The way the filmmaker told us the story made us emotionally feel for the Hulk. He withheld the Hulk's source of rage until close to the end. When it's revealed, it's so powerful that it made me burst into tears. Sorry, US Army. Love you guys, but I was rooting for the Hulk all the way because of the emotional investment I put in the Bruce Banner character as the story unfolded.
And what a stunning visual style Ang Lee adapted to tell the story! He made scientific experiments look cool! All the shots of blood, DNA, eyes, atomic bomb explosions were amazing. I was awe struck by all the inventive transitions and all the morphings from one image to another. The style is not like the classical beauty of Crouching Tiger, rather, it's more like an edgy, abstract contemporary art. Yes, Ang Lee proved a comic book movie CAN be art. And I love the opening credit segment! It laid out the framework of the story in such a visually stunning way!
The acting was good all around. I thought Eric Bana and Sam Elliot were excellent in their respective role. Nick Nolte was a bit over the top, but the role seems to require it. The father-and-son confrontation toward the end was almost like dramatic stage play. Great performances by Nolte and Bana. The fact that Bana held his own on that stage versus a theme-stealing Nolte proves to me that he's not just a pretty face. He can act. Jennifer Connelly's performance was restraint but good. Her face while holding Bruce after the mayhem in SF was heartbreaking. I wish Lee would show her face after hearing the news of the bomb rather than Elliot's. Her character was the emotion center of the Hulk, not her father.
This is a film that doesn't spell out everything. It requires the audience to think. The psychological battles waging in Bruce Banner's head were revealed in dreams and images. After I saw it for the first time last week, I wasn't clear on some of the points of the story and thought the film had a few flaws. I just saw the film for the second time and I thought everything was brilliantly done. In its core, the Hulk is an arthouse comic book movie. It's made for adults who appreciate their entertainment with a brain and a heart, even in summertime.