The motion picture Daredevil (2003) was not the first Daredevil movie. With the amount of screen time devoted to Matt Murdock and his alter ego, The Trial of the Incredible Hulk (1989) can rightly be called a Daredevil movie as well.
The Trial of the Incredible Hulk was (I believe) the second of the three Reunion movies based on the television series The Incredible Hulk from 1977 until 1982. I remember watching this show on TV as a kid and I liking it quite a bit. While I will never understand why David Banner’s pants turn purple during a “Hulk out,” only to return to the color they were before when it’s all over, the show wasn’t all that bad.
The Trial of the Incredible Hulk is obviously a made for TV movie, and has many of the flaws that one might expect. It’s low-budget, very family friendly (not that that is necessarily a bad thing), and – let’s be fair here – quite cheesy.
In this movie, we find David Banner wandering aimlessly, trying to run away from his past and his dark side. He ends up in the big city where he finds himself in a bit of legal trouble after hulking out on the subway. This while defending a woman from being harassed by a couple of the Kingpin’s men on their way home from robbing a jewelry store. David is found lost and confused in a tunnel and is arrested for the assault of the woman, as well as the murder of an innocent man killed in the cross-fire.
Meanwhile, we have been introduced to blind attorney Matt Murdock who now apparently lives in Vancouver (!). He’s not surrounded by any member of his supporting cast from the comic, but instead has a female partner in Christa Klein. The two of them are ably assisted by their secretary Al, an ex-army guy. Of course, Matt Murdock ends up taking David Banner’s case, in part because of the link to the Kingpin. That’s about all I’m going to say, in case anyone is looking to dig up this flick and watch it.
This is actually a rather enjoyable movie, if one goes into it knowing what to expect. It is not a cinematic masterpiece. Daredevil’s costume is an unrecognizable black spandex suit, (which doesn’t have horns but comes with a nice pair of suspenders…). As a fan of the comic, I not only miss the classic Daredevil look, but the wonderful Matt-Foggy interaction as well. Still, it is worth watching for the eighties nostalgia and the feel-good ending.
Another thing to know about this movie is that the case never goes to trial. Yes, despite the name of the movie, there is no “trial of the Incredible Hulk.” Another spoiler perhaps, but let’s just say that the two heroes find justice in other ways.
Below is an embedded YouTube clip and a link to a thread discussing this movie on the Fans Without Fear message board. This clip from The Trial of The Incredible Hulk can also be viewed on YouTube.