The Incredible Hulk is a rather strange one. It starts mid way through a story when a lot of what is important later in the plot has already happened (i.e. the fact that the Hulk was a result of the same experiment which spawned Captain America and caused Banner to hulk out whenever his pulse went over 200bmp), as though the film was meant to be a lot longer than it eventually was. A lot of it was used in the opening title sequence of the film so you did get an idea of what was going on from the first moments of the film. They were referenced later on so they didn’t completely forget about all the footage that was cut. I think that this was a shame as it would have been a much better film I feel if they had left all of that in the final cut.
What I liked about this film was that it was very similar in feel and in style to the 1970s and 1980s Hulk television series which I loved as a kid and there were a number of references to that version as well which was very nice indeed for people of a certain age, and a cameo from the Hulk himself Lou Ferigno as a security guard.
Like in that TV series the main plot of this episode was Bruce Banner constantly on the run and always trying to get rid of the curse that turned him to the Hulk whenever he got angry and the famous line “you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry” got said in this film quite a bit which for me was a great thing also, although in this film it could also be applied to “you wouldn’t like me when I’m horny” either as he had to pass up sex with Liv Tyler in this film, as a result of the experiment, which is a bit of a ball-ache, in every way imaginable.
His main aim apart from stopping Hulking out what to make sure that he couldn’t be used as a weapon by the government by the father of his former girlfriend Betty whom he had vowed never to see again for her and his own safety.
All of this seemed to stem from the simple fact that Bruce Banner accidentally cut his finger leading to a bit of his gamma radiation contaminated blood getting into one of the bottles of juice drink, which the bottling plant where he helped out was made and then sent to America.
This was then purchased and then drank by Stan Lee which gave him gamma radiation poisoning which was the found out by General Ross who then went after Banner which ultimately led to him accidentally bumping into Betty and rekindling their relationship much to Ross’s disgust.
So if Bruce hadn’t of tried to fix that machine the rest of the film wouldn’t have happened and he wouldn’t have put Betty at risk and there wouldn’t have been a different Hulk created as in the movie and lots of shit wouldn’t have been blown up so really the entire film hinged upon that simple act at the start of the film, which, in a way, is a bit silly but does get the plot going as without it there wouldn’t have been a film at all.
This film has a number of action sequences particularly at the end of the film but the best thing about this film was not the action sequences but all of the character based stuff, much as it was in the old TV series, which this film, as I mentioned earlier, is very much based upon.
Edward Norton and Liv Tyler both gave good performances in this movie with Norton being particularly good as Banner mostly because he is a little bit scrawny and that makes is more shocking that the Hulk and him are actually one in the same person. The cgi work on the Hulk itself was impressive and it really did have a look of Norton about it which it has to be said isn’t usual in Hulk history as you could never see any link between Bixby and Ferigno, but here you can believe that this Hulk comes from this Bruce Banner. Tyler didn’t really have a lot to do in the movie and acted as a damsel in distress but a very fetching damsel at that. The fact that she was a scientist was important as it gave the young girls watching someone to identify with and who was not just there to be rescued at opportune moments from mortal peril.
I would have to say that I liked The Incredible Hulk. It wasn’t perhaps as exciting as Iron Man and wasn’t quite as action packed but I thought it had more of a story and a heart than Iron Man did which, for me, makes it the slightly better film.