I don’t know what kept me from seeing The Incredible Hulk when it was in theatres last summer. Maybe it was the fear of being disappointed a la the original film. More probably, it was the fact that I was in a show and was really busy, because I read some reviews and got excellent work of mouth. However, seeing it on video I was FAR from disappointed. The sequel had EVERYTHING the first film lacked in abundance. It was almost a marriage of the comic book and the television series with homages paid to both.
The Incredible is so much closer in tone to the series while at the same time remaining faithful to the comic book. Bruce Banner is on the run forever searching for the cure to his transformation into the not-so-jolly green giant. However, he may just come to realize that curing it is not necessarily the answer. Along with him is his former fiance Betty Ross daughter of General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross. General Ross is bent upon capturing Banner and using his alter-ego as a military weapon. Another important figure derived from the comic series, Major Emil Blonsky (a rather power driven soldier) is introduced.
Yet, what made the movie so special (in my opinion) are the gentle nods to past incarnations of the character. In most Marvel Superhero movies, Stan Lee (creator of The Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, and a whole list of other heroes) makes an appearance. Lou Ferrigno (the ORIGINAL, original Hulk) has a cameo as a security guard as he did in the first film (and in a very cool vocal appearance). There is also a nice reference to Bill Bixby (the original Dr. Banner) near the beginning of the film. There is also a cameo of the original closing theme of the television series (“The Lonely Man”) . Plus a mention of a certain investigative reporter.
Everything about The Incredible Hulk made it so much better than the first movie. Everyone involved knew exactly what they were doing and made one monster of a tale. It even included a cameo from a character that foreshadows a follow-up feature film. So much for fans of the comic as well as those who remember the television series of the 70s-80s. An Incredible film.