The Incredible Hulk

I have mixed feelings about this jolly green giant. The gamma irradiated one, not the sweetcorn one.

I love the idea, yet I loathed the first couple of films which had a go, and I have never again had such a passionate argument with my father about whether I was right that Bruce Banner’s name is indeed David Bruce Banner, and that the original TV series just chose to use his first name primarily.

So, unfairly I feel, I expected The Incredible Hulk complete with shiny new Bruce in the shape of Ed Norton to be everything I ever dreamed of from Hulk in order to obtain my praise. Luckily it has done.

There’s isn’t much in the way of a spoiler that I could reveal about the Incredible Hulk to be honest, but for those who don’t really want to know anything about what’s going on, I’ll stick it after the break.

The whole gamma radiation/hulk creation history is told very cleverly through a series of images during the opening credits of the film, negating the need for an extended and boring explanation of how Bruce ended up green. Instead, it opens with Bruce hiding out in a country that looked like Brazil, but I can’t quite remember where it was. Its not important anyway. Basically General Ross wants to get Brucie back and dissect him or something in order to utilise his powers as some kind of weapon. He sends commando and hard nut Tim Roth over to go and get him, but surprise surprise, Bruce hulks out and makes it damn hard for them to catch him.

Ooh, I should mention that previously Bruce has been communicating as ‘Mr Green’ (geddit?) with a mysterious ‘Mr Blue’ who claims he can cure the Hulk. This means a convenient trip back to the States where Banner stalks old flame Dr. Elizabeth ‘Bettie’ Ross for a bit (played by yummy Liv Tyler) and then inlists her help in getting a cure sorted. There’s a moment where I thought we were going to have an excellent sex scene, but this is a 12A, so alas no boobies.

So, eventually (there are a lot of fight scenes) Bruce and Bettie find Mr Blue and get on with a cure. Which seems to work. Dandy. Except, in the meantime Tim Roth has been injected with some super serum to make him some sort of machine-like warrior which he then mixes with some of Bruce’s synthesised blood (honestly, its simpler than I’m making it sound) to become Abomination. So its a bit of a nuisance that Bruce is Hulk-less for the time being.

Abomination wreaks havoc in down town… wherever this was set… and Bruce jumps out of a helicopter, Hulks out, and after another fight scene saves the day. “Hulk smash!”- he actually says it, and its as corny but satisfying as you’d expect.

The End.

Except, in classic super hero movie fashion, the ending points directly to another film that will be made. Marvel Avengers! Yes, Robert Downy Jr. wanders in at the end as Tony Stark and says something to the effect of “I’m getting a team together”. Cue gasping, and shushing from the woman next to me. Woo!

To continue the theme, I think The Incredible Hulk gets 3.5 original shirt rips.

It loses half for some really cheesy bits, but it is undoubtedly better than the other two films, and better than I ever thought it would be. I think people are expecting to be really challenged, or a film in the same shadowy vein as the Dark Knight, in which case they will be disappointed, but I thought this was a genuinely touching and thoroughly enjoyable film about a flawed hero. So there.