Continuing my Marvel Cinematic Universe marathon, I’ve arrived at a film that most people seem to forget about. After Mark Ruffalo took over as Bruce Banner for 2012’s The Avengers, people started to forget it was Edward Norton who first brought the Hulk into the MCU back in 2008. This film honestly is one of the most underrated entries in the franchise. I really like this film a lot and it’s one of my favorite MCU films, which a lot of people are surprised to hear. The Hulk is an extremely hard character to make a cohesive film out of and this film does that extremely well.
I love The Incredible Hulk. I grew up watching the original Lou Ferrigno TV series, who makes an absolutely hilarious cameo in the film. That show was my childhood. I remember having a really bad stomach bug when I was younger and there was a marathon on the Syfy channel and it honestly got me through the darkest of times. This movie is heavily influenced by that series. Even the theme music makes appearances on the films score and it gave me goosebumps.
Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) has been on the run ever since a failed experiment involving the replication of a World War 2 era super soldier program that General Thunderbolt Ross (William Hurt) puts into effect and Banner is exposed to a high level of Gamma Radiation which turns him into a raging monster when his heartrate exceeds 200 known as the Hulk. When Ross gets a lead on Banner’s location, Banner is forced to reenter the world and try and eliminate the Hulk inside him once and for all. Along the way, Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth) is leading a team that General Ross put together in order to stop Banner and begins to loathe for the immense power Banner possesses.
Edward Norton, in my opinion, did a fantastic job as Bruce Banner. He was extremely charismatic and you get this sense of brokenness and rage. Something that I said in my Iron Man review was that the villain while serviceable, was a flaw of the film. Upon rewatching this film, I was surprised that Emil Blonsky was handled in a much better way as a villain. I remember liking Tim Roth in the film as of course he’s great in just about everything, yet he is such a badass in this film. His motivations are honestly pretty earned and make a lot of sense too which I really liked. Liv Tyler as Betsy Ross had great chemistry with Norton’s Banner and William Hurt as Thunderbolt had this awesome presence every time he was on screen, I’m glad they brought him back later on in the MCU despite kind of brushing this film under the rug which is really sad.
The finale in this film is one of my favorite Superhero finales ever. The fight between Hulk and Abomination is an absolute gladiator match and seeing these two behemoths absolutely demolish Harlem was such a fun and epic sequence. This film is like Iron Man in that it doesn’t have as much action as other superhero films but the scene at the college in the middle of the film is such a cool moment as it’s the first time we see the Hulk on screen in full and it’s amazing.
The Incredible Hulk is a fast paced and well done adaptation of one of the hardest characters to adapt. An extremely underrated MCU entry, I hope they revisit some of these storylines later on in the MCU if that’s still a possibility as they set certain things up that would be so cool to see play out. While Mark Ruffalo is the best incarnation of the Hulk, Edward Norton does a great job as the big green beast. I recommend this film if you have yet to watch it because it’s a whole lot of fun!
Iron Man 2 (2010)