|Ang Lee Director||previously directed Chosen|
A film many consider a bit too artistic for such a one-dimensional character, Ang Lee's film tries to give an origin story and show what happens when the Hulk is released on humanity.
Lou Ferrigno, who played the Hulk in "The Incredible Hulk" (1978), has a cameo in this film as a security guard.4 More Trivia
|Stan Lee||Characters; Comic|
|Jack Kirby||comic book character|
|James Schamus||story / Screenplay|
|Jennifer Connelly||Betty Ross|
|Sam Elliott||General Thaddeus Ross|
|Josh Lucas||Glenn Talbot|
|Nick Nolte||David Banner|
|Paul Kersey||Young David Banner|
|Cara Buono||Edith Banner|
|Todd Tesen||Young Ross|
|Celia Weston||Mrs. Krensler|
|See Full Credits|
The movie open with David Banner (Nick Nolte) working as a scientist working for the US government on gamma radiation. David's passion project is to be able to give the power of regeneration and strength with the radiation. He is able to use the radiation to cause this ability in starfish, but when a testing on monkeys causes most of the test subjects to die, he is told he will never be allowed to test on humans. Angrily, he injects himself with gamma radiation.
A few months later, David Banner's beloved wife informs him she is pregnant. As the son, Bruce Banner, begins to grow old, David realizes he has passed on the radiation to his son. Bruce is now mutating to dangerous extremes. David takes his blood and brings it to his lab to work on a cure. His boss, General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross, sees human blood being tested on and shuts him down. In a rage, David sets a gamma bomb to go off in less than an hour. He then rushes home and tells his wife that since he can't cure Bruce he must kill him, as his son will live a miserable life and cause danger to others because of his mutation. The young Bruce watches as they argue.
The movie then flashes forward to present day. Bruce Banner is now known as Bruce Crensler and has grown up with adopted parents. He, like his father, has become a gamma radiation scientist, though he doesn't work for the military. His partner and ex-girlfriend is Betty Ross, the estranged daughter of General Ross.
Ross is approached by Glenn Talbot, another scientist who's research is being funded by the Army. Ross says she and Banner/Crensler don't want to work for the Army as they feel that the government only wants to use their work as weapons. Talbot then says he plans to put Betty and Bruce out of business and force them to give up their research.
Meanwhile, David Banner shows up as the lab as the new janitor (it is implied he murdered the old one). Bruce does not recognize him.
Glenn Talbot approaches General Ross in the hopes he will get Ross's help in pressuring Betty to work for the Army. Ross then realizes his daughter is working with David Banner's son. He begins to suspect Bruce has a more sinister reason for working there.
As a lab machine malfunctions, Bruce rushes to aid one of his coworkers. An explosion then occurs and he is exposed to massive amounts of radiation. He wakes up in the hospital a day later and turns out that he is stronger and healthier than before.
Bruce is then visited at his home by David. David tells Bruce he is his father. Bruce then, while working at the lab, has a nightmare that is in fact a flashback to the day David wanted to kill him. This triggers Bruce to mutate into a giant green rage monster known as the Incredible Hulk.
David approaches the Hulk and tries to hug him. Hulk remembers his whole early life and becomes distraught. He then destroys the entire lab and nearly kills two Army officers Ross had spying on him.
After seeing the destroyed lab, Betty ruses to Bruce's home. He finds Bruce asleep and half naked on his bed. Bruce wakes up, but only has a vague understanding of what happened. He no longer remembers his early life.
General Ross and several soldiers show up. Thunderbolt orders Betty to leave and tells her never to see Bruce again. He then interrogates Bruce and demands to know why Bruce was doing the same work as his father. Bruce insists he had no idea who his father was. Thunderbolt believes him, saying "You're more screwed up than I thought." He then says Bruce cannot reenter the lab as it is being investigated and that Bruce is banned from working with gamma radiation (it is unclear if Thunderbolt actually has the authority to make that happen).
Betty tracks down David because she noticed the unusual activity of him as the janitor. She begs him to help, but David says Bruce is beyond help. He then steels her scarf and gives it to three gamma radiated dogs. The dogs now have her scent and go off to hunt her. David wants to trigger Bruce to turn into the Hulk again.
Bruce is in his home when Glenn Talbot storms in. General Ross has several guards monitoring Bruce, but Talbot barges past them. It turns out that General Ross shut down his gamma radiation experiments as well and he believes it is Bruce's fault. Enraged he begins to pummel Bruce, who then turns into the Hulk. The Hulk puts Talbot in a coma and breaks several of his limbs. The soldiers outside fire weapons at him, which causes Hulk to panic and injure several of them.
Hulk runs to Betty's house where she is able to calm him down. He is about to turn back into Bruce (which it now appears happens when he calms down, just as Hulk comes out when he is angry), but then David's three dogs attack. After a lengthy battle Hulk kills them all, saving Betty. He then turns back into Bruce. The next morning while Bruce is sleeping, Betty calls General Ross and explains what happened. Soldiers then barge in, sedate Bruce, and lock him in a heavily fortified military base.
Betty tells Ross to try and help Bruce as her life is indebted to him. General Ross says he understands that and is very grateful, but believes Bruce is extremely dangerous. Betty convinces General Ross that it will be helpful to Bruce if she can talk to him.
The military base is located where David's old lab was. Betty and Bruce walk through the old town they used to grow up in. They enter Bruce's old home and Bruce's memories start to return. He then grows distraught and storms out.
Talbot convinces military heads that Hulk could be dissected to make monsters that could work for the Army. He then takes control of the installation from General Ross. He bans Bruce from seeing Betty. He enters Bruce's cell and begins to torture him, both for revenge and in order to trigger the Hulk. Hulk then comes out, but overpowers most of the weapons keeping him imprisoned. He is briefly overpowered when covered in a foam that hardens into a rock like substance. Against Ross's advice, Talbot attempts to draw a blood sample from Hulk's eye. Hulk becomes more angry and grows in size. Talbot then panics and fires an explosive shell at Hulk. The shell bounces of Hulk's hide and lands in the wall behind Talbot. It then explodes and Talbot is either seriously injured or killed.
Thunderbolt Ross wisely observes that too many lives will be lost if Hulk stays in them military base. He has soldiers show Hulk the way outside in order for the battle to be in a less open space. Hulk and the Army battle for a great length of time. Several soldiers are killed. The Hulk flees to the Grand Canyon and manages to run across it. He then gets all the way to San Francisco. Betty convinces Thunderbolt to let her try and talk to Hulk. After Hulk battles fighter jets on the Golden Gate Bridge, Betty reaches him. Hulk calms down and turns back into Bruce. The army then imprisons him on Alcatraz Island.
David Banner surrenders himself to authorities under the condition he be allowed to see Bruce one more time. What he doesn't tell them is he broke into Bruce's lab and experimented on himself with Bruce's DNA, giving him the power to absorb the properties of any substance around him (he murders several guards after discovering this).
David and Bruce then reunite on Alcatraz. Bruce has a flashback to what happened when David tried to kill him--Bruce's mother stepped in front of the knife. She was murdered and David was taken away by General Ross. Then the gamma bomb detonated. David was institutionalized for thirty years.
David then tells Bruce he is going to die from radiation poisoning if he doesn't absorb Hulk's energy. He feels as a father this is his right--that Hulk has been destined to be like him. David says he has no respect for Bruce and only wants the Hulk. General Ross then orders them to take him away. However David absorbs the energy from the power lines, turning into lightning. He takes Bruce (who turns into the Hulk) through the sky to a deserted island. They battle there. Finally, Hulk tells David to take ALL his rage. David attempts to, but explodes.
A year later, General Ross calls Betty, who he hasn't spoken to in months. He asks her if she tells him if she sees Bruce. She says she thinks he is dead, but if he did come she wouldn't tell. She says she doesn't want to see him though. They both reflect on how Bruce saved her life.
In a South American jungle, corrupt officials are stealing precious needed medicine that a "doctor" is administering to an impoverished child. The doctor tells them to stop. The officials laugh at him. The camera than reveals the doctor's face. It is Bruce Banner. He says (in a foreign language) "You're making me angry. You won't like me when I'm angry." Then his eyes begin to glow green.
Unlike the negative reception among audiences, the Hulk received mixed to generally favorable reviews from critics, who liked the comic-book style movement of the film scenes and the complex subject matter. On Rotten Tomatoes it got 62%, which is FRESH. On Metacritic, it got a 54 out of 100. This was a Yellow, the color for "mixed reviews." Of these 19 reviews were positive, 16 were neutral, and 5 were negative.
The film opened to a very high $62 million in the US, but after an extremely negative response from these audiences (who founded it cluttered and incoherent) it fell hard. It only made $132 million in the US, and effectively matched that internationally. $245 million wasn't a bad gross (especially with a $137 million budget), but considering the popularity of the character it was rather disappointing.
Distributor Universal debated making a sequel or a reboot or any other entry in the franchise. Five years later, a sort-of sequel/sort-of reboot The Incredible Hulk was released. It featured a new director, new writers, and an entirely new cast.
Defending Your Movie: Ang Lee's Hulk
Matthew Rorie makes a case for a headier superhero flick as he defends Ang Lee's Hulk.
|review||Smashing Good, but not Great (3 out of 5)||SnowyMountain|
|forum||I liked this Hulk film by Ang||Dilutedseid|
|news||Behold... the Practical Hulk||No_name_here|
|blog||The Incredible Hulk (2008)||karobit|
|news||What to Watch: Wednesday, May 25th...er....26th?||Rorie|
|review||Hulk does not smash, but feels. (3 out of 5)||Ramyun|