The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-fi
Directed by Louis Leterrier
Starring Edward Norton, Liv Tyler and Tim Roth
Plot: Bruce Banner, a scientist on the run from the U.S. Government, must find a cure for the monster he emerges whenever he loses his temper. However, Banner then must fight a soldier whom unleashes himself as a threat stronger than he.
Movie Trivia: Louis Leterrier wanted Mark Ruffalo for the role of Bruce Banner but Marvel insisted on Norton. Ironic, huh?
Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
This movie seems to be the least loved of all the Marvel Studio movies. I may not adore this film, but I do feel it adds to the build up to the Avengers. Again, if you look at all these movies as episodes in a very long television series, it fits in perfectly. Well, almost perfectly. The tone is drastically different in this film from the others in the line up, and I think that is due in a large part to the casting decision for Banner. I love Edward Norton, don’t get me wrong. He adds an element of darkness to The Hulk that I believe has been largely played down, when he is, in fact, the darkest of the Avengers. (Or at least of the Avengers we have on screen. I have not read the comics, and am unable to comment on them.) Banner is the most heartbreaking Avenger because his entire situation was forced upon him and it messed up his entire life after that. There is a darkness to that story that I believe Norton brought out very, very well.
That being said, it doesn’t fit the overall theme of the Avengers. Let me explain. Every single movie has a touch of darkness, but there is a comedic element throughout of a little sarcasm with some catchphrases that you can’t help but cheer for. This film had little to none of that. I feel if they had gone with the choice of the director as had Ruffalo from the start, it would not only add continuity by having the same actor, but also by having the same style of movie. Norton played his ability for dark performance very well, but in the grand scheme, it didn’t fit. The only thing that truly brings it into a cohesive part of the rest of the series is a small scene with Tony Stark at the end.
Overall, I agree that this is most likely my least favorite of the Marvel Studio films, but at the same time, it is not quite as horrible as some people make it out to be. Watch it like an episode, and you will be more forgiving of it, I think.