The Incredible Hulk Returns (1988)

7.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Good to have the Hulk back after a break, Thor

Still a bit cheesy like parts of the TV series

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Incredible Hulk Returns

Studio:  NBC

Genre(s):  Comic Book/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  May 22, 1988

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated


I’m Back!

David Banner (Bill Bixby) is on a verge of a breakthrough that could end his fears of ever being the Hulk (Lou Ferrigno) again.  Banner has established a new life and has a new love in Maggie Shaw (Lee Purcell).  When an old student named Donald Blake (Steve Levitt) arrives with a magical hammer he found on a mountain exploration, David’s beast is released again in battle against Thor (Eric Allan Kramer).  Thor and Hulk are forced to team up when a crooked business deal breaks down and Maggie is kidnapped by Mike Fouche (Charles Napier) and Jack LeBeau (Tim Thomerson).  Banner’s problems are compounded when his old nemesis Jack McGee (Jack Colvin) comes searching for the Hulk.


Thor…It’s totally on!

The Incredible Hulk Returns was directed by Nicholas Corea (and an uncredited Bill Bixby).  It brought back the popular character in a TV movie which aired on May 22, 1988 on NBC.  It has been released on DVD with a double feature with The Trial of the Incredible Hulk which followed it in 1989.

The movie was the start of a series of TV movies which sought to bring some resolution to the television series which ended in 1982 with no conclusion.  The movie brought back Jack McGee who unfortunately never appeared in another film so his quest for the truth about Bruce Banner was never answered.


It’s a Marvel Two-In-One!

Obviously the big deal about this movie was the first appearance of another Marvel character in an Incredible Hulk movie.  Thor appears pretty quickly in the film as a conjuring of Donald Blake (instead of becoming Donald Blake like in the comic).  The Incredible Hulk Returns had a double purpose as a possible pilot for a Thor spin-off series.  It spends a lot of time with Thor and Blake as a result.  Thor is ok, and his interaction with Blake had some potential, but it would have been a hard sell for audiences.

The Incredible Hulk Returns is a fun movie for people who were fans of the series.  It is also fun to look back on now that a big screen Thor has shown up (in 1988 that seemed virtually impossible).  The Incredible Hulk Returns was followed by The Trial of the Incredible Hulk in 1989 which featured the live-action premiere of Daredevil.

Related Links:

The Incredible Hulk—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

The Trial of the Incredible Hulk (1989)

The Death of the Incredible Hulk (1990)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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