YMMV / Hulk

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     The Film 
  • The fighter jet attack itself. It comes out of nowhere, is never mentioned again, and contributes very little to plot. Either it is Big-Lipped Alligator Moment or Padding.
  • Betty tells Bruce about a nightmare she had. It begins with a memory of her as a little girl eating ice cream with her father, only for him to have to leave her there when he receives an alarm from his base. Betty panics from being left alone, and a bright green mushroom cloud booms behind her. Then a soldier shows up only to be suddenly revealed to be adult Bruce and strangles her. The end. While there's a flashback of Edith seeing the green mushroom cloud later in the film, everything else is given no explanation.
  • Broken Base: The film did alright with critics but was ultimately a box office bust. It broke even and had a "sequel"/reboot made five years later. It was (in)famous for the Internet Backdraft that accompanied its release, especially when a full cut was leaked for download to much nerd rage. Surprisingly, despite the reboot taking the opposite track both films did almost exactly the same with critics and financially (though the reboot has a far higher Imdb rating), which may be a measure of how popular the character is in the mainstream. Nonetheless, the 2003 film is slowly becoming something of a cult classic in certain circles; whatever else you can say about it, it's certainly not a film people feel neutral about.
  • Cant Unhear It: The voices of Nick Nolte and Sam Elliot for the Father and General Ross seem to make people think of those characters in the voices; especially the latter.
  • Complete Monster: In Peter David's novelization, Dr. David Banner lacks all of his film counterpart's genuinely sympathetic or redeeming traits, replacing them with purely selfish evil. In an attempt to perfect a super soldier serum, Banner tested it on himself, leading to his newborn son Bruce to be infected with a strange disease that comes out in full when the boy is angry. Fascinated by this development, Banner subjects Bruce to a variety of experiments, from emotionally and physically abusing the boy to harvesting his blood for more experiments, all the while lying to his wife that he is trying to cure the child. Once realizing that he has developed a form of care for Bruce, Banner, disgusted that he could ever care for a "freak", amplifies his torment of Bruce, culminating in him trying to stab the boy to death for "ruining his life" after he is fired for his immoral experiments. Once exposed, Banner tries to blow up his entire workplace, uncaring that the explosion could go nuclear and kill countless innocents. After being released from a mental institution decades later, Banner murders several people while tracking down Bruce, and tries to have Bruce's Love Interest Betty ripped to shreds by mutant dogs. Bestowing superpowers upon himself through further experiments, Banner hopes to drain Bruce of his Gamma radiation and life itself, then use his new abilities to become a god and kill all those who slighted him, from those he thinks ruined him to those who simply ticked him off. David Banner is a narcissistic monster who shrugs off his accidental murder of his wife, uses it as a sob story to manipulate others, and treats his own son as a lab rat to be used then discarded at Banner's leisure.
  • Critical Dissonance: It's very interesting to view this in comparison to The Incredible Hulk in how it was received. This film is generally considered long and boring by regular moviegoers, but the critics tended to like it for its focus on character pieces and big ideas over the violence and CGI. The '08 film had a greater amount of fans agreeing with the critics, but some lamented how the new film took away the big ideas to put in more action and typical comics stuff. Besides all of that information, both films did about the same at the box office.
  • Crowning Moment of Funny: Despite the dark tone, the film does have some humor to it. An example is after the Squicky frog scene:
    Bruce: You want to go to the review board on Monday and tell them that we've developed a brand-new method for exploding frogs?
    Betty: Yeah. I think maybe there's a market for it. Frogs start falling from the sky...who do they come to?
    Betty: I'm also aware that saved my life.
    Ross: Yeah, from a mutant French poodle. I'm indebted to him for that.
  • Cult Classic: While it's still panned by a lot of people, it does have its fair share of defenders who praise its dark, psychological approach to Bruce Banner's character and consider it superior to The Incredible Hulk.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: The dark tone can be unsettling for people who are more accustomed to the standard superhero films that became popular in the late 2000s.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Edith Banner, who seems to be the only adult that Bruce looked up to before her tragic death.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Major Talbot, thanks to the fact that he is portrayed by Josh Lucas.
  • Fandom Berserk Button: Has its own page thanks to people who love it or despise it.
  • Fandom Rivalry: With the MCU depiction of Bruce Banner.
  • Faux Symbolism: The movie frequently cuts to closeups of moss. That's right, moss. The only hint we get about it on the DVD Commentary is that moss is green like the Hulk...
  • Friendly Fandoms: With Logan because both have very much in common such as the intense mood and very little humor with a harsh depiction of Marvel comics. Not to mention both films have the same running time.
  • Ham and Cheese: Nick Nolte, particularly during his Humans Are Bastards speech.
    STOP...WHAT?! STOP!! WHAT?!! THINK about all those...MEN out there in their UNIFORMS! BARKING and SWALLOWING ORDERS, inflicting their petty rule of the entire globe! THINK ABOUT ALL THE HARM THEY'VE DONE!! TO YOU! TO ME! TO HUMANITY! And know this, that we can make THEM, and their FLAGS and ANTHEMS and GOVERNMENTS - DISAPPEAR!!! IN A FLASH! You - in me! [...] Then, indeed you shall die...and be REBORN...a hero! OF THE KIND THAT WALKED THE EARTH, LONG BEFORE THE PALE RELIGIONS OF CIVILIZATION, INFECTED HUMANITY'S SOUL!!!
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Bruce said to his father he would rather die than destroy the military.
  • He Really Can Act: Sam Elliott's performance as General Ross has been praised by those who didn't care for the film.
  • "Holy Shit!" Quotient: David Banner's transformation by the end of the film.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Hype Backlash: Many fans were excited to see Marvel's green monster in theaters only to make them disappointed in the more cerebral take.
  • It Was His Sled: David Banner eventually became a cross between Absorbing Man and Zzzax, now it is not worth mentioning.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Even though David Banner has caused many chaos, he regretted some of it and wanted people to care about his work.
  • Love to Hate: David Banner, who doesn't care on experimenting on himself and dogs who is also an almighty elemental.
  • Misaimed Marketing: The movie had TONS of kid-friendly tie-ins such as pudding, ice cream, board games and Hulk Hands to a very angsty and depressing adaptation.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "You wouldn't like me when I'm Ang Lee." A pun on the director.
    • David Banner biting into the cable is quite a popular meme.
  • Moral Event Horizon: David Banner using Bruce as his personal guinea pig for his experiments, and after Ross throws him off the project, triggering a nuclear explosion of the military lab (and it's strongly implied the explosion took many lives, and caused the entire town to be abandoned), and then trying to kill Bruce and accidentally killing his wife instead — all in front of Bruce.
  • Narm:
    But I don't set policy...and I still take orders. ...GR'YAAAAHHH!!! I can't believe Talbot would go around me like this!
  • Nausea Fuel: The unconventional editing can make some people cringe.
  • One-Scene Wonder: As always, Stan Lee.
  • Popularity Polynomial:
    • Even though the film was quickly forgotten, the releases of The Incredible Hulk (another take on the Hulk story that even starts at a similar point in which this film ended) and Logan (another harsh depiction of a Marvel property with intense mood and very little humor) made people give it another try.
    • There were several positive mentions and reviews of it by Christian Frates.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Daniel Dae Kim as a military member.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Many people believed that dark superhero films began with The Dark Knight Trilogy, but this film and the Blade trilogy actually started it years before.
  • Signature Scene:
    • The Hulk grabbing Bruce from the mirror as he says to him, "puny human". It shows a loss of self-control.
    • David Banner biting into the cable and becoming a giant being of electricity.
  • Slow-Paced Beginning: It takes forty minutes for the Hulk to even show up.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • Many fans feel that the Hulk's appearance in this film is very lackluster. Some have even said he looks like a Playstation 2 character.
    • The Hulk Dogs, on the other, hand never had a chance.
    • The aforementioned freeze-frame death of Talbot.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Talbot was seen as interesting compared to his comic book version but was killed by the second half of the film.
  • The Woobie: Bruce Banner had been through so much suffering for thirty years and wondered when it will truly end, even when Betty Ross is around.
  • Too Cool to Live: Again, Talbot.
  • True Art Is Angsty: The dark tone and psychodrama of the movie is part of what makes the film divisive; its defenders tend to strongly feel that these aspects make it a more worthwhile and interesting film when compared to a lot of superhero movies which are more focused on blockbuster action and comedy.
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible: Some viewers were quite confused from the more artistic views compared to other comic book films.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • Hulk's green CGI skin was completely opaque, which unsettled a lot of people.
    • The gamma dogs can make some cringe.
  • Uncertain Audience: Ultimately the film's downfall. It was a movie that was too artsy and somber for your typical superhero audience, and yet the fact that it was about a superhero in the first place alienated serious viewers who might have otherwise been interested in the more cerebral and artistic merits of the film.
  • Unexpected Character: In this case, unexpected transformation for David.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: David Banner had tons of hints for being sympathetic.
  • Vindicated by History: A unique example. The film's still got a bad rating in IMDB (usually only around 6), but many hardcore comic book fans and amateur movie critics have started to praise the movie's good qualities aside from the score (such as the movie's analogy on Hulk's virtually unlimited strength in the last action scene, where Bruce defeated his father by releasing a very large amount of gamma energy, turning him into a large bubble). The movement has been there since at least 2006.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The editing style is beyond magnificent and unique.
  • Wangst: One of the film's criticisms was that there was too much of this and not enough smashing.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Given the film's subject matter and dark themes, it is quite surprising that it got a mere PG-13 and is equally intense as Logan.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?:
    • Among other things, the nuclear explosion associated with the classic Hulk origin is alluded to by the nuclear self-destruct going off when David kills Bruce's mother in front of him — the moment the Hulk was truly born.
    • The toy dog in the prologue represents happy memories while the gamma dogs represent the intense revelations of what truly happened.
    • The ending also involves the the four classical elements, earth, air, fire, water. The absorbing man transforms into an electrical being and fights the Hulk in the form of a thunderstorm (air), then melds with a mountain (earth), and then turns into a watery being in the nearby lake (water). The Hulk, as a source of energy and heat in that scene, with a green fiery aura at one point, would identify with fire.

     The Game