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The Incredible Hulk is a 2008 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character The Hulk. It is the second movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Universal Pictures, it is the second film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Directed by Louis Leterrier from a screenplay by Zak Penn, it stars Edward Norton as Bruce Banner alongside Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, Tim Blake Nelson, Ty Burrell, and William Hurt. In the movie, Bruce Banner becomes the Hulk and goes on the run from the military while attempting to cure himself of the Hulk.


At Culver University in Virginia, General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross meets with Dr. Bruce Banner, the colleague and boyfriend of his daughter Betty, regarding an experiment that Ross claims is meant to make humans immune to gamma radiation. The experiment—part of a World War II-era "super-soldier" program that Ross hopes to recreate—fails. The exposure to gamma radiation causes Banner to transform into the Hulk for brief periods of time, whenever his heart rate rises above 200 beats per minute. The Hulk destroys the lab and surrounding area, killing several people inside and injuring the General and Betty, and others outside. Banner becomes a fugitive from the U.S. military and Ross, who wants to weaponize the Hulk.

Five years later, Banner works at a bottling factory in Rocinha, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, while searching for a cure for his condition. On the internet, he anonymously collaborates with a colleague known only as "Mr. Blue." He is learning Yoga techniques to help keep control and has not transformed in five months. After Banner cuts his finger, a drop of his blood falls into a bottle, which is eventually ingested by an elderly consumer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, giving him gamma sickness. Using the bottle to track down Banner, Ross sends a special forces team, led by Emil Blonsky, to capture him. Banner transforms into the Hulk, defeats Blonsky's team and severely injures Blonsky. After Ross explains how Banner became the Hulk, Blonsky agrees to be injected with a small amount of a similar serum, which gives him enhanced speed, strength, agility, and healing powers but also begins to deform his skeleton and impairs his judgment.

Banner returns to Culver University and reunites with Betty. Banner is attacked a second time by Ross and Blonsky's forces, tipped off by Betty's suspicious boyfriend Leonard Samson, causing Banner to again transform into the Hulk. The ensuing battle outside the university proves futile for Ross' forces, and they retreat, though Blonsky, whose sanity is faltering, attacks and mocks the Hulk. The Hulk severely injures Blonsky and flees with Betty. After the Hulk reverts to Banner, he and Betty go on the run, and Banner contacts Mr. Blue, who urges them to meet him in New York City. Mr. Blue is actually cellular biologist Dr. Samuel Sterns, who tells Banner he has developed a possible antidote to Banner's condition. After a successful test, he warns Banner that the antidote may only reverse each transformation. Sterns reveals he has synthesized Banner's blood samples, which Banner sent from Brazil, into a large supply, to apply its "limitless potential" to medicine. Fearful of the Hulk's power falling into the military's hands, Banner wishes to destroy the blood supply.

A recovered Blonsky joins Ross' forces for a third attempt to take Banner into custody. They succeed, and Banner and Betty are taken away in a helicopter. Blonsky stays behind and orders Sterns to inject him with Banner's blood, as he covets the Hulk's power. The experiment mutates Blonsky into the Abomination, a creature with size and strength surpassing that of the Hulk. He attacks Sterns, who gets some of Banner's blood in a cut on his forehead, causing him to begin mutating as well. The Abomination rampages through Harlem. Realizing that the Hulk is the only one who can stop the Abomination, Banner convinces Ross to release him. He jumps from Ross' helicopter and transforms after hitting the ground. After a battle throughout Harlem, the Hulk defeats the Abomination by nearly strangling him to death with a chain, but spares his life upon hearing Betty's plea and leaves the Abomination for Ross and his forces to arrest. After having a peaceful moment with Betty, the Hulk flees New York.

A month later, Banner is in Bella Coola, British Columbia. Instead of suppressing his transformation, he begins to transform in a controlled manner with a slight smirk. Later, Tony Stark approaches Ross at a local bar and informs him that a team is being put together.

Why It's A Hulk Smash[]

  1. This movie explores the character of Bruce Banner in an intriguing way with a great emotional story.
  2. Bruce/the Hulk is a great complex character with a humble likable personality that can easily be turned into an aggressive monster.
  3. Neat acting, especially from Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, William Hurt, Ty Burrell, and Tim Blake Nelson.
  4. Amazing action. Not only is each action scene entertaining, but they utilize interesting ideas:
    • The first one is a chase scene in Rocinha, that makes usage of the location. What's cool is that Bruce has to run from the military, while also having to not transform into the Hulk. It also involves bullies from Bruce's workplace. Bruce eventually transforms and murders the bullies, which can be seen as satisfying, and he's most kept in the shadows as he's taking out Blonsky's crew, which adds suspense and creativity as to what the Hulk truly looks like.
    • The second scene involves the Hulk being fully revealed, which looks pretty sick. As he takes out multiple people from Blonsky's team, it's shot interestingly and showcases Blonsky's minor strength.
    • The finale shows the Hulk fighting Abomination, Blonsky's new form. It's an entertaining brawl with a satisfying conclusion.
  5. The idea of the Hulk being seen as a threat to an unlikely hero is great character development.
  6. Engaging supporting characters, like Betty Ross, Samuel Sterns, and Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross.
  7. Great directing and writing.
  8. The cinematography and lighting are amazing, and fit very well for the Hulk character.
  9. Pretty good effects that have mostly aged well.
  10. The somber darker tone adds great tone to many scenes.
  11. The end scene with Tony Stark is a nice setup for The Avengers, and yet the rest of the movie stands on it's own very well.

Bad Qualities[]

  1. The movie fast forwards through Bruce's origin story, and while the movie successfully pulls it off, it has to put in much more effort to make the characters interesting.
  2. Emil Blonsky isn't that great as a villain, since he's not really presented as a main villain. Most of his personality is just military statistics and him being obsessed over capturing Bruce.
  3. Some effects look mediocre.


The Incredible Hulk received generally positive reviews. Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 67%, with an average score of 6.2/10, based on 238 reviews.


  • Though the film performed decently at the box office, it is the lowest grossing film in the MCU to date.
  • This was the second and final MCU movie to be released before Marvel was acquired by Disney in 2009.

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