Director: Louis Leterrier
Original Release: 2008
My Overall Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Hulk is The Avengers' tortured soul and at least potentially the gang's most interesting character. Banner doesn't want his powers at all but as long as he has them, would want them used for good. The Hulk, however, while inhabiting Banner's body, exists on the fine line between his host's ability and inability to control him. I like the Hulk/Banner conflict we see in this film. The Betty character is crucial to making it work. He can't make love to her as Banner for fear the excitement will spark his transformation. As Hulk, only Betty seems able to bring out the gentle giant within him. Black Widow has taken on this role in later films.
I realize not everyone likes Norton, the Marvel filmmakers included, apparently, as they gave the part to Mark Ruffalo in The Avengers and beyond. I've always been a fan of Norton, ever since his astonishing 1996 film debut in Primal Fear. His looks fall short of the traditional leading man but his range is always impressive. He's been nominated for Oscars three times and an eventual win seems inevitable once the right part comes along. I like him as Banner.