Unlike most people, I didn’t hate Ang Lee’s Hulk that came out in 2003. It wasn’t my favorite movie ever, but I enjoyed it enough to not feel like I’d wasted my time, although it’s not a movie I feel like watching over and over. When I heard that they were making a new version of the Hulk with Edward Norton that was going to abandon what was started in the 2003 feature, I was relatively pleased because there wasn’t really anywhere they could go with the Hulk in a sequel after Lee’s version.
This new version, entitled The Incredible Hulk, begins as Bruce Banner, played by Edward Norton, is hiding out in Brazil as he’s searching for a cure to his little green problem. We soon learn that he has good reason to be hiding because the man responsible for the experiments that got him infected with gamma radiation, General Ross (played by William Hurt), is ready to move in on him the instant he gets a hint of where Banner’s hiding.
The Incredible Hulk is well enough balanced with backstory, character development and action to keep my attention riveted. Gone was all of the heady, psychological drama that dragged down Ang Lee’s “find your inner Hulk” version. But If you’re a fan of Ang Lee’s version, you’ll be happy to know that, aside from a couple of contradictory references to the Hulk’s origin, there’s not much in this that goes against what was developed in Hulk.
Edward Norton is great as a tormented person searching for a cure who is sincerely concerned for the safety of those around him. Liv Tyler, while being a little too pretty to be belived as a college professor, gives a touching performance as Betty Ross, Bruce’s lost love. Their reunion was very moving.
This film is a definite improvement on the last and will surely please anyone from casual moviegoers to die hard fans of the comic book and 70s TV show.