Bruce Banner, a scientist on the run from the U.S. Government must find a cure for the monster he emerges whenever he loses his temper. However, Banner then must fight a soldier whom unleashes himself as a threat stronger than he.
When bitten by a genetically modified spider, a nerdy, shy, and awkward high school student gains spider-like abilities that he eventually must use to fight evil as a superhero after tragedy befalls his family.
When a cure is found to treat mutations, lines are drawn amongst the X-Men, led by Professor Charles Xavier, and the Brotherhood, a band of powerful mutants organized under Xavier's former ally, Magneto.
Bruce Banner, a brilliant scientist with a cloudy past about his family, is involved in an accident in his laboratory causing him to become exposed to gamma radiation and Nanomeds (A tiny life-form that is supposed to heal wounds but has killed everything with which they have made contact). Confused and curious about his survival, Banner discovers that since the accident, whenever he becomes angry he transforms into a giant green monster destroying everything in sight in an act of fury. Bruce's mysterious past and the answer to why the radiation had this effect becomes revealed to him as his Birth Father David Banner intervenes with hopes to continue experimenting on him. Written by
Ang Lee's "Hulk" is a singular masterpiece of the super-hero genre
I know the current "Avengers" movies are popular right now, and everybody digs Mark Ruffalo's version of the Hulk (myself included), I still consider Ang Lee's 2003 "Hulk" to be one of the finest comic book based movies ever, and contrary to popular belief, one of the most faithful. Being a true fan of the Hulk comic stories from the 60's to the 80's, I think I can say this with credibility. I'm also coming from the angle that the 70's TV show is not the real Hulk.
First, Ang Lee's film is extremely faithful to the comics. Watching the movie, it was as if some scenes were lifted right out of the Stan Lee stories. Hulk fighting army tanks in the desert, Hulk leaping over canyon cliffs, Hulk touching the reaches of space, and yes, even Hulk dogs are from the comics. Hulk's father in the movie is directly based on Bruce's father in the comics, Brian Banner, who was abusive and allegedly had a hand in Hulk's origin. The many villain incarnations that David Banner takes on at the end of the film are not just the Absorbing Man, but are an amalgam of many of Hulk villains including Zzax.
Second, Ang Lee's film was less about simply "Hulk Smash" and more about the idea of the Hulk. The idea of evolution, the idea of repression and subsequent freedom from that repression. It's interesting that every Ang Lee film is similarly about this idea of repression. Repressed gay cowboys, repressed women in China, a repressed slave finding freedom after the Civil War, etc. The evolution idea is expressed in the food chain of "Hulk" creatures we see in the movie. First a frog, then dogs, Hulk himself, and then a near "Hulk god" in David Banner. Evolution is also cinematically expressed in the morph edits seen throughout the film. Contrary to popular belief, the multi-frame editing was not just about mimicking a a comic book, it was about expressing the idea of freedom from repression, of seeing something from different angles, different points of view, different sides, much like Bruce has a "different side" to him. If you notice, the multi-angles many times show us the same subject but from a different camera angle. The idea of the Hulk is also metaphorically visually expressed through the imagery of atomic mushroom clouds and jellyfish, two visually similar objects. It expresses the idea that this Hulk was born of two of the greatest known forces in the universe, genetic and atomic force.
It's Ang Lee's masterful filmmaking, strong use of visual metaphor, and faithfulness to the original comics that really sets his Hulk film apart for me. Perhaps the one scene that really spells out what Ang Lee is doing and also brought me back to the old comics was that first close-up we see of Hulk free and jumping through the desert to the haunting Danny Elfman music. Classic.
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