Story

The Incredible Hulk is a new version of the story based on the comic strip character of the same name. An eminent scientist Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) is experimenting with gamma radiation. He is doing this with the assistance of General Thaddeus ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross (William Hurt) from the US Army. Bruce doesn’t know that the General does not intend to use his work to help mankind. Instead, he wants to create super soldiers.

The movie opens with Bruce becoming irradiated and transforming into the Hulk. His girlfriend Elizabeth Ross (Liv Tyler), who is the general’s daughter, is watching. He smashes everything in his path and escapes. General Ross is desperate to get him back and use the irradiation process to further his super soldier dreams. he has Bruce listed as a fugitive.

Bruce spends the next five years on the run. He eventually ends up in a bottle factory in Brazil. During this time, he is both seeking a cure for his condition and also learning to control his emotions. It is only during times of great emotional stress that he turns into the Hulk.

Ultimately the General tracks him down and sends a group of armed personnel to Brazil to capture him. In this group is a particularly nasty and single minded assassin, Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth). The army finds Bruce, who turns into the Hulk and fights them off. He heads back to his old university to find the data on his experiment so that he can find a possible cure. In the meantime, the General works to make Blonsky more powerful in the hope that he can defeat the Hulk. This backfires. In the end it is up to the Hulk to defeat the Abomination, the monster that the assassin has become.

Themes

Superheroes; medical experimentation

Violence

Overall the tone of this film is violent. There are scenes involving the Hulk and others in super-hero style violence. There are also more realistic scenes where people are injured and blood is shown. For example:

  • When Bruce first becomes the Hulk, he smashes up the laboratory.
  • Some local thugs attack Bruce, smash him against a metal cage, and punch and hit him.
  • The thugs are shot by the army and also attacked by the Hulk.
  • Bruce becomes the Hulk and battles the army. This scene involves shooting and the Hulk throwing men against trees, smashing up trucks and so on.
  • Once the assassin is given biological enhancers, he becomes a grotesque and scary monster, the Abomination. He smashes everything in his path.
  • The final battle between the Hulk and the Abomination includes particularly graphic computer-generated violence.

Content that may disturb children

Under 8

Children in this age group would find most of the movie scary. It includes loud sounds and many scary images. In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, the movie includes scenes that could scare or disturb children under the age of eight. For example:

  • When Bruce becomes the Hulk, he transforms from a friendly and pleasant looking man into an angry green monster.
  • Scientists use large and scary needles to inject the assassin, Blonsky, with biological enhancers.
  • Blonsky becomes a scary and grotesque monster, the Abomination. 

From 8-13

Many children in this age group will also find scenes in this movie frightening. Older children in this group might be less disturbed by the computer-generated images of the Hulk and Blonsky. But they could be more upset by more realistic scenes of scientific experiments and people being killed or wounded. 

Over 13

Children in this age group might also be disturbed by scenes of medical experiments and people being killed and injured.

Sexual references

None of concern 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including cigar smoking and alcohol. 

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie. For example, in one scene Bruce and Elizabeth kiss passionately and end up lying on a bed. 

Product placement

None of concern 

Coarse language 

This movie includes some coarse language.

Ideas to discuss with your children

The Incredible Hulk is a violent superhero movie suited to older adolescents and adults. The main messages from this movie are that tampering with nature can seriously backfire, particularly when your aim is to create something that will harm people. And also violence is not the solution to conflict. When you try to fight violence with violence, conflict escalates.