Now if there's one thing I tend to do is bottle these up and release it when there's a lot more of it stored up. Due to this tendency I've had a soft spot for the Hulk ever since I got in comics earlier this decade.
In fact it was this issue of the Ultimates, the one where the Hulk comes out in style to do battle with the Ultimates, that was my first comic purchase. Until than I'd been borrowing my friends copies of things to read. It is still among my favourite single issues of any book, and definitely my favourite Ultimates issue.
So great was my love of this issue, and Ultimate Hulk that I did something I've never done for any other Marvel character. I actually picked up regular Marvel Hulk for a while... Even more surprising I enjoyed it for that while (till the last few issues).
So how did The Incredible Hulk pan up to my expectations
Well in one word it SMASHED all my doubts.
This movie was so much better than the last Hulk movie.
At the same time it had a few things I wasn't crazy about. To be honest I liked Eric Banna as Bruce Banner a lot more than Ed Norton. Don't get me wrong Norton does fine in the role, and is watchable. I just liked Banna more (partially because he can act and be different in movies unlike Norton).
Otherwise the movie was spot on what it needed to be!
The part I enjoyed the most was how his origin mixed elements from most of the Hulk's incarnations. They had bits from the 60's comic, 80's TV show (actually there was a TON of hat tips to the show throughout the movie if you missed them), and most important the mission statement of the Ultimate verse.
In the Ultimate universe of Marvel 90% of heroes (and many villains) owe their creation and origin causing events to a Super-Human research and development. I'm really digging the way these new Marvel Studio movies are grabbing key Ultimate concepts, and building their Avengers along the same lines as the Ultimates (who are of course the Ultimate Avengers, just Mark Miller thought Avengers was a dumb name for the team as their not "avenging" anything).
Liv Tyler as Betty Ross was much better than I expected. In fact she comes across as rather intelligent which I didn't think she could do.
William Hurt as General Ross was the number one human highlight of the movie. He struck the balance that made Ross a great villain, but one we couldn't quite hate.
The Hulk though takes the cake as the best thing about the movie. Which is the way it should be. Sadly in the last Hulk motion picture the Hulk took a background role. This movie he has plenty of fights, and their extremely satisfying!
The end fight is everything I love in a fight. It also has the my favourite use of a Comic characters catch phrase in a movie for "HULK SMASH!". I won't ruin it for you, just go see it!
Tony Stark coming to General Ross at the end about the Avengers wrapped it up nicely, and definitely has me excited for Avengers, as I think it'll start off with the Avengers trying to take down the Hulk just like Ultimates #5.
Stark's appearance does require one to quickly compare his movie to Hulk's. Sadly I have to say that Iron Man was still a bit better. I'd say the key reason is that Bruce Banner just isn't as fun to watch as Stark. Especially given the casting difference too. Ed Norton is Ed Norton (sadly in 2005 I was forced to watch EVERY Norton movie made up until that point by my roommates) you're not getting anything too interesting. Downey on the other hand was too much fun to watch.
My finally thought is related to the future Hulk villain they set up in the Abomination's creation. The funny part was Mr. Blue was taken directly from the regular Hulk I was reading in 2003 so this movie was tailored very heavily from ALL the Hulk I'd read. However as clearly their setting up the Leader, the next Hulk movie enters territory of the character I hardly know (the only Leader story I read was so bad that it caused me to dump reading regular Hulk).