First Hit: The second version of this comic book character is much better than the first, but nothing special.
This is the version I was hoping to see the first time through. Edward Norton plays Bruce Banner as someone with depth, intelligence and thoughtfulness.
The film begins with Bruce hiding out in an expansive (fly in shot is great) poor section of a large city in Brazil. We find Bruce working a shift in a soft drink bottling plant where, as a gringo, he isn’t favored by other male workers who push him along with prodding and baiting him to react.
However, the boss likes him because he can also fix electronic problems with an overhead crane. We also see him in his little hole-in-the-wall home communicating via computer with someone in the US named Mr. Blue (played by Tim Blake Nelson).
Mr. Blue is attempting to assist him in discovering a cure to his propensity for becoming the Hulk when he gets angry. There is also a scene where Bruce is learning to control his anger and heart rate through a form of meditation.
All this is to say that there was a lot of effort to make Bruce a human being first and the Hulk second. This was effective and made the film interesting because Norton made this person someone worth caring about.
However, the film is pretty standard in the chase and be chased genre with the eventual winner known.
Edward Norton does an excellent job of bringing humanness and thoughtfulness to the Hulk. Liv Tyler is sweet and uninspiring as his girlfriend Betty. William Hurt playing General Ross, Betty’s father, and the person who is the pursuer of the Hulk, phoned it in. There were members of the audience who applauded, as did I, when Lou Ferrigno, as a security guard, showed up on screen.
Overall: This would be a good film to see on video and otherwise save you money.