MCU Crossover Series - The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Updated: Sep 28
Co-Host: Adam Hitchcock, The Streaming Circuit podcast
Louis Letterier, Director
Zak Penn, Screenplay
Edward Norton as Bruce Banner
Liv Tyler as Betty Ross
Tim Roth as Emil Blonsky / Abomination
William Hurt as Thaddeus Ross
Tim Blake Nelson as Samuel Sterns
Ty Burrell as Leonard Samson
Christina Cabot as Kathleen Sparr
Plot Summary: In "The Incredible Hulk", director Louis Leterrier, known for his sleek action sequences, takes audiences on a turbulent journey through the complex psyche of Dr. Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) in a thought-provoking exploration of anger, isolation, and the quest for self-acceptance.
The film opens with Dr. Bruce Banner living in the remote corners of South America, seeking solace and anonymity as he tries to control his monstrous alter ego. Haunted by guilt over the destruction caused by his uncontrollable rage, Banner seeks a cure that will rid him of the Hulk once and for all. Banner's quest intersects with the shadowy operations of a covert military organization, led by the enigmatic General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross (William Hurt). Ross, obsessed with capturing Banner and harnessing the Hulk's power as a weapon, deploys a special task force headed by the ruthless Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth). As Banner eludes capture and struggles with his inner demons, he encounters Dr. Betty Ross (Liv Tyler), his former lover and General Ross's daughter. Their reunion reignites the dormant emotions between them, further complicating Banner's already tormented existence. However, a breakthrough in Banner's research leads him to believe that he can control the Hulk's power without losing himself. Desperate to free himself from his monstrous curse, he tests his theory, unleashing a new version of the Hulk, one more formidable and intelligent than ever before. In a thrilling climax, the Hulk battles Blonsky, now transformed into the monstrous Abomination, tearing through the streets of Harlem in an epic showdown.
Leterrier's skillful direction keeps the action intense and captivating, but it is the emotional depth beneath the surface that elevates this film above mere superhero spectacle.
"The Incredible Hulk" delves into profound themes of identity and the consequences of unchecked rage, inviting viewers to question the nature of humanity itself. Norton's nuanced portrayal of Banner captures the character's vulnerability, torment, and ultimate redemption, delivering a performance that lingers in the mind long after the credits roll. With its poignant exploration of the human condition, Leterrier's vision of "The Incredible Hulk" is a thoughtful addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, reminding us that even the strongest among us carry deep-seeded struggles that require understanding, compassion, and, above all, acceptance.
The Stan Lee Rubric:
Audience Score: 7.05 (72% Google, 69% RT)