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Movie Review: The Incredible Hulk

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Author/Source: Darlene R. Kelley

Topic: Movie Review

A review of The Incredible Hulk, including description of the movie, areas of concern, teachable themes, discussion questions, and scriptures to use.

Movie Review: <i>The Incredible Hulk</i>

Overview

Was this The Incredible Hulk or was it not? If there were ever an extreme makeover, this 2008 version of the movie qualifies as such – not only a new cast, but also a completely different spin on the Hulk that we have known in years past (as in 2003's film, Hulk). There are also several nostalgic references to older versions of the Hulk. Movie makers even include a brief appearance by Lou Ferrigno. But this definitely felt like a completely different movie, not just a sequel.

Bruce Banner, a brilliant scientist, who participated in an experiment gone bad, is seen in Brazil attempting through the use of science, breathing exercises/Yoga techniques, constant heart rate monitoring, and communication with Mr. Blue – a scientist whom he hopes will help him, to find a cure for the effects of gamma radiation on his system. This experiment causes him to transform into something completely unstoppable when he becomes angry.

The Incredible Hulk opens with Bruce stating "I've been alone for a long time, not because I want to be, but because until I solve this problem I have to be," and we are introduced to a guy who is simply trying to find an antidote for his problem and so far so good. 158 days without an episode is not bad.

Unfortunately the military catches up to him and tries to capture him for evil purposes rather than for good. General Ross has this secret desire to use power for evil and will stop at nothing to accomplish his mission. All throughout the movie, with each action packed scene, I could not help but notice that though it was obvious that The Incredible Hulk was a bullet repelling machine, still the military insisted on bringing out their best artillery as bullets constantly bounced off of this big green thing. How long does it take to quit trying to destroy what is indestructible? General Ross and his army begin a pursuit of this unstoppable force that results in even more evil and destruction.

Ultimately, Banner has a face-to-face encounter with Mr. Blue who attempts to cure him, with no promises of a cure, but a hope that the problem would at the very least be suppressed.

Scientist Samuel Sterns, aka Mr. Blue's experiment is a success until General Ross' experiment on Emil Blonsky begins to wreak havoc in a display of evil power that seems to never end. It is then that Banner attempts becoming "Incredible" once again in order to participate in this final battle – a battle that is quite lengthy. Of course The Incredible Hulk triumphs over this "abomination" and brings things to an end – so we think.


Concerns

There was no surprise that this movie was filled with a ton of violence, and in my opinion way too much for young children. There was also an intimate scene between Betty Ross and Bruce Banner that was clearly leading to sex. Of course they never actually do anything because of what it would trigger in Banner. They were fully clothed, but still kids know what's going on and this was confirmed by some of the giggles, etc. heard from kids who were present in the movie theater.


Teachable Themes

The Incredible Hulk is filled with many teachable themes and I certainly cannot mention them all, but here are a few based on quotes within the movie as well as overarching concepts/scenes:

  • Isolation Doesn't Solve Problems/We Need Others
    The movie starts out with Bruce in seclusion and opens with him stating "I've been alone for a long time, not because I want to, but because until I solve this problem I have to be." Ultimately it is discovered that the possibility of finding help is connected to friendships with Ross and Stern.

  • Anger Management/God Can Help Us Respond Appropriately When We Are Angry
    "I don't want to control it, I want to get rid of it." Bruce recognizes his anger as a problem and doesn't want to simple keep it under control but rid himself of it completely. Even when he thinks he's cured, circumstances arise that make it clear that his anger was only suppressed. Also noteworthy is Ross' ability to sooth and calm him even during his times of rage and anger.

  • Transformation: The Not So Ordinary Ordinary
    Though I wouldn't encourage turning green with anger as a positive transformation, it's worth noting that on the surface, Bruce seemed like just an ordinary, everyday guy who didn't seem all that strong or powerful, but it was only on the surface and others who messed with him soon discovered that he was stronger than he appeared.

  • Righteous Anger vs. Unrighteous Anger
    In the final battle, The Hulk is not only fighting because someone made him angry. He discovers that things have gotten out of control with the monster that General Ross has created and that if allowed to continue he would use Banner's blood for evil purposes rather than for good. He decides to become "Incredible" for the purpose of stopping evil.

Biblical References

  • Isolation Doesn't Solve Problems/We Need Others:
    • 1 Corinthians 12:21-22 - The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the foot, "I don't need you!" No! Those parts of the body that seem to be the weaker are really necessary."

      [Also, look up all of the "one another" and "each other" statements in the New Testament]

  • Anger Management/God Can Help Us Respond Appropriately When We Are Angry:
    • Ephesians 4:26–27 - "When you are angry, do not sin, and be sure to stop being angry before the end of the day.Do not give the devil a way to defeat you."

    • Romans 7:15 - "I do not understand the things I do. I do not do what I want to do, and I do the things I hate."

    • Romans 7-8

    • Galatians 5

    • Proverbs 15:1 - "A gentle answer will calm a person's anger, but an unkind answer will cause more anger."

    • Romans 12:21 - "Do not let evil defeat you, but defeat evil by doing good"

      [See also Psalm 37:8]

  • Transformation: The Not So Ordinary Ordinary:
    • 1 Samuel 16:7b - "God does not see the same way people see. People look at the outside of a person, but the LORD looks at the heart."

    • Jeremiah 17: 9–10 - "A human heart is more dishonest than anything else.It can't be healed. Who can understand it? The Lord says, "I look deep down inside human hearts. I see what is in people's minds."

  • Righteous Anger vs. Unrighteous Anger:
    • Mark 11:15–17 - "On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, "Is it not written: "'My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations'? But you have made it a den of robbers."
  • Ecclesiastes 3:1–8


Discussion Questions

  • Isolation Doesn't Solve Problems/We Need Others:
    1. What are some of the ways you've been helped by others when you face problems
    2. Why is it better to have friends to support us than it is to try to handle everything by ourselves?

  • Anger Management/God Can Help Us Respond Appropriately When We Are Angry:
    1. What makes you angry?
    2. How do you respond when you get angry?
    3. What could you do instead of lashing out/destroying stuff when you get angry?

  • Transformation: The Not So Ordinary Ordinary:
    1. What are some things that are true about you that others may not notice just by looking at you?
    2. When have you been able to help others see who you really are and how do people respond?

  • Righteous Anger vs. Unrighteous Anger:
    1. Is it ever OK to get angry?
    2. When is it OK to get angry?
    3. Does God get angry? How about Jesus?
    4. How can you tell the difference between good anger and bad anger?

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