Not a sequel, and not quite a remake, The Incredible Hulk serves as a reboot of the franchise after 2003's Hulk film by director Ang Lee was seen as a disappointment. Marvel Studios took back the property from Universal Studios (who distributed this film but didn't finance it), hoping to pair it with Iron Man as cornerstones in their burgeoning studio. To do so, they needed to re-establish the property as different from the one presented five years ago, replacing the Oedipal issues of Ang Lee's vision with a more action-packed adventure that fans expected from ol' Green Genes.
I'm actually in the minority who believes Ang Lee's Hulk is a good movie, which surprisingly took a movie about a mindless behemoth and made it thought-provoking and unique. So I wasn't looking for a replacement for that film or an improvement, although I can understand why one exists from a business standpoint. After seeing The Incredible Hulk, I'm willing to concede that while 2003's Hulk is more ambitious, more interesting, and a better movie, 2008's The Incredible Hulk is the better Hulk movie.
This is the movie that fans were looking for five years ago, eschewing all the psychoanalytical mumbo-jumbo for some straight-up Hulk smashing. The movie is so conscious to avoid associations with Lee's film that scenes with Dr. Samson (Ty Burrell) having brief conversations about psychology with Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) that appeared in advertising didn't make the final cut (which had the effect of keeping me from realising that the film had introduced the character of Doc Savage for possible sequels until I got home and read the character's name again). Director Louis Leterrier (who previously directed Transporter 2) keeps his hands on the throttle throughout the film, getting the origin story portion that usually burdens all superhero movies out of the way while the opening credits roll, then plunging us into the ongoing struggles of Bruce Banner trying to live with being The Hulk while on the run in Brazil.