Depicting the events after the Gamma Bomb. ‘The Incredible Hulk’ tells the story of Dr Bruce Banner, who seeks a cure to his unique condition, which causes him to turn into a giant green monster under emotional stress. Whilst on the run from military which seeks his capture, Banner comes close to a cure. But all is lost when a new creature emerges: The Abomination. – From IMDB
This review does contain spoilers for not only this film but future MCU projects. I am attempting a rewatch of all the films and series before the release of Dr Strange 2 in May, and will be openly discussing the plot, reveals, post credit scenes etc. Please do not read on if you don’t want anything spoiled for yourself!
I kinda feel like this is the black sheep of the Marvel Family. This is the one that most people try to forget happened. After Mark Ruffalo’s introduction as Banner in 2012’s ‘The Avengers’ not a lot more was ever said or discussed about this original version of the character. Although General Ross, played by William Hurt returns in later films, this film is largely forgotten about, and not included in most versions of the canonised watch orders. Though with the return of Tim Roth’s Abomination in the upcoming ‘She Hulk’ series, that is about to change and I figured it was time to reacquaint myself with this film. But lets be quite honest here, I’m not exactly missing out on a gem here am I.
The entire plot of the film is the US military trying to track down Banner as he tries to find a cure for his Gamma exposure. And it’s a pretty thin plot to past the two hour runtime. Not enough exciting stuff happens to ever really get you hooked, brief moments of action or excitement are there, but are interspersed with far to much exposition and endless talking. There is no suspense waiting for Tim Roth to become the bad guy, because it’s obvious from the moment he is introduced that he is not OK, and is clearly alright doing a lot of shady shit, so obviously he is going to go off the rails when he comes into contact with an enemy he can’t beat.
I don’t hate Edward Norton’s version of Banner, but his performance and delivery of some lines are a bit dry. There is very little humour to his performance, even when the dialogue calls for it, this is something that Ruffalo was able to being to the table a lot more naturally. Though despite being only 2 years younger than Ruffalo, he seemed a lot more physically able to more action sequences, a lot more running and evading than his long term counterpart. The Banner we have now is a lot more comfortable in the lab than running around on the streets of Brazil.
The addition of a love story was completely unnecessary. Remove Betty from the equation and nothing from the plot changes at all. She is there is to add a little conflict for General Ross, and some character depth to Bruce, but I am glad that she has been effectively written out of his subsequent storylines. Even if we were briefly treated to a supposed romance with Natasha as a replacement that was arguably so, so much worse.
The CGI used for the appearance of both Hulk and Abomination is at best passable. I am glad Hulk was redesigned for future films, and that somehow going greener and more human looking didn’t make him look worse. I am excited to see what they can do with the Abomination if they give him a similar make-over for his reappearance in ‘She Hulk.’
It’s easily my least favourite of the MCU films, and the one I skip most often.
FINAL RATING: 3 Stars