I caught up on some summer movies this weekend with Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk. If it wasn't for The Dark Knight, Iron Man would be the best comic book movie of the year. We're introduced early on to the playboy billionaire side of Tony Stark watch him become Iron Man. Robert Downey, Jr. does a tremendous job showing the transformation from vain businessman to hero. You also get the sense of wonder and excitement as Stark takes his first Iron Man steps.
While The Incredible Hulk was enjoyable, it's not in the same league as Iron Man. Bruce Banner starts out in Brazil, working on controlling his temper and communicating with "Mr. Blue" to try to find a cure. General Ross (his former boss) tracks him down and after a great chase, Banner returns to America to continue his quest. Banner manages to fly under the radar for the most part, but ends up in a bare knuckles fist fight with Abomination to save New York City.
I think Hulk fails for exactly the same reason Iron Man succeeds. In IM, we get to know Tony Stark and connect emotionally with him on his journey. The journey in Hulk is to find a cure, but we get the sense that Banner has already resigned himself to being a green monster for the rest of his life. I'm not ragging on Ed Norton (who is one of my favorite actors), but we never seem to get inside Banner's head.
Still, I recommend giving both of them a shot. If you can only see one, I suggest Iron Man first.