The Incredible Hulk [2008]


The Marvel Cinematic Universe got off to a quick start by releasing two films on their first year of releases. It was only five years earlier, that the very bad Ang Lee version of Hulk came out. I went to see that, because Ang Lee. The disappointment still stung, when this came out, so I skipped this then. Later on, I’ve seen big parts of this film, but never in full, so it was clear that I needed to watch this completely for this MCU project.

Yet another origin story… Well, the true origin is only told in flashbacks, but what happened right after – how Dr. Banner (played by Edward Norton) tried to cure his affliction. The origin – he was part of a secret military project (a continuation of the project that spawned Captain America as told in his origin film), and decided to try a serum on himself without knowing, what it actually was, and turned himself into the Hulk. The Hulk comes out, when his pulse hits 200. For a 40-something doctor, his pulse seems to race towards that number pretty easily as seen very often with Dr. Banner glancing at his sports watch. Happily he can just breath calmly for three seconds and see his pulse drop by as much as 40 beats per minute. That’s some breathing technique! Oh well, obviously there’s no cure, but he gets to meet his love interest, Dr. Ross (played by Liv Tyler), and is chased by the general responsible for creating him, General Ross (played by William Hurt. Finally, his nemesis for the film, The Abomination, is revealed, when a soldier under General Ross’ command, Blonsky (played by Tim Roth), imbibes a bit too much of the same serum that created the Hulk in the first place. A few city blocks are leveled and Hulk comes out victorious.

Compared to the MCU’s opening film, Iron Man, this is just bad. There’s some big names here, but the results just don’t fly. The Hulk’s story is intended as tragic, but it just doesn’t fly. There’s only so much compassion the audience can feel towards a guy, who pauses every five minutes to take a quick breath. The Hulk is entertaining tossing around tanks and bashing the Abomination around, but that’s about it.

As a part of the MCU franchise, the film still feels a bit left out. There’s the usual nods towards the rest of the MCU, but this film contains the first major MCU role that had the actor change – Edward Norton probably just didn’t want to return to the MCU films and Mark Ruffalo plays Dr. Banner later on. The Hulk himself is also very different from his later appearances. Here he is a tragic character, but later on, he is having fun – he is dangerous still, but having fun. Here he is vulnerable – he is wounded by mere tanks and some crowd control ultra wave weapons, but later on he tosses gods around like rag dolls.

Ang Lee’s Hulk was a major disappointment, but I had my expectations way higher then. This is just, I don’t know, forgettable. The story does make the MCU a richer place, but that just barely justifies the existence of this film.

  • Director: Louis Leterrier
  • Watched on: 24th May 2017
  • Watched at: Home (DVD)
  • Fanboy grade: 1.5/5
  • 0.5/5