The Incredible Hulk starts off as more of an action thriller than a typical superhero film. Banner is on the run from the US Government led by General Ross (William Hurt), a man who is single-minded in his determination to capture Banner and cares very little about who may get caught in the crossfire. The scenes where Banner is hiding out in Brazil are a highlight, especially the foot chase through the favela and when you catch your first glimpse of the Hulk.
It’s a pity the film doesn’t keep up that same momentum throughout its runtime. There are some good action set pieces, the confrontation between the Hulk and the Army on a University campus is especially good, but the final battle is not. It’s dull and typical and offers little in terms of character.
The Incredible Hulk’s main problem is that it has a simple yet weak story. Bruce wants to find a cure for the monster inside him, but as anyone who knows this character knows it’s futile. While it’s nice to have a more small-scale journey for the reluctant hero, Banner feels like a cardboard cut out of a character as the Bruce Banner/Hulk story is one that is so well-known it is as if whoever wrote the script didn’t feel they had to try that hard. Actors like Liv Tyler as Dr. Betty Ross are underutilised, and Tim Roth is a weird choice to portray Emil Blonsky and he never really feels as if he settles into the role.
The Incredible Hulk is not a memorable film. This is in part because besides the first act, it never gets that exciting. The Incredible Hulk is a more broody action film, and as Norton isn’t a particularly dynamic lead, it can feel more dull than entertaining. 2/5.