Thursday Night Movie Club
The Incredible Hulk
star rating graphicstar rating graphic½
Release Date: 13 June 2008

Director: Louis Leterrier
Edward Norton
Liv Tyler
Tim Roth
William Hurt
Tim Blake Nelson
Ty Burrell
Christina Cabot
Peter Mensah
Lou Ferrigno
Lou Ferrigno
Paul Soles
Débora Nascimento
Greg Bryk
Chris Owens
Al Vrkljan
Adrian Hein
Bruce Banner
Betty Ross
Emil Blonsky
General 'Thunderbolt' Ross
Samuel Sterns
Major Kathleen Sparr
General Joe Greller
The Incredible Hulk (voice)
Security Guard
The Incredible Hulk movie poster 1 The Incredible Hulk movie poster 2 The Incredible Hulk movie poster 3
The Incredible HulkThe big, green guy is back to wreak havoc in The Incredible Hulk. Edward Norton replaces Eric Bana as Bruce Banner aka The Incredible Hulk. Liv Tyler replaces Jennifer Connelly. William Hurt replaces Sam Elliott. This "supposed" group of better actors fall short of the first Hulk film.

The Incredible Hulk is an odd movie. In many aspects, this film is a sequel to The Hulk (2003). The producers decided to make this a separate film. There is no connection to the "other" film. Comparisons between both films is inevitable.

The Hulk ended with Bruce Banner (Eric Bana) helping treat locals in some Latin American country. The Incredible Hulk finds Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) working in a distillery in some un-named Latin American country. Banner tracks each day of his life as one more day without "incident".

Edward Norton as Bruce Banner in The Incredible HulkBanner just cannot stop himself when someone needs help. His chivalry leads to some of his contaminated blood ending up inside a bottle of beer. When the beer ends up being consumed by a harmless, old man (Stan Lee), the military traces the source of the beer straight back to Banner. Banner is on the run and his clock is reset to one day without incident.

The hunt for Banner heats up in earnest. General Ross (William Hurt) wants to capture the Hulk for further experimentation. In a different backstory from the first Hulk film, S.H.I.E.L.D. is searching for the Hulk. Banner was an unfortunate side-effect to their attempts to recreate the formula that originally created the Super Soldier Captain America. Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth) is on the experimental fast track for the Super Soldier experiment. Blonsky has a small taste of super powers and becomes obsessed with getting even more power. He needs Banner to fill his desires.

Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth) confronts the Hulk in The Incredible HulkBanner has been spending every spare moment researching a possible cure for his affliction. Rage sets him off. The Hulk goes on a mindless rampage smashing everything in his path.

This blind rage is the most troubling aspect about the Hulk films. Since this is only a movie, nobody dies. If this were reality, the death-count would be high. News agencies would forever be on the alert tracking every possible lead. Insurance agents would be on the hunt for Banner in an attempt to minimize their losses. Bruce Banner would be Public Enemy #1. These elements of the story are completely ignored in this sophmoric plot.

William Hurt and Liv Tyler in The Incredible HulkEdward Norton may be a much better actor than Eric Bana. However, Bana was much better showing the struggle Banner has trying to remain calm while being beaten senseless and then depicting the moment when the straw breaks the camel's back and havoc ensues. While out of character, Norton doesn't bring much to the role of the conflicted Banner, capturing the struggle between being a man or a mouse. In Banner's case, the mouse is a much better option.

As usual for the Marvel Studios franchises, the special effects are amazing. The Hulk and the creature nick-named The Abomination slug it out in the center of New York City. They smash each other with everything at their finger tips: cars, lightposts, construction equipment, chains, etc. Needless to say, several city blocks are obliterated.

The Abomination attacks in The Incredible HulkFlashbacks to the beloved television series starring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno can't be helped. The audience watches with baited breath for the immortal line, "Don't make me angry. You won't like me when I'm angry." Or as the Waco Kid said it best, "Don't shoot him. You'll only make him angry."

Plans are in the works for a grand epic uniting several super-heroes who collectively become known as The Avengers. The Incredible Hulk suffers from from being nothing more than a setup piece for that upcoming film. There is no purpose for this film on its own merits. The final scene hammers home this point. Bruce Banner has fled to an isolated cabin where he begins experimenting with controlling the raging Hulk rather than find a cure. The first chapter in a serial is always lame and The Incredible Hulk is no exception. Marketing strikes again rather than creatively creating something new. Too bad!