Hailing more from the pulp-melancholic spirit of the 1978-1982 Hulk television series than its 2003 predecessor did, The Incredible Hulk wordlessly tells the entire gamma ray-afflicted origin story of scientist Bruce Banner's alter-ego within its first two-and-a-half minutes. This credit sequence evokes--albeit with more cinematic weight--the premise-informing quality that might be found before every episode of a cult hit series. This sequence makes at least two things clear. First off, the Edward Norton-starring The Incredible Hulk is not a sequel to or a remake of the 2003 The Hulk, but a reboot complete with an alternate plot, a new dynamic, and a different set of rules. Second, director Louis Leterrier (Unleashed, The Transporter) intends to deliver an economically paced, tightly wound thriller in which drama and action scenes are not mutually exclusive.
The Incredible Hulk replaces cerebral family drama with a coping scientist who, at the start of the movie, is in hiding and training his mind-body dichotomy. So much of Banner's plight is effectively conveyed with simple 'days without incident': title cards that inevitably reset. The Hulk's previously poetic weightlessness is rejected in favour of gargantuan physicality akin to seeing huge robots face off in Transformers, but with more flesh, muscle, and bone. The angst, of course, isn't gone from this incarnation--not if Norton's intelligently passionate Banner and his tender, forbidden relationship with Dr. Elizabeth Ross (Liv Tyler) have anything to say about it--it's simply that this Hulk always smashes before he ponders. Rounding out The Incredible Hulk's main players are William Hurt as General Ross and Tim Roth as marine Emil Blonsky, two antagonists in pursuit of the Hulk who, like Banner, are not so much evil as consumed by tragic character flaws.
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