The Incredible Hulk
There are several Hulk movies, but this one from 2008 is considered part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, though funny enough, not offered on Disney+. This film features Edward Norton (most recently he was Miles Bron in Glass Onion) as Bruce Banner, Tim Roth (the antagonist in The Musketeer and he faces off against Liam Neeson in Rob Roy) as Emil Blonsky, Liv Tyler (Arwen in the Lord of the Rings trilogy) as Betty Ross. William Hurt plays General Ross (this character will show up throughout the MCU; though the actor played William Marshal [one of the advisors] in 2010’s Robin Hood), and Ty Burrell (I recognize him from the commercials for Modern Family) makes an appearance as Leonard.
The film opens with flashes of the infamous gamma radiation experiment that Banner ran on himself. People were hurt and he fled (and we catch a glimpse of “Stark Industries” and “Nick Fury SHIELD Command”). Banner is now trying to control his condition and hiding out in Brazil. He works at a bottling factory and his boss even remarks he is too smart for the work that he is doing and wants to put him on the payroll. Bruce declines, but then he scratches himself and blood drops to the belt below. He cleans it up, however, he missed a bit that went into one bottle. That Stan Lee then drinks and that incident alerts General Ross, who gathers a team to track Banner down and bring him back to the US Army. That team includes Emil Blonsky and they’re just told that Bruce “stole military secrets” and responsible for several deaths. A chase ensues once the team finds Bruce (though you can’t tell much part of the time because the scenes are so dark). Bruce has to monitor his heart rate and once it gets too fast, he “hulks out.”
Emil survives the first chase, but is intrigued. He convinces General Ross to give him more details, which Ross explains they were trying to recreate the super solider serum, but Banner didn’t know his research would be turned into a weapon. Ross considers Bruce’s body property of the US Army since he did the test on himself. Blonsky is willing to go after Bruce again, but would benefit from a younger body. So Ross gives him a small dose of the serum they developed.
In the meantime, Bruce manages to make his way to Culver University, where a Dr. Elizabeth Ross is teaching. He stays out of her way once he sees she has a new boyfriend, but she eventually catches sight of him and immediately begins to help him. But Bruce is found on campus and General Ross decides to send the Army to the campus to apprehend him (how does he get away with this?). Blonsky does well for a bit, until the Hulk throws him into a tree. The Hulk also protects Betty, which is why the boyfriend won’t help the General further (her father). Bruce calms down and plans to go on the run with Betty. He wants rid of his condition and he’s been in contact with a “Mr. Blue,” as to how to go about it. He needs to get to New York City.
Blonsky manages to recover, thanks to the dose he already has, but he wants more and the general gives it to him. They manage to track Bruce to New York, but he meets Dr. Stearns first. Stearns is excited by all the possibilities that Bruce’s research and blood offers, but he doesn’t realize the destruction that can come. They run an experiment and believe they have cured Bruce. And that’s when the military strikes again. Betty is furious with her father and sits with Bruce as they’re taken away. Blonsky stays behind and wants Bruce’s blood from Stearns, which turns him into an Abomination. Then he goes on a rampage of Harlem.
Bruce orders the helicopter turned around and hopes he’ll be able to hulk out again and take on Blonsky. It takes a minute, but it does work, though it’s a tough fight. The helicopter with the general and Betty crash, though they survive. The Abomination tells the Hulk that he doesn’t deserve this power and asks him for his last words. “Hulk…smash!” The Hulk subdues the Abomination, though Betty shouts for him to not kill the creature. Yet Bruce still has to run at the end of the film. This time, he’s in British Colombia.
Our final scene is General Ross getting drunk at a bar and Tony Stark walks in. He warns Ross that the super solider serum was put on ice for a reason, though he’s putting together a team. (I question part of this; I get what it’s setting up, but why did Tony think it was a good idea to approach Ross? Also, why did Blonksy want Ross dead during the attack on New York?)
Overall, not a film I terribly enjoy. Not one I really intend to watch again. Questions are raised and not really answered and some of the scenes with the body morphing are a bit disturbing. Now, Betty and Bruce are sweet together and you can see why they make a good couple. At the end of the day, I’m more excited to continue on with the rest of the universe.
Up Next: Iron Man 2