I think I am one of about 27 people on the planet who liked, and more specifically appreciated, Ang Lee’s take on the title character in Hulk back in 2003. Although it certainly wasn’t as good as it could have been, I admired the ambition and the vast difference from all those other comic book movies out there.
But it proved a dud for movie-goers (although it made a lot of money at the box office) and left the producers looking for another way to bring it back to theatres without people holding the first one against them. And I am pleased to say that they have delivered what the fans wanted and didn’t fully receive from the first envisioning — full-on “Hulk-smash”, even if it lacks what I personally appreciated in the first place.
This time around there is no 45 minutes of an origin story (save for a small two-minute segment explaining the necessary basics of how the character became what he is) but rather it practically jumps right into it with Bruce Banner on the run and in hiding from General Ross and the US government. We soon are thrust into the action when Ross manages to find Banner and the chase is then on. As Banner tries to evade captivity, another man by the name of Emil Blonsky decides he wants what Banner can become for himself and eventually becomes an even more dangerous version of it.
The blockbuster season of 2008 was successfully kicked off with satisfying quality by Iron Man, a comic book movie that didn’t demand you knew anything about the character to enjoy it. However I think The Incredible Hulk does require some knowledge or at least interest in the character itself to “get it”. Now I am sure in a basic movie-going sense anyone (i.e. someone who doesn’t know the character from a hole in the ground) could get some sort of kick out of the action sequences. But it’s the scenes involving verbal confrontation and discussion of certain elements that may leave the casual, un-savvy viewer a bit miffed.