By the time the Incredible Hulk bellows his signature "Hulk Smash!" in-your-face taunt to the Abomination, he's already done quite a bit of it in director Louis Leterrier's successful return to the comic book and television roots that made the rampaging, green (with purple pants), behemoth a colorfully melodramatic composition of frenzied destruction and pathos--a superhero more a reluctant monster doing good by accident rather than a skillful, caped-crusader fighting evil by design.
Writers Zak Penn and Edward Harrison (actor Edward Norton's pseudonym), reboot the Hulk's origin, distancing it from Ang Lee's failed attempt at the franchise in 2003. In the succinct opening credits montage, which uses the same gamma ray infusion device first seen in the 1970's television series, The Incredible Hulk, flashbacks show the disastrous results of the failed experiment leaving Dr. Banner (Edward Norton) prone to hissy fits on a giant scale. Lou Ferrigno, television's Hulk, puts in a cameo appearance, reinforcing the thematic connection to that series. There is also a nod to Bill Bixby, who starred as Dr. Banner, through a snippet of his The Courtship of Eddie's Father, playing on a television set.
In this second, more energetic, attempt to launch the movie franchise, Banner is on the run in Brazil, laying low from the U.S. military while searching for a cure to the raging spirit within him. This transition from Ang Lee's more introspective approach lessens the relationship-heavy storyline and heaps on the throw a tantrum, whoop-ass Hulk transformations. With smashing moments strung end to end, briefly bridged with poignant ones showing how unfortunate his condition can be--he cannot make love because too much excitement would you-know-what--this movie is less character-complex and talkative than Ang's, opening the landscape wide for plowing with carnage aplenty; exactly what the perfect, breezy summertime movie is all about: simplicity, much action, and pour on the butter.