In fierce competition not only against his formidable enemies, but with the various other Hulk incarnations that have popped up on the big and small screens, this latest Hulk as big as the guy is, must measure up to all those assorted clones and knockoffs. And whether or not he does, will depend on the levels of Hulk exposure of longtime fans, purists, and the uninitiated. But there’s a little bit of something for everyone here, in the way of action, humor, romance, and among assorted surprise cameos, Robert Downey Jr. turning up to hint at future sequel mischief.
Edward Norton’s sulking Hulk/Bruce Banner is hiding out this time around in a Brazilian slum, drudging away at a bottling plant and getting slapped around by some sort of anger management tropical guru. In his feverish race for the cure to his multiple persona disorder, Banner dabbles in a bit of flower power as he distills a serum from a blossom that turns out to be a dud.
But with the US military still on his heels in their manic bid to exploit his bad luck to create an invincible super-soldier, as he flees around the globe, Banner heads back to the campus lab where his troubles began, and to meet up with his strictly platonic abandoned honey, Dr. Betty Ross (Liv Tyler). Though not before stopping off for a one-size-fits all wardrobe addition in a Chiapas outdoor mall, to suit up for anticipated Hulk weight fluctuations.
In the meantime, Betty’s baddie dad, General Thunderbolt Ross (William Hurt), plots to unleash nearly the entire arsenal of US weaponry against The Hulk/Banner whenever he senses him in the vicinity, while also warding off his infuriated offspring. Then there’s the matter of devious military man Blonsky (Tim Roth), who gets jealous and is bent on sampling some of that super-steroid elixir too.
On a side note, this is the second movie in a row where Roth gets bummed out on a quest for chronological rejuvenation, following his reverse biological adventures in Francis Ford Coppola’s Youth Without Youth, and he fares no better here. Morphing into the hideous Abomination, the overly ambitious Blonsky faces off against The Hulk in a Harlem showdown, tearing up the hood in a masterfully choreographed awesome showdown.
Heavy on the muscle mass and light on the drama, this Hulk version directed by Louis Leterrier (The Transporter) is not exactly new and improved, but works its own brand of differently conceived mega-action magic on the audience. In summation, the green guy rules again.