advertising toys the way Spider-Man 3 was…so c’mon Marvel,Hulk’s back on his feet,don’t just leave him now!
    Or is he just going to show up in other hero movies like Thor from now on!?!Mabey that’s the plan,eh?!

  5. Sounds good to me BRAVEHEART!

    Also let me say that even though I don’t want the love story to take over the story, Liv Tyler really brought the emotion to this film. She was WAY more impressive than I thought she would be. And grounded Banner the same way Potts grounded Stark!

  6. I agree 790,
    The cast have done a great job on screen and all must come back for another instaulment soon.But it’s that eerie silence from Marvel right now…same as Spider-Man after 3…that makes me worry.
    I was just thinking that the villains in Marvel movies are some how left in the shadows but Abomination I think has been a first class effort!!Mabey Doc Oc in Spidey 2 was the best for me…but Dr Doom in the FF films has to be the worst!!!Shocking!

  7. Vic,

    I think the upgrade in rating was a good thing. I’m happy you thought it was better the second time around.

  8. As a lifelong Hulk fan, I thought this movie was perfect, all that I hoped it would be. It reflected the comic book ethos without fault and credit should go to all those involved, particularly after the 2003 version received such a negative response. It was also a good choice to throw in elements of the TV series. So glad Marvel were more involved. In response to comments about the Hulk looking like he was submissive when fighting the Abomination, if you do watch it again, look at the close up when Hulk is pinned to the wall and his eyes seem to change again; he pulls Abomination off him as his strength increases, shouts ‘Hulk Smash’ and goes on to beat him. Remember at the start of the fight, he still had the effects of the serum given to him to change him back to banner, which was infered by the fact he didn’t change when jumping out the helicopter until he alsmost hit the ground. The film had a great pace and the acting top drawer. Hulk CGI was spot on. 5 out of 5 for me

  9. ANDY,
    YOUR A MAN WHO KNOWS THE SCORE MATE!!!
    I HAVE BEEN A HULK NUTTER FOR YEARS AND I WAS BLOWN AWAY WITH THIS FILM!!!ALL THE “SERIOUS” MOVIE REVIEWERS THAT COULDN’T SEE WHAT WE DO…WELL…MORE THEIR LOSS I SUPPOSE…BUT WHO CARES…MARVEL GAVE US A PEACH OF A FILM AND I FOR ONE CAN’T WAIT FOR THE NEXT ONE!!!

  10. Braveheart,

    it’s good to hear likeminded like you feel the same. I can’t see what there is to criticize but we all know the ‘serious’ reveiewers are a miserable and ignorant bunch anyway. I for one make my own mind up anyway without being influenced by them. I like to think there was enough in this film for the not so serious fans and yes, roll on the next one. As you said previously there is enough in this to lead on to a follow up but Marvel are quiet on this to date. We live in hope!

  11. I wasn’t even a big fan of Hulk and this film blew me away.

    Its in my Top 3 films so far this year. (So far)

    1 Iron Man
    2 Hulk
    3 Speed Racer

    Its allmost better than Iron Man. Almost very close!

  12. CRITICS HAVE THEIR OWN AGENDA WHEN THEY REVIEW A MOVIE…I THINK THAT SOME OF THEM JUST JUMP ON BAND WAGONS AND TRENDS,SPOUTING REVIEWS THAT THEY HAVE READ BY OTHER CRITICS…
    EVERY MOVIE HAS WEAK AREAS,SUPERHERO MOVIES ARE TRENDY RIGHT NOW AND THE OL’CRITICS CAN’T BE SEEN TO BE GIVING THEM ALL 4 AND 5 STARS SO AFTER IRON MAN WAS SUCH A SUCCESS…YOU GOT THE FEELING THAT THEY HAD TO SINGLE THE HULK OUT AND PICK ON NEGATIVE AREAS OF THE PRODUCTION,EVEN SCREEN RANT WAS VERY DOWN BEAT ON THE BUILD UP TO HULKS RETURN…I DON’T KNOW WHY…BECAUSE I WAS SURE WE WERE IN FOR A TREAT,WHICH HAS OCCURED!
    GOOD ON ALL YOU GUYS WHO THINK FREELY AND KNOW WHEN A MARVEL CHARACTER HAS DONE THE BIZ IN THEIR MOVIE!!AND OL’GREEN PANTS WAS AWESOME!!!

  13. Braveheart,

    Your all caps mode is like waking up to Gilbert Godfreid shouting “Son of a b****!” in one ear, and Hillary Clinton telling me the perils of a free market health care system in the other.

  14. Yeah I have to agree with JC, the caps are harsh on the eyes.

  15. I’M SCOTTISH….I SHOUT A LOT.BUT WILL TRY TO CALM IT DOWN…is this ok?
    Anyway has the Hulk made enuff cash yet at the box office to give us a follow up?

  16. It’s only made $204MM worldwide, I don’t know that’s enough to justify a sequel considering it cost $150MM to make.

    Vic

  17. Well according to Marvel, well at least get the Avengers.
    I hope they don’t make Hulk the untamed one.
    Also hope they don’t loose Norton.

  18. http://news.uk.msn.com/Article.aspx?cp-documentid=8838094

    Link on MSN regarding the Hulk film and how much grossed to date

  19. Interesting piece there Andy about both Hulks making the same cash so far but new Hulk deemed a success by Marvel.
    New Hulk had almost no-hype/lots of negative build up to it’s launch but has had lots of great reviews…plus it’s a great movie…Marvel have never hinted yet at another follow-up but I have a feeling we’ll see one in the making soon or Hulk having a big part in future hero movies other wise it would make a total fool of the inclusion of Tony Stark and all the hints regarding the Avengers.
    We never thought we’d see a 2nd Hulk movie even just a couple of years ago,and we got a beauty of a movie.

  20. This movie was a heeeell of a lot better than Ang Lee's film! Are you kidding me? This movie turned out to be a friggin' hit, again, unlike Ang Lee's version and the visual effects were pretty cool and he looked so realistic especially when the water dripped down his skin during a rainy scene and Ed Norton did a fabulous job for the role and brought more depth to the character, along with other actors that did a great job, including William Hurt and Tim Roth. It was an awsome movie and it was right up there with Iron man. I hope there a sequal in the future one day as well. If so, I want them to make him more realistic, more powerful and to keep true to the fact he can regenerate quicker than Wolverine, the madder he gets, the stronger and more powerful he becomes and can generate more gamma radiation when he's angry which should be able to come in handy if he fight an enemy that could drain his powers like Radioactive man for example from the “Misunderstood monster” issue. And when it comes to the Hulk, I wouldn't want to underestimate him. Anyway, back to the film. I got a chance to see it in the theaters and I was happy after seeing it and I enjoyed it.
    Personally, I give it 5 STARS!!!!

  21. Ed Norton Is the perfect “Bruce Banner”..and this present adaptaion of the incredible HULK..is just like the ones in the earlier “TALES TO ASTONISH” books featureing the Sub-Mariner and The Incredible HULK..savage,brutal,a no non sense sort of guy!
    Robert Downey Jr…no one eles can be Antony Stark but Robert D!..no one Can be IRON MAN but ROBERT D!…now..if they would have..'vladimir Kulich' of “The 13th Warrior” Fame..i would beeeeeee soooooooooo happy!..Ps..they need to keep Tobey Mcquire As Spiderman/Peter Parker..and Kirsten Dunst As..Maryjane Watson!

  22. why Vladmir kulich?..i forgot to mention who i would like to see him portray…THE MIGHTY THOR!!!!!!!

  23. I must say..this 2nd Hulk Movie was definitly much better than the first..and rates 5 Stars…the HULK is more of the HULK i read as a teenager many moons ago…INCREDIBLELY SAVAGE>>>!love this movie…IRON MAN>>rates a five also..it was a very good adaption of the comic magazine character…this movie was really fun to watch…NOW TO THOR!

  24. Ed Norton Is the perfect “Bruce Banner”..and this present adaptaion of the incredible HULK..is just like the ones in the earlier “TALES TO ASTONISH” books featureing the Sub-Mariner and The Incredible HULK..savage,brutal,a no non sense sort of guy!
    Robert Downey Jr…no one eles can be Antony Stark but Robert D!..no one Can be IRON MAN but ROBERT D!…now..if they would have..'vladimir Kulich' of “The 13th Warrior” Fame..i would beeeeeee soooooooooo happy!..Ps..they need to keep Tobey Mcquire As Spiderman/Peter Parker..and Kirsten Dunst As..Maryjane Watson!

  25. why Vladmir kulich?..i forgot to mention who i would like to see him portray…THE MIGHTY THOR!!!!!!!

  26. I must say..this 2nd Hulk Movie was definitly much better than the first..and rates 5 Stars…the HULK is more of the HULK i read as a teenager many moons ago…INCREDIBLELY SAVAGE>>>!love this movie…IRON MAN>>rates a five also..it was a very good adaption of the comic magazine character…this movie was really fun to watch…NOW TO THOR!

<-- Taboola Alt -->