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The Incredible Hulk is a 2008 film based on the Marvel comics superhero, a reboot to the 2003 film and the second film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is directed by Louis Leterrier and stars Edward Norton as Bruce Banner, Liv Tyler as Betty Ross, William Hurt as her father, Thaddeus Ross and Tim Roth as the villainous Emil Blonsky, known as the Abomination.

The film follows Banner as he flees the pursuit of General Ross and attempts a cure to rid himself of the Hulk. But when Blonsky injects himself with Banner's gamma formula and becomes an even greater monster, Banner must accept his own inner beast and defeat Blonsky.


A series of flashback shots show the gamma radiation accident that transformed scientist Bruce Banner into the Hulk, and hospitalized his lover Betty Ross. Now a fugitive from the United States Army, and Betty's father, General Thaddeus Ross, Banner goes on the run for five years. He settles in Brazil, working in a soft drink bottling factory while attempting to find a cure for his condition with the help of an Internet friend, "Mr. Blue". He also studies martial arts and meditative breathing techniques with a Brazilian Jujitsu expert to help control his emotions, and has not suffered a transformation for five months.

After Banner suffers a cut, and his blood drips into a soda bottle eventually drank by an ill-fated consumer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Ross discovers Banner's location, and sends a team to capture him, led by Russian-born British special operations expert Emil Blonsky. Following a ferocious battle in the soft drink bottling plant where he transforms into the Hulk, Banner escapes Blonsky, and ends up in Guatemala. He travels to the United States, where he sees that a now-recovered Betty is working at Culver University and is dating psychiatrist Leonard Samson. He also sees his old friend Stanley, a pizzeria owner, who gives him a job as a delivery boy. Banner uses this job to sneak past a security guard to continue his research. After Betty visits the pizzeria and sees Bruce, she later reunites with him.

Blonsky reports to Ross that Banner evaded them in Brazil because of the appearance of a large green monster. Ross explains that the monster is Banner, and that he was created accidentally during an experiment in radiation-resistance that was inspired by World War II era military bio-force enhancement research (or "Super-Soldiers", as Blonsky puts it). Blonsky, seeking both revenge and power, volunteers as a test subject in order to capture Banner. He receives a small dose of the mothballed original Vita Ray serum, created by Dr. Reinstein for Weapon Plus. He leads an assault on Banner at Culver University, during which Betty is knocked unconscious. Despite Blonsky's increased strength, speed and agility, the Hulk crushes most of the bones in Blonsky's body. The Hulk saves Betty from an explosion and escapes with her to the Smoky Mountain National Forest.

Banner and Betty then travel to Empire State University in New York City, where they meet "Mr. Blue", Samuel Sterns. Accompanying Sterns to his lab, Banner and Betty learn that Sterns has developed a possible antidote that may cure Banner's condition or merely reverse each individual transformation while an overdose could kill him. Despite the risks, Banner agrees to test Sterns' antidote and is restrained before being shocked into transforming with electricity before being reverted to normal with an injection of the serum. Exhilarated by the success of the antidote, Sterns reveals that he has synthesized Banner's blood sample into a large supply with the intention of using it to enhance the human condition to the next evolutionary level. Appalled by what Sterns had done and fearful of the Hulk's power falling into the wrong hands, Banner attempts to convince Sterns to destroy the blood supply but is shot by a tranquillizer from one of General Ross' snipers.

As both Banner and Betty are taken into custody, Blonsky, whose super-soldier treatment has healed all his injuries but is desperate for more power, demands Sterns subject him to a dose of the Banner's gamma radiation treatment. Sterns warns that the combination of the Super Soldier formula and a gamma treatment would be an unpredictable combination that could turn him into an "abomination". Blonsky is less than concerned about this, and Sterns promptly administers the gamma charge. As Blonsky mutates into the monstrous Abomination, he knocks Sterns aside and an irradiated sample of Banner's blood-derivative drips into an open wound on Sterns's temple, causing his cranium to mutate and expand. In an attempt to draw the Hulk out, the Abomination goes on a rampage through Harlem and Banner, realizing that he is the only one who can stop the Abomination, convinces General Ross to release him. He jumps out of Ross' helicopter as it hovers over the city, hoping the fall will stimulate his adrenal glands into triggering a transformation. Banner's plan succeeds and after a brutal battle the Hulk manages to defeat the Abomination by strangling him with a huge chain, though he releases his grip after a plea from Betty. The Abomination collapses, and the Hulk flees the scene with the army in hot pursuit.

Thirty-one days later, Banner is in Bella Coola, British Columbia. Instead of trying to suppress his transformations, he is attempting to initiate them in a controlled manner. As his eyes turn green, a grin appears on his face. Meanwhile, Ross is drinking in a bar when he is approached by Tony Stark who reveals that a "team" is being put together.


Continuity and References to the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Connections to the 2003 Hulk movie

Although there were originally plans for a sequel to the 2003 Hulk movie featuring the Gray Hulk, the dark tone and poor performance of that film inspired Marvel Studios to decide that the next Hulk film needed to be done differently. As a result, screenwriter Zak Penn wrote three drafts of a story which would serve as a follow-up to the 2003 movie, but drawing more from the TV show and comic books. He described it as akin to Batman Begins, where the movie is not out-of-continuity with the others in the series, but neither is it a direct sequel. In his words:

"The first movie is not about Bruce Banner dealing with the repercussions of being the Hulk, it's much more about him becoming the Hulk. He gets taken to a base and put under observation pretty quickly. This movie is about Bruce Banner on the run and what life is like. There's stuff that I didn't want to deal with that was in the first movie. You're not going to see anything about his father or his experiments or anything, because to me, as a fan, that was the part that I found most frustrating...



When Penn's commitments as director on The Grand required him to leave the project, Marvel Studios was still not satisfied with the screenplay. Part of their contract with Hulk actor Edward Norton stipulated that he would be paid to re-write it. He was hired only 3 months before filming was due to start, and had one month to produce the final screenplay. His changes were focused on further distancing it from the 2003 film and creating more of a "starting over" tone. [2]

Other connections include:

  • The story begins with Bruce living in South America, where the character was last seen at the end of Hulk.
  • Lou Ferrigno appears as a security guard. He was also a security guard in Hulk. In both cases, he was a security guard of a college Bruce worked in.
  • Bruce has been on the run for five years, which would place the flashback in or around 2003, the year Hulk took place and when the movie was released.

Connections to the 1970s TV series and Comics

Gamma burst crosshairs.

During promotion for the movie, the filmmakers have noted that a conscious decision was made to make their movie more like The Incredible Hulk TV series starring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno.

  • The film's fugitive theme; Bruce on the run, in hiding, is a nod to the series in which David Banner moves from one place to another, searching for a cure for his condition.
  • The circumstances under which Banner becomes the Hulk are reminiscent to that of the series. The chairs that each Banner sits in during the overdose of gamma radiation are very similar in structure. Even the aiming crosshairs that focus the gamma bursts on Banner's forehead are retained.
  • Edward Norton's character watches an episode of The Courtship of Eddie's Father (1969-1972), in which Bill Bixby starred as a widower raising his 7 year old son.
  • Lou Ferrigno plays a security guard who shares a scene with Edward Norton, and also provides the voice for the Hulk.
  • Joe Harnell's "Lonely Man Theme" that characterized David Banner's plight, is used by composer Craig Armstrong in the film.
  • During a scuffle with some co-workers, Banner warns in broken Portuguese, "Don't make me angry, you wouldn't like me when I'm angry," (though he screws up and accidentally says "hungry" instead of angry). In the television pilot, this line is spoken by Bixby to Jack Colvin's character, investigative reporter, Jack McGee. It would become a fixture of the main title -- and pop culture.
  • The student who uses his camera phone to capture the Hulk's battle with the military is later identified as Jack McGee -- a reporter for the school newspaper.
  • The school that employs Dr. Elizabeth Ross is Culver University. Culver Institute is the research facility that employed Bixby's character and was the setting for his Gamma experiment.
  • The films opening titles are based of the opening credits sequence showing various shots of Banner in the Gamma Chair, x-ray images of a human skull, and a blinking danger light.
  • The idea of Banner testing Gamma radiation on himself is used in both the original TV series and Marvel's Ultimates storyline, though the Ultimates storyline had him as a scientist working on a super soldier program (as he is in the movie) as opposed to "finding the hidden strength that all humans have."
  • In both the original pilot for the TV series and the 2008 film, there is a sequence where the Hulk rescues the female love interest (Elaina Marks in the TV series, Betty Ross in the movie) from an explosion (caused by a fire at the university in the TV series, and from a missile launched by a helicopter in the movie), and takes her to a secluded, mountain forest. Even the locations where the explosions take place are the same, though the difference is that while Elaina Marks suffered wounds from the flames and died after the Hulk saved her, Betty Ross did not.
  • When Bruce Banner begins to transform into the Hulk, his eyes change before his body does, as in the series.
  • When Banner is seen hiding at the end of the film, a package is addressed to his current alias David B.. In the television series, the protagonist's first name was changed to David for unconfirmed reasons.

Behind the Scenes

  • Although Edward Norton rewrote most of the screenplay before and during filming, the Writers Guild of America gave sole writing credit to Zak Penn who penned the first 3 versions of the script but had to leave to work on The Grand before filming started.[3]
  • Director Louis Leterrier has stated that the Blu-ray release of the film will contain 70 minutes of cut footage, although he is uncertain how much of that will fit onto the standard DVD release. He intends to include everything he filmed, both good and bad, because he feels that if nothing else it will be interesting for student filmmakers. He says much of the cut footage ties in to the 2003 Ang Lee film Hulk and deals with the backstory of the character. [4]
  • Louis Leterrier had been interested in directing Iron Man (2008), but when Jon Favreau took that project Avi Arad offered him a sequel to Hulk (2003). In an attempt to depict their comic book films in the same universe, Marvel Studios gave Robert Downey Jr. a cameo as Tony Stark in this film.


  • On June 13, get ready to unleash the beast.
  • This summer, our only hope is something incredible
  • This June, a hero shows his true colors
  • You'll like him when he's angry.


The film was shot in Ontario, Canada, Brazil, New York City, New York, Madison, New Jersey and Arlington, Virginia.


Main article: The Incredible Hulk (film)/Gallery.


For more images, see The Incredible Hulk (film)/Gallery.


For more videos, see The Incredible Hulk (film)/Gallery.


  1. Exclusive: Zak Penn on Norton as Hulk! Edward Douglas,, April 16, 2007
  2. Norton's Double Duty on Hulk Advanced Dark, (originally in the L.A. Times), August 15, 2007
  3. Zak Penn Receives Sole Writing Credit on THE INCREDIBLE HULK, Robert Sanchez,, June 4, 2008
  4. Louis Leterrier says fans can expect 70 MINUTES of Additional Footage on the INCREDIBLE HULK Blu-ray DVD! Frosty,, June 10, 2008

External links

Marvel Cinematic Universe
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Released Films Hulk | The Incredible Hulk | The Avengers | Avengers: Age of Ultron | Thor: Ragnarok | Avengers: Infinity War Avengers: Endgame
Cancelled Films Hulk 2 | The Incredible Hulk 2