The Incredible Hulk is a 2008 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character the Hulk, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Universal Pictures. It is the second film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film was directed by Louis Leterrier, with a screenplay by Zak Penn. It stars Edward Norton as Bruce Banner/Hulk.
Dr. Bruce Banner was invited to join a high profile military research project by General Thaddeus Ross, who happens to be the father of his girlfriend Betty Ross. The project was meant to recreate the Super Soldier Serum that created the Captain America during WWII, but Ross didn't tell Banner what the research was for and instead told him that they were just working on radiation resistance. Bruce and Betty developed a protype serum that supposedly could make a human immune to Gamma radiation. When the project was threatened with cancellation due to lack of funds Bruce, in a moment of overconfidence, decided to test the serum on himself to convince investors not to cancel it.
The demonstration went horribly wrong when Banner was exposed to a massive overdose of Gamma radiation. The unstable serum and gamma radiation caused Banner to mutate into a large green-skinned monster with incredible strength. A security guard fired at the hulking monster, in response he attacked everyone in the room, killing several doctors and hospitalizing Betty. Soon enough bruce returned to normal with only a vague recollection of what happened; he quickly learned that he will transform again whenever he becomes angry or during moments of stress that raises his heart beat. Banner was horrified at what he did as the green monster, which had been nicknamed "The Hulk", and to make matters worse he found out that General Ross intends to further research Bruce's condition and potentially create an army of Hulks. Because of that Bruce fled the USA to prevent anyone from getting the Hulk's destructive power.
For the next five years, Bruce remained a fugitive hiding from Ross; whenever he transformed into Hulk he was forced to flee to another country to stay away from Ross. Eventually he settled on the slums of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he got a job as a repairman at a soda drink factory. At the same time he came into contact with a scientist using highly crypted text messages that the FBI can't track. Using the aliases "Mr. Green" and "Mr. Blue", the two are working on an antidote to cure Banner from the Hulk. One day at work Bruce has an accident that makes his finger bleed into the manufacturing plant, he cleans the blood but fails to notice a drop of blood in one of the bottles.
After another attempt at an antidote results in failure, Mr. Blue pressures Bruce into sending a blood sample to his laboratory for more precise tests with better equipment, which Bruce reluctantly agrees to. At the same time Ross gets a report about an old man (Stan Lee) getting poisoned from a soda drink that presented high levels of gamma radiation. Ross immediately decudes that Banner is hiding near the soda drink's factory and prepares a SWAT team to go capture him. For the mission, Ross hires Emil Blonsky, an aging soldier with a very impressive track record.
A few days later Banner gets a message from Mr. Blue that early tests on the blood sample show very promising results, but in order to make the full antidote work he needs more specific data regarding the experiment much to Banner's dismay because said data is at his old laboratory in Culver university. Later that night Bruce notices a SWAT team incoming and escapes before they can ambush him. He runs into General Ross before running away and hiding at the factory. While escaping he runs into a group of thugs that frequently harass him at work. Ross' squad and the thugs corner Banner at the factory. Despite his efforts to avoid doing so, Banner transforms into the Hulk.
Hulk pummels the thugs and battles the squad while remaining hidden in the darkness, killing some of the soldiers accidentally. Blonsky tries to fend off the monster which he's unable to see only to be completely shocked when he gets a glimpse of Hulk before the latter throws a forklift truck at him. Blonsky reports about a "big hulking thing" that attacked him during the mission only for Ross to inform him that Banner IS that monster. Back at USA Blonsky scolds Ross for not telling the SWAT team about Banner's "condition" but also tells Ross that if he plans another ambush he wants to participate on it again. Ross expains Blonsky the experiment that created the Hulk and reveals that he still has a sample of the prototype serum which he offers to Blonsky.
Banner wakes up in Guatemala and decides that his only course of action now is to go home and get the data for Mr. Blue. Two weeks later he reaches Culver but decides not to see Betty and stay with his old friend Stan who owns a pizzeria for the time being. Banner infiltrates the lab by posing as a pizza delivery man working for Stan only to find the data is gone, he also finds out that Betty has a new boyfriend. That night Betty finds out Banner is back in town and invites him to her house, there she reveals that she still has a USB with the experiment data Bruce needs for the antidote. Bruce awkardly tries to befriend Betty's boyfriend and insists to Betty that he can't stay for long and needs to go to New York to meet Mr. Blue as soon as possible.
The next morning the army ambushes Banner, led by Blonsky who's combat abilities were drastically enhanced by the prototype serum. Banner transforms into Hulk again when the soldiers capture Betty. Hulk wrecks the army's vehicles and sonic weapons they had purchased from Stark Industries. Blonsky fights the Hulk and manges to hold on his own for a while but Hulk kicks him into a tree so hard it knocks unconcious. Betty tries to calm the Hulk and partially succeeds but the army keeps attacking and injures Betty, forcing Hulk to escape with her. Betty's boyfriend was the one who had contacted Ross about Bruce's location. Hulk transforms back to Banner and Betty agrees to accompany him on the trip to NY as she also wants to help with the antidote.
The prototype Super Soldier Serum allows Blonsky to recover incredibly fast and he insists on taking another dose of the serum. The second dose slightly mutates Blonsky's backbone, while Blonsky himself is becoming increasingly unstable form mutiple serum doses. Ross finds out that Banner is en route to NY and prepares yet another ambush but this time plans to avoid unleashing the Hulk otherwise Banner will get away yet again.
Once the two reach NY they meet up with Samuel Sterns a.k.a. Mr. Blue. Stern informs them that the antidote is ready for a test. The test proves successful but Sterns is uncertain if the cure is permanent or if Banner will need consistent doses of the antidote. He also informs them that he's been making more gamma radiated blood samples and intends to patent it for medical research much to Bruce's horror. Bruce and Betty try to convince Stern to destroy the samples but in the middle of the argument a tranquilizer hits Bruce. Bruce and Betty are arrested and taken into Ross' helicopter, but unknown to them Blonsky forced Sterns into injecting him with Gamma blood.
The injected blood mixed with the large amounts of Super Soldier Serum mutates Blonsky into an abominable monster. The Abomination goes on a rampage breaking everything in Harlem while demanding Hulk to show up for another rematch. Ross gets a notice on the Abomination and Banner convinces him to let the Hulk take him down, despite being uncertain if he'll even transform due to the antidote. Bruce jumps off the helicopter which successfully triggers the transformation.
Hulk and Abomination battle through out the streets of Harlem causing more mass destruction. Despite Hulk's best efforts, he finds himself overpowered by Abomination. Ross uses his helicopter's turret to try to support Hulk but that only makes the Abomination go after him. Hulk intercepts Abomination just as he grabs the helicopter, the two wrestling causes the helicopter to steer out of control and crash into a nearby building. Betty and Ross survive but are left trapped in the helicopter, which is leaking fuel and sparks threaten to start a fire.
Hulk and Abomination fight again which results in Abomination pinning down Hulk to a wall. Banner sees Betty is in danger and becomes strong enough to knock down Blonsky long enough to save Betty and Ross from the fire. Abomination recovers and hits Hulk with a piece of concrete attached to a chain. Blonsky prepares to kill the Rosses with the chain, but just before he does Hulk yells "Hulk, SMAAASSH!!" and smashes the floor, causing a large crack on the floor where Abomination's foot get stuck. Blonsky drops the chain and the concrete hits his head. Hulk takes the chain and after a final wrestle wraps the chain around Abomination and uses it to asphyxiate him into submission. Hulk almost kills Blonsky but Betty begs him to stop.
Hulk calms down just as local authorities and several witnesses arrive to the scene. He decides to spare Abomination who just lost conciousness and roars to declare his victory. As the military appears yet again, Hulk shares a brief moment with Betty before escaping again, with Ross allowing him to escape and the Abomination is taken into custody.
Weeks later Banner is seen in Canada working a technique to summon the Hulk at will and control him. A drunken Ross gets a visit from Tony Stark who had just recently announced that he's the Iron Man publicly. Tony mocks Ross for chasing the Super Soldier Serum and says that the project "should've stayed frozen". He also tells Ross that they're putting a team together.
Why it Rocks
- Given that the last Hulk movie focused too much on Hulk's origin and Banner's dad issues, this movie avoided all of that.
- Edward Norton makes a good job portraying Bruce Banner's more traumatized side of being the Hulk.
- Significant improvement on Hulk's CGI compared to the last one.
- Good soundtrack that fits the theme of the movie.
- Hulk is portrayed as a savage destructive monster, but if you pay close attention, you realize that Hulk only ever attacks as a form of self-defense and never to intentionally cause harm. This is best seen when he says "Leave me alone" when the military is attacking him.
- The movie gives several subtle hits for Captain America.
- Hulk's final fight with Abomination is one of the best final battles in the MCU
- HULK, SMAAAASH!!
- Overly dour tone
- The antidote plot is almost completely dropped during the third act of the movie.
- Samuel Sterns is seen beginning to mutate into The Leader but he never appeared again.
The Incredible Hulk recieved mixed to positive reception. It is generally considered one of the weakest MCU movies, despite that it is still considered a decent movie and it turned a profit.
Due to the mixed reception the movie recieved, it never got a sequel and Hulk was relegated to only appearing as a supporting character in The Avengers movies and Thor: Ragnarok. Mark Ruffalo replaced Edward Norton as Bruce Banner.