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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    In the ads, as seen at the front end of the Jimmy Kimmel piece, Banner is talking with someone across the living room from him: “I’ve got a problem. There are aspects of my personality that I can’t control.” Did I fall asleep or was this scene not in the movie?

  2. jc in chicago: 70 minuntes of the film was edited mostly because Marvel felt it sowed the pace of the film. All 70 mins will be shown on the DVD directors cut(rumored Cap is in that 70 mins)! Also the bottle of soda that Stan was drink had Banner’s gamma posioned blood in it. That’s way Stan dropped the bottle.
    For SR community: IMHO, PLEASE see it at least twice or get the word out if you liked “Incredible Hulk” because it needs a nice boost this week for a sequel! NO BOOT-LEGS…yet.:P

  3. I love the extra scene after credits thing- but come on, tell people- everyone get upset when they learn day after they see the film, oh yea there is a cool scene after the credits. People was pissed of after xmen 3, and again after Iron Man – and now expecting a extra scene after hulk credits gets pisses that there was noone.. So yes- instead of putting the tony stark scene bedfore credits, why not a – obs – extra scene after credits sign in the cinema on a poster? Cause all in all, noone stay for credits except die hard fans. So by putting a extra scene after credits and informing people about it beforehand, woho- people will sit and watch the credits ….

    Come on Hollywood, be smart…..

  4. adrian,

    i know what it was that stan the man drank, i just figured that it would give him some kind of super ability (humorous, temporary). stan will always be “excelsior man”! to me.

  5. Wasn’t the Hulk GREEN in the comics?

  6. I mean, Kingpin and Nick Fury being different colors is one thing, but Hulk really should be of emerald hue.

  7. I really enjoyed this movie … unlike most people, I liked the 2003 Hulk, but this one is better as i didnt have to wait for almost an hour to see the green goliath.

    there was one thing i had a question about though maybe the bad guy/s in (If there is going to be one) the next hulk movie could be the Thunderbolt Hulkbusters …

    If i can remember right didnt Stark say ‘I have an answer to your little problem?” … And wasnt Ross in charge of a hulkbuster team or something like that? … Maybe there not setting him up for the Avengers. unless there just setting up Banner for the Avengers minus the Hulk

    Or another theroy ive thought of (Not sure if anyone has already) is maybe the Avengers are formed to battle the hulk? and Bruce ends up joining the Avengers after Bruce learns to control the Hulk.

    I will say one thing about this movie that i didnt like was how some of the scenes didnt link correctly for me, for example …

    When Betty and Banner left Betty’s house and ended up at the university and all of a sudden, the army guys turned up almost like out of the blue.

    and the end fight … The hulk is the man!!! BUT … im not sure how he is in the comics but in most of the final fight he was getting owned… to me it seemed like the hulk would of been beaten if it werent for those chains that Abom threw into the air … I remember seeing a picture where the hulk punched his fist through Abom’s mouth… i was waiting for something like that to happen haha, where the Hulk would just go crazy and beat the snot out of him but it didnt happen.

    All in all, i really Enjoyed this movie … Even more than Ironman. I didnt like Ironman as much as everyone else did but still thought it was kool.

  8. @ L.A.,
    “When Betty and Banner left Betty’s house and ended up at the university and all of a sudden, the army guys turned up almost like out of the blue.”

    If you recall, shortly after that the general is searching the house and he talks to that shrink guy that Betty was dating and thanks him for the heads up.
    Thats how they knew where they’d possibly be.

  9. oh I missed that part the first time i watched it, i was still buzzing how Hulk smashed those sonic cannons…

    I watched the movie again yesterday and picked up on a whole lot more than i did the first time i saw it.

    Originaly watching this movie i gave it about 3 out of 5 but after watching it again ive changed it to a 4 out of 5

  10. i saw it again yesterday also xD
    picked up on some stuff too.
    definitely gonna be an avengers movie

  11. this hulk movie was dissapointing. the hulk is suppose to be a ragging green monster only betty can calm down.WHAT HAPPENED? he did not grow as he got more angry. but then angin he did not get angry he got punked. the hulk looked sad and somber so much i thought he was going to break into song. when he fought the abomination he had this look on his face like “please don’t please” god what a wimp.this was abetter put togather movie buth the othe hulk was a butter hulk.

  12. Big D…dude… spell check…

  13. greenknight

    so i misspelled some words,and did not proof read so what the hulk still got punked.marvel can do better.

  14. Hey Big D, you’re entitled to your opinion like everyone else. It’s just that most people disagree with you.

    I’ve certainly taken heat for some of my reviews, lol.


  15. thanks vic
    and your right it is just my opinion.but in talkin to people localy who have gone to the green machine,they agree.this is a bettrer movie but the first hulk was a better hulk. the first hulk didnt look like he was about to cry at any point inthe movie.the hulk is suppose to be pure rage no a big green puppy.

  16. D,really I only saw a touch of what you’re talking about right at the end. Through the entire movie up to that point I thought they portrayed the Hulk as incredibly brutal and ferocious.


  17. well vic if you watch the movie closely when he fought the abonation he got knocked around,stunned all that fighting he never got more angery,if im ina fight getting hit only makes me more angery and fight harder.hulk didnt get madder cause he didnt get bigger or the first one agin see if he got sad.

  18. i agree this hulk was much better than the last but why do thay alwas make the hulk weeker than he is in the comics spider man was the same as he is in the comics apart from no web cartriges but the hulk is bullit proof a tank shell should not even faze him but the bullits in bot films hurt him why is this and its very very hard to cut the hulk why is he cut so much in these films i give the film a 4 out of five beause of this

  19. the iron man film was very good missed the bit after the cridets will have to see it again for that but as i said before iron man was a very close to the comic version why is the hulk always so much weeker in the movies i still would to see him and iron man meet thou i just hope the hulk has his true strenth in the next movie thanks all

  20. good point on both accounts greg.but the hulk does get cut up inthe comic whe he meets wolverine.but he like wolvey heals just a fast as he cut just like in the first movie.and your rightthey just cant seem to get that strengh thing down

  21. I agree that this is a better movie, where Ang Lee had a better Hulk. Also the villain here was crap. Looked like an Orc. Only one encounter with Hulk, and it was in the city so there’s only so much you can do.

    I agree, Vic, this Hulk was more ferocious and downright scarey. Having said all this, I’d like to see this movie again. As perfect as Iron Man was, the story doesn’t appeal to me enough to watch it again (maybe since I saw so many trailers leading up to it.)

    Hey, I thought the Hulk was GREEN.

  22. Im sure if this is true but i found a article about another remake of the Hulk … I thought it was quite funny but at the same time hope it isnt true heres the link if anyone wants to have a look at it…

    Im really sure that this is report is full of it.

  23. Um, that’s a satirical news site, much like The Onion.


  24. You have to make the character a little vulnerable in a movie. If you see the character as unbeatable from the beginning were is the buildup and/or drama when he gets to the big fight scene at the end. It would be like who gives a crap about the last half of the movie, nothing can beat Hulk so why bother.

  25. i agree with ink, people get too wraped up in their fandom to realize that certain changes have to be made in a character, in order to make the translation to film. vulnerbility is important for a good story, i didn’t mind the hulk not being perfect, he’s not perfect (he’s a monster)but he came out on top, and mighty pissed to boot(he was going to break the abominations neck until betty told him not to). so go hulk and enjoy the flick, at least marvel is putting out quality work unlike movies such as catwoman.

  26. I just saw it last night, and I was really surprised how much I liked it. I love the nods to Cap, the RDJ’s appearance (and the banter between him and Gen Ross). Overall great movie.

    One thing that would’ve been cool (in talking about the expanded Marvel Universe) is when Bruce and Betty arrive in New York and we see the Manhattan skyline, they should have had a little Spidey swinging between the buildings in the dinstance, just a second would do. Not a cameo, just to further the notion that other Marvel heroes are out there

  27. The comment that says that the thunder storm in the movie may have been a link to Thor has got me all excited! Does anyone else think that this has any real meaning or just fantasy? The Hulk is my favourite hero movie yet,Hulk had more to over come than the Batman reboot and took more risks by pulling in all these many fasinating aspects of his world.Iron Man was great too and i’m glad Marvel are leading the way with their heroes.Way ahead of DC as they always were in the comics!!Still looking forward to the next Batman!

  28. For the first time in about 200 reviews I’ve changed my rating. I was never quite comfortable with giving this movie only 3.5 stars and the more I’ve thought about it, especially in comparison to other films I’ve reviewed, I’ve bumped Hulk up to 4/5.


  29. « Spoilers upfront warning »

    Good call Vic,

    I saw this again today with a girlfriend that usually wouldn’t even care about this.
    She absolutly loved it!
    And the biggest applause I got with my crowd, both times was the Hulk Thunderclap to save Betsy.
    Yeah Hulk was violent and didn’t think about collateral damage because Banner admits that’s he’s not quite in control during the Hulk events.(Awesome).

    Speaking of collateral damage, Ross orders a 50 cal strike on more than one building. Haha.
    Those bullets don’t stop when they hit a building. “Homeland Intervention ya think.” lol

    I loved the way the film kept documenting the hulk outs. “31 days since last event.”
    And totally agree that the fight scenes had continuity and logic. (Awesome).

    Norton looked so much like Bill Bixby in some of the scenes I’m totally convnced that he must have watched alot of the tv show episodes.
    I really like that the ending scene showed Banner in control. And now prepped for Avengers.
    Stark was awesome, but was he talking about The Hulk or Abomination. We didn’t see them actually hauling Abom away. And he wasn’t dead. ??!

    Simple yet breathtaking film!!
    I liked everything about this movie.

    But that Sprit trailer looked very weak.