The first Hulk movie is unique amongst comic book movies in that it was directed by an Academy Award winning director. Yep, Ang Lee, twice best director winner took the reigns for this film in 2003 and for me that makes it a very special movie, despite its flaws, because I am a big fan of his work and obviously a massive Hulk fan. In 2003, Ang Lee was a big name in movie circles, following his seminal Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Following on from the hugely successful original X Men and Spiderman movies, hopes were high for that is arguably Marvel's most popular and iconic character, the Hulk. Here I declare an interest. In the 1970s, as a child, my devoutly Christian parents for reasons only known to themselves banned me from watching the original Hulk TV series. I have no idea why Hulk was barred when Wonder Woman was ok, but as you can imagine as a child I rebelled against this ban and the Hulk quickly became a massive favourite of mine. This love for the character has remained to this day and although I don't really have an out and out favourite character (Batman, Spiderman, Hulk, Superman, I love them all), I would say the Hulk is probably my favourite more often than not! Anyway, the Hulk movie. Ang Lee movies are never conventional and he served up 2 hours 12 minutes of art house comic book film, with ground breaking effects, as this was the first time the main character would be played out in CGI! The cast also included Oscar winner Jennifer Connelly, aussie ex comedian Eric Bana as Bruce Banner and Sam Elliott as General Ross. The film was neither a commercial or a critical success, but personally I love it, as it is so different from the other Marvel films. Why do I like it? Well it plays out the greek tragedy element of the Hulk story so well, for a start. Secondly, Ang Lee's version of the Hulk actually got bigger, as he got angrier, which I thought was pretty cool, even if it was a departure from the comic. He was also really, really big at about 10 feet tall!! The battle scenes in the grand canyon were epic and showed Hulk at his best. He was really fast, running at incredible speed, leaping for miles in one bound and able to deflect bullets with his hands. He was also properly strong, throwing a tank hundreds of yards away. Something that couldn't be said about the 2008 movie Incredible Hulk who was frankly disappointing in the power stakes! Indeed although it took some time to get going, there was a huge long part of the film which was basically Hulk smashing, jumping and raging against Ross's tanks, choppers and jets. In these scenes Lee took great pains to show the intelligence and cunning of the Hulk. He was certainly no brute, showing skill earlier in the movie when battling the four gamma powered dogs and then again, in using more than sheer brute force to dodge rockets, outrun helicopter gun ships and even save an out of control fighter jet from hitting the Golden Gate Bridge. Some of the best action scenes from any Marvel film actually. The flash backs with Bruce Banner's mum and Dad made for a poignant tale and the climax with the absorbing man enemy showed that the Hulk can take anything thrown at him. For me, it was special, being able to see the Hulk on the big screen for the first time and this film paved the away for other CGI characters in movies. Watching it again yesterday, although some of the camera work looks a little dated, I think it holds up pretty well for a 12 year old film. So, although the Ruffalo Hulk is undoubtedly the best Hulk portrayal to date, I save a big soft spot in my heart for the original Hulk movie. Its perhaps no coincidence that one of my other favourite Marvel films is the original Thor movie, which again tried to be different and was directed by another notable legend who doesn't normally go for the comic book movies, Kenneth Brannagh!