Bruce Banner, under the supervision of General Ross, undergoes an experimental procedure designed to make humans immune to gamma radiation. Unfortunately the procedure goes horribly wrong, turning Bruce into ‘The Hulk’, a supersized and invincible monster whenever his heart rate is increased (and particularly when he is angry). He immediately goes on the run, trying to control the monster inside him but mainly to escape from General Ross who wants to harness the power of The Hulk for his own suspicious ends.

The Incredible Hulk (2008) – Director: Louis Leterrier

Is The Incredible Hulk appropriate for kids

Rating: 12

Running Length: 112 mins

Starring: Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth

Genre: Comic Book, Action

 

REVIEW

The Incredible Hulk’ is the second instalment of the Avenger’s franchise, introducing ‘The Hulk’ as the muscle of the team. The procedure which created Captain America this time goes wrong and, instead of killing Bruce, it turns him into an unstoppable force which he is unable to control. Having an unwanted power sets The Hulk apart from most Superheroes who are usually born with their powers (e.g. Thor, Superman), their alter-ego is created from technology (e.g. Iron Man, Batman) or from experiments or accidents that turn them into better versions of themselves (e.g. Captain America, Spiderman). The curse is very much realised in ‘The Incredible Hulk’ when Bruce has to leave his girlfriend, Betty (played by Liv Tyler), his home and everything he knows. Trying to control his anger but also find a cure, he relies on his communications with ‘Mr Blue’ (while his own alter ego is, of course, ‘Mr Green’) to help his cause.

While ‘The Incredible Hulk’ is an origins story, it is refreshing for the initial stages of the story (the experiment going wrong and The Hulk being created) to be told in the opening credits. The simplicity of these aspects are explained in the dialogue and room is left for an interesting story to be told without excessive detail being given throughout. Edward Norton is well cast as the quiet and unassuming Bruce Banner who just wants his life back to normal, although Liv Tyler is somewhat simpering in her role as Betty and is a little ineffectual at portraying the strong, emotional bond that she has with Bruce. While The Hulk is often just seen as a rampaging, unintelligent monster and is rarely a favourite among Marvel fans, ‘The Incredible Hulk’ brings plenty of humanity to the character and manages to bring out the best of the story, making it a good action film for kids and a thought-provoking movie for adults.

IS ‘THE INCREDIBLE HULK’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

During the opening credits, when Bruce undergoes the experiment and becomes The Hulk, there are several quick camera cuts to show what is happening. One of these cuts shows Betty lying on the floor, unconscious and covered in blood as she has clearly been hurt by The Hulk. She is then seen in a hospital bed with a badly bruised face and Bruce is sitting by her side. There is a quick flashback where the camera shows Betty in bed, from Bruce’s perspective and he sees Betty lying on her front with bare arms and shoulders; he is obviously remembering a time when they had been intimate. The scene then returns to the hospital bed.

When the army are trying to capture Bruce, they surround his apartment and, because a dog is barking, a shot is heard and the dog yelps in pain. However, the dog is shown a few seconds later with a tranquiliser dart in its side so it is still alive, just unconscious. Bruce owns a dog himself and when the army men raid his apartment a few seconds later, the dog barks and one man callously shoots the dog with a tranquiliser as the dog yelps loudly. As Bruce has to get away from these men, he has to leave his dog behind and does not go back for it.

During his escape from the army men, he accidentally bumps into a man who he has previously had trouble with. He and his friends chase Bruce into the factory where they work and catch him, threatening to hurt him. They punch him hard in the stomach but this has the effect of unleashing The Hulk as Bruce is unable to control his heart rate. The men try to run away but they are picked up or dragged away and thrown across the room. This scene could be a little scary for younger children as it is very dark and only glimpses of The Hulk are shown. At one point, The Hulk is standing behind a large amount of steam and his shadow is seen behind it, showing his enormous size compared to the men looking up him.

Later in the movie, Bruce and Betty are reunited and Betty helps Bruce to evade capture. While they are staying in a Motel, Betty cuts Bruce’s hair and when she is finished, he turns around and they kiss, dropping down below the camera as they are about to become physically intimate although nothing explicit is seen.

The finale of the movie sees the character of Abomination attacking a city. Abomination is a much more violent and menacing version of The Hulk; he enjoys hurting both innocent people and the army men who are trying to stop him. He throws cars and people around and chases after an army vehicle after they shoot him with heavy artillery. They try to escape but he throws a taxi at their vehicle and it crushes them. There is a close up shot of them cowering and crying out in fear just before the taxi hits and kills them. There is then a fight between Abomination and The Hulk; while it is rather brutal, it should not be particularly distressing for kids as they are both strong and neither suffer too much or cause excessive damage to one another.

CAN I SEE A CLIP?

VERDICT

The Incredible Hulk’ is an entertaining movie which has plenty of action as well as enough character development to keep the audience watching. While some movies may be a little boring for children when they try too hard to delve into a character’s psyche, this movie manages to get the balance right and is likely to be enjoyed by both adults and kids. We feel that this movie should be appropriate for kids aged 8 and over.

  • Violence: 3/5 (standard comic book style action sequences, some characters are badly hurt or killed but these moments are minimal and not lingered upon)
  • Emotional Distress: 0/5
  • Fear Factor: 2/5 (some sequences involving The Hulk and all which include Abomination may be a little scary, mainly due to the reactions of the people who see them)
  • Sexual Content: 1/5 (some mild, implied physical intimacy. One brief shot of a woman who has wrapped herself in a towel after coming out of a shower, a male character sees her and she shouts at him)
  • Bad Language: 2/5 (two curse words are used once each. One moderate word is cut off half way through)
  • Dialogue: 2/5 (the character of Blonsky (played by Tim Roth) is quite threatening. At one point, when talking about Bruce he says ‘I’m gonna track him down, I’m gonna put my foot on his throat and…’ before he is cut off mid-sentence by another character)
  • Other notes: Deals with themes of scientific experiments, distrust of the military and sacrificing one’s own happiness for the good of others.

Words by Laura Record

The Incredible Hulk [Blu-ray] [Region Free]


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