Review: The Incredible Hulk

Published 7 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

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  1. I don’t want to read your entire review for spoilers, bit I guessed it would get that rating and I know it won’t be nearly as successful as Iron man…especially with the Happening also out this weekend. Are you going to review that movie as well?

  2. I just got back from the midnight screening. I’d say 3/5 stars. Stark got HUGE cheers, but I was thrilled with the small moments.

    Yeah, this Hulk is mean. I need to see it again, but I’d say it’s a DVD purchase for me when I see it next. I’m gonna see Iron Man tomorrow.


    ps-ILM should’ve handled the FX, but Rhythm & Hues did a good job.

  3. Sounds great!
    Can’t wait to see this!

  4. but also it clearly shows that rhythm and hues are ok but the fx were not very good not as good as transformers but overall the movie is great but not as great as ironmman or batman begins

  5. i realy liked the movie i would give it 4/5. It was a good monster flick. and they totaly fixed the pants problem. they introdused a possible new villan and (SPOILER)

    the end where banner controls the hulk, man i thought it was very intresting. one thing tho…why where the scenes with banner and doc. samson interacting cut? well i guess ill have to get the dvd :)

  6. I still waiting for it to come on dvd.I have walked in with butterflies in my stomach in Marvel movies ever since The Hulk.But Iron Man was AWSEOME.


  8. Also saw it last night, Great movie and 5 times better than the Ang Lee Hulk. IMHO, 4 out of 5. Marvel has done a terrific job with this film. Loved the Easter egg hunt that starts from the credits til the very end of the film. The first appearance of Hulk in the shadows feels like a scene straight from “Alien”. It action pack 75% of the movie and worth paying $9 just to see the final fight scene which last 26 minutes! Saw Ironman 4 times (4.5 out of 5) will see this one at least two more.

    The little boys will LOVE this movie, but beware it can get very intense on the action scenes.

  9. Mr. Movies: If your a Marvel fan at all, then this will easily be worth every penny, I promise you!

  10. The PANTS!!! I forgot to mention they explain the pants!! :-)


  11. explanation of the pants eh, Now THAT is listening to the fans, haha.

    I’ll be seeing this tonight with my ebay purchased Iron man T-shirt, haha.

  12. i hope its as good as people make it out to be

  13. Ok, I’ll ask; is there a scene after the final credits?

  14. No scene after the credits. The people in the theatre were upset about that.


  15. The bonus scene was the Tony Stark and General Ross bar scene which was right before the credits. IMHO works better.

  16. Thanks. I’ll make sure we leave when the credits start to roll.

  17. Sounds good I am a BIG HULK fan so this will be a repeater for me!!!

  18. I felt that the movie was fantastic and pleasantly suprised in the overall quality of the plot. In regards to the cameo appearances, it was awesome to see the great Rickson Gracie “play” the role of the martial arts instructor who teaches Bruce how to control his anger. According to myth, Rickson has won over 100 street fights with no losses in his native Brazil in order to defend his family name and the martial arts they created.

  19. It might just be wishful thinking by fanboys : ), but i heard that it was Thor that caused the storm during the second encounter. It might be just me but i did feel like they put alot of focus into the storm. Anyways enough dreaming lol The movie rocked, worth watching twice just to catch all the little easter eggs, they mentioned Caps alot in the film, too bad they had to get rid of the scene

  20. I absolutely loved it! I really wasn’t expecting such an amazing film. all of the easter eggs in the film were just awesome, and the bar scene was an exzellent ending!

  21. Can’t wait to see this film. I hope the hulk doesn’t look as rubbery as he did in the first one, and I hope the FX in this one is much better. The last one looked to CGI too cartoonish for me to take seriously.

  22. This movie was as solid as anything, I was very impressed and found nothing wrong with it. The style and pace of the movie was perfect, like a well written and illustrated comic mini-series, the characters and fight scenes were good. I think other sites need to be a little more fair with this movie.

    A strong 4/5 from me. I don’t think re-watchability is that fair a grade simply because darker movies usually aren’t that re-watchable, eye-candy movies are (transformers, ironman, 300 etc.). I mean I have no interest in watching Good Will Hunting again but it was perfect, no? Or how about Million Dollar Baby?

  23. Yeah, Rob – as I mentioned elsewhere, sometimes I think I may be a bit too critical of films that I’ve been looking forward to over worrying that I may subconsciously be playing favorites.


  24. The little easter eggs were great. I think this is the first time we hear Ferigno’s real voice in a movie; the man is still huge. The Bill Bixby tribute nearly made me misty. It is obvious that this was extremely influenced by the TV show.

    The Hulk fight scenes, 5/5; the rest, 3/5; that makes it 4/5.


    What was the thing with Stan Lee? Why did he just drop it? I thought they were going to come back and have a short plot side path with him. This is the first time they gave him first person prominence in a movie, rather than an incidental scene.

    Carlos, I don’t think anyone caught onto what I think you’re onto. Mr. Blue? The way his noggin bulged I wondered if we were seeing the birth of The Leader. Is that what you meant?

  26. I thought the Hulk was GREEN!

  27. this movie was very good, not quite what i expected but it was overall greater that the ang lee version.

  28. I just read on that the Incredible Hulk has made approximately 55 million according to studio estimates. I hope it has good legs because this is not enough to ensure a profit when it’s total box office numbers are tallied at summers end…Great flick though!!

  29. yeah, i did mean mr blue could be the leader