The Incredible Hulk Returns

by Alan Rapp on May 11, 2021

in Television Reviews 

  • Title: The Incredible Hulk Returns
  • IMDb: link

The Incredible Hulk Returns review

Throwback Tuesday takes us back to the wanderings of the presumed dead scientist Dr. David Bruce Banner (Bill Bixby) and the savage creature within him known as the Hulk (Lou Ferrigno). Made six years after The Incredible Hulk concluded with David still haunted by his angry alter-ego, the first of three television movies gives us the scientist working on a a Gamma Transponder under an assumed name at the Joshua-Lambert Research Institute which he believes will offer him a cure and a chance at a normal life with Dr. Maggie Shaw (Lee Purcell). However, bad guys intent on stealing the technology and the unexpected appearance of an old student (Steve Levitt) and his power new friend Thor (Eric Allan Kramer) ruin any chance for normalcy.

Produced on a modest television budget, The Incredible Hulk Returns certainly doesn’t measure up to the larger big-budget films Marvel would begin producing two decades later. Meant as a backdoor pilot for a Thor series, the episode spends as much time with Donald Blake (Levitt) and Thor as it does with David. The version of Thor is certainly powered down from the character seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and is more Viking than Norse god, though he does manage to wreak havoc (and provide the funniest moment of the movie attempting to pass himself off as Banner).

Despite the success of the TV-movie, the Thor series never materialized. However, Bixby (who also produced here) would appear in two more Hulk TV-movies prior to his prior to his death in 1993. The Incredible Hulk Returns also marks the final appearance of Jack Colvin as reporter Jack McGee who comes out of retirement to chase another Hulk story one last time. Suffering a stroke shortly after the TV-movie, Colvin would retire from acting and would not return in either of the other two TV-movies. Fans of the show can certainly still enjoy it, even with the lackluster version of Thor and effects that haven’t aged all that well. It has been released on DVD combined with The Trial of the Incredible Hulk and can also sometimes be found on various streaming services.

Previous post:

Next post: