YMMV / The Incredible Hulk

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    TV Series 
  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: As a drifter, David is able to get all sorts of jobs that don't require references. Some of these are more questionable than others. In The '70s and The '80s, there was no digital footprint technology or advanced forensics. So a person could more plausibly travel off the grid incognito. However, in The Incredible Hulk Returns, he appears to be gainfully employed as a scientist at a research lab, albeit under another alias. As to how he was able to demonstrate his credentials without referring to his past work under his true identity....
  • Award Snub: Averted in the two parter "Bride of the Incredible Hulk". Mariette Hartley won a well deserved Emmy Award for her role as Dr. Carolyn Fields. This is one a rare early instance of a Science Fiction or Fantasy adventure series winning an Emmy for performance, direction, or writing. Most genre series, despite their best efforts, tend to be stuck winning Emmys solely for technical aspects such as Special Effects.
  • Awesome Music: "The Lonely Man", both the solo piano piece and an uptempo version which plays during the opening credits.
    • David's transformation into the Hulk is rich with flavorful musical sound effects, always starting with a screeching Scare Chord and followed up by etheral humming noises, and the sound of his clothes ripping apart. Then there's the transformation cooldown where the Hulk reverts back to being David, which is just the humming sounds all by themselves.
    • The various incidental music tracks for the Hulk. He has one for when the transformation completes full of trumpets, another with tense violin music for when he's involved in an action sequence, and another for when he runs away with troubled-sounding and melancholic piano notes.
  • Anvilicious: Quite a few episodes had An Aesop that was delivered with the force of a Hulk punch.
  • Complete Monster: Michael Sutton, from season 3's "The Snare", became bored with hunting animals, and so decided to start Hunting the Most Dangerous Game. He finds whatever men he can and invites them over to his own island, only to drug them to sleep and put them through deadly obstacles as he hunts them down, succeeding at least 5 times, and seeing it all as a "game"; he intends to do the same to David Banner. It's implied that the reason he's so successful is because he doesn't play fair, a fact David calls him out on, insisting that a real hunter plays fair and that all Sutton cares about is winning. When Sutton discovers David's inner beast, he becomes obsessed with it and tortures David with the intent of bringing it out and killing it, only to kill himself by accident. At the end of the episode, it turns out even in death Sutton can't stand losing, as it's revealed he Booby Trapped David's escape boat in preparation for the hero's victory. Ruthless, psychotic, and a cheater at his own game, Michael Sutton was unlike any other villain on the show, who were motivated by either tragedy or simple financial gain.
  • Designated Villain: Jack McGee sometimes comes across as this. Sure, he can be a jerk, but he's regularly treated like a scumbag when he usually he just wants to tell the public the truth about a destructive monster who (as far as he knows) killed 2 people. It because he works for a scummy tabloid that no one likes him, because no matter how many times he tries to pass himself off as an upstanding person, he will always come off as a nosy reporter working under a shill for selfish monetary gain at the expense of others and a proponent of slander.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight
    • Word of God explained that he wanted to change Hulk to red, but Stan Lee denied the permission. Years later in the comics, The Red Hulk became an actual character separate from the green Hulk.
    • Mix between hilarious and harsher- one of the going ideas behind the name change was that "Bruce" sounded too gay/effeminate, which ended up backfiring when Bruce Jenner became a top Olympic athlete. Cue now when Bruce, or rather Caitlyn Jenner has undergone gender reassignment surgery.
  • Memetic Mutation
    • "Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry". More often than not, it's followed up by "I don't like you now".
    • "The Lonely Man" has become go-to background music for underscoring over-the-top despair played for laughs.
  • Narm: Any time a scene with the Hulk has bystanders speaking, the dialogue is added post-production because the Hulk is constantly subjected to Overcrank for dramatic effect and the limitations of the film and recording equipment at the time made it difficult to perfect the timing of speaking parts without the slow-motion sequences distorting the audio captures, so the vocal audio parts (aside from Lou Ferrigno's Hulk noises) were recorded separately on a sound stage. Because none of the vocal performances are live, they always sound so fake and shoehorned in, like a crummy Godzilla dub, with the tones and delivery of the lines never meshing cleanly with the scenes of the Hulk. Worse, a lot of the time, the dialogue would be thrown in while the characters were off-screen, making it painfully obvious they couldn't lip-sync any of the sound bytes, or even sound like they're in the same place as the Hulk (characters from afar sound too loud for it to sound believable and like they're blurting their lines out or just plain shouting into the mics).
    • The Hulk never hits or kicks anyone outright. He just throws them aside. Though it's probably because David is influencing the Hulk not to directly harm anybody in this incarnation of the Hulk (while others are more freely berserk), one can determine from consecutive viewings of the show that it's because standards wouldn't allow it. The one time the Hulk got close to inflicting real harm on people is when David accidentally uncorked the dark side of his personality and all his repressed primal urges for violence bled out in the Hulk's transformation, in the titular episode, "Dark Side".
    • The very fact that Dr. Banner in this series had his first name changed to "David" because someone thought "Bruce" sounded gay/effeminate.
    • The Hulk always taking a moment to pull off the tatters of David's now-ripped shirt following his transformation.
    • Knowing that David will transform into the Hulk at least twice per episode in obligatory fashion (provided the episode doesn't deviate from the usual formula, and that some Contrived Coincidence will cause him to suffer injury to trigger the transformation, and leave him conveniently unobserved/concealed so his identity is never exposed.
    • Just about every person of the week has a melodramatic sob story attached to them and a reason to whine about why their life sucks eggs, just so David can rebuild their confidence in humanity by the end of the episode. If it's a child or a young woman, chances are they'll come from a broken home with a single parent just to play up the sympathy card. And most times, the father will stereotypically be the reason behind the broken family, because men lack the compassion women and children do.
    • Any time David goes someplace new, he will be subjected to outsider persecution syndrome- someone will automatically refuse to trust him, peg him as dangerous, and instantly want to throw David under the bus the minute they have an excuse to do so, and/or finger David as the source of conflict.
    • David constantly using an alias that takes the form of David B-whatever. The only reason he keeps getting away with it is because the series took place in The '70s, which predated the age of integrated computers, and most records were still kept in paper and had no through-line in the form of the modern Internet to tie them all together. Yet, it's so paper-thin that if the story were set in today's computerized age, where records can be tied together, he'd be tracked down quite easily because all someone would have to do is ping all the occurrences of those symmetrical David B-whatever aliases across job employment databases in the contiguous United States, organize them by date, and then they could triangulate his movements across the country, anticipate his next move and ambush him, and the fugitive saga would be over in a heartbeat.
    • From The Incredible Hulk Returns:
    Donald Blake raising the Mjolnir hammer (his usual method of summoning Thor): "Odiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin!"
  • Anvilicious: David could sure preach. Especially when it was time to get a character to stop feeling sorry for themselves. But then again, this is Bill Bixby who was like that in every series he's in. And this was television of The '70s.
    • Season 3 had a lot of inexplicable cheesy humor injected into the stories, sometimes working against their otherwise unrelentingly serious tone in a bad way, such as the Hulk being attracted to a green store mannequin in an otherwise tension-filled standoff between criminals who wanted to raid a mall vault. Probably a result of the following:
  • Nightmare Fuel: The series has been described as most frightening TV series ever for young children, with its focus on radical change into a creature making animal-like sounds. Word is that Bill Bixby wouldn't even allow his children to watch the show for various reasons as he was afraid it would terrify them. An episode of Mr Rogers Neighborhood would later go behind the scenes of the show to reveal the actors and makeup process, in hopes of making children less afraid of the transformation.
  • Non-Indicative Title: Trial of the Incredible Hulk The trial scene is a dream sequence
  • Special Effect Failure: The green shoes Lou Ferrigno often wore in outdoor scenes, for obvious safety reasons, had a habit of being plainly visible in many episodes. (Particularly "Terror in Times Square" — Ferrigno joked that even the Hulk wouldn't go barefoot in Times Square in the '70s.)
    • Mrs. Maier from the pilot episode was burned in the face trying to rescue her son, but the burn mark is very clearly makeup. Of course, this could have been intentional for censorship purposes.
  • The Woobie: Of all the characters who fit this, it's David FREAKIN' Banner. At young age, he loses his mother. He loses both of his wives, one by car accident and the other by disease. And how does the series ultimately end? He dies at the end of the series finale. Worse is that his remaining family will have to learn about it.

    The Animated Series 
  • Awesome Music: The theme is honestly one of the best themes for the character, given how it evokes the drama, the rage and the darkness that is the Hulk.
  • Funny Moments: It has a number of them, for such a dark show:
    • When the Leader prepares to take the Hulk's power for himself, he orders Gargoyle to complete the apparatus needed to siphon the Hulk's power. We later see that he was playing Breakout on it, having presumably installed it out of boredom.
    • The "savage" Hulk after leaping out of a remotely detonated explosive by Doctor Doom, reacts to his (well, Banner's) cellphone ringing in his pocket. While it seems the She-Hulk is calling Bruce to see how he is, Hulk assumes the phone ringing means that it's about to explode, so he throws it far away.
  • Heartwarming Moments: The end of "They Call Me Mr Fixit", when Allure feels sorry for herself because she has lost everything she had, and the Absorbing Man tells her that she has not lost him:
    Allure: I can't believe I lost it all. I have nothing left. I'm a nobody!
    Creel: No, don't you see, Allure? You are somebody...to me. Powers or not, I'm here for ya.
    (They kiss)
    Allure: Turn that kiss into gold, and we just might have something.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Possible copyright disputes led to SHIELD in this series being represented not by Nick Fury, but one of his old comrades from the Howling Commandos, Gabe Jones. (Audiences in The New '10s will know him as the black dude in Captain America: The First Avenger.) This was well before Ultimate Marvel really did turn Nick Fury into a black dude. And just to seal the deal, this Gabe Jones had a full head of hair with white streaks, which was precisely how black Nick Fury appeared in The Super Hero Squad Show, Wolverine and the X-Men, Iron Man: Armored Adventures, and Season One of The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!.
    • The episode "Mind Over Anti-Matter" provides two examples.
      • In Bruce's fantasies, one of the alternate versions of Bruce Banner appears to be Spider-Man with inverted colors. Years after this show came to an end, there was a Marvel Comics miniseries called Bullet Points, which depicted a Marvel Universe that was drastically different because of Professor Erskine being shot before he could create the super soldier formula and that same bullet killing a young Ben Parker. Among the differences from the regular Marvel Universe mainly focused on are that Peter Parker becomes the Hulk and Bruce Banner becomes Spider-Man rather than the other way around.
      • One of the names She-Hulk mistakenly calls Doctor Strange is Doctor Peculiar. Doc Peculiar would later be the name used for the Alternate Company Equivalent of Doctor Strange that appears in The Boys.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Loaded with it! Even in the Season 2 finale, the Monster of the Week was really freaky.
  • The Scrappy: Fans prefer to forget the way She-Hulk was portrayed in Season 2.
  • Seasonal Rot: Season 2 non-stop. Excessive Executive Meddling saw many production members replaced with more like-minded personnel, a Lighter and Softer tone, fewer story arcs, worse art and animation and She-Hulk added as a regular (at the expense of Rick Jones, no less).
  • Tear Jerker: One cited is the end of "Innocent Blood", in which Rick Jones and Betty Ross have to pull a Break His Heart to Save Him on Hulk.
    Hulk: Betty. Rick. Friends.
    Betty: (starting to cry) No, Hulk. We're not friends. I'm frightened of you. You're destructive and...I don't love you, I hate you. (begins sobbing)
    Hulk: Hate Hulk?
    Rick: (also crying) You've ruined our lives, man. You've ruined everybody's life! We wish you'd just...just go away. Just leave us alone.
    Hulk: No. No. Rick? Betty?
    Betty: You're a monster. I never want to see you again. Do you hear me? Never!
    Hulk: BETTY!
    • The scene in "Mortal Bounds", where Gargoyle sadly examines his restored face and laments that he will have to return to his deformed self in order to survive.
    • The scene where Don Blake reveals that the antidote to the virus won't be ready in time to save Betty, driving Bruce to tears. Happily, it becomes a Heartwarming Moment when Gargoyle arrives and gives Bruce the rest of the antidote the two of them created earlier, saying that even a hideous troll like himself can preform a good deed.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: The first season. The themes of each episode is dark; darker than the live action series, and that's saying something.
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: The opening credits.

  • Better on DVD: With the DVD, several deleted scenes are restored that help flesh out the characters through their interactions, such as Bruce and Leonard Samson having a tense talk about Bruce's history with Betty, or a short dialogue at Culver University where Bruce tells Betty how he worries that they experimented with the wrong motives.
  • Broken Base:
    • The arguments about which is better: this or Hulk. Seriously, there are civil wars that have been less heated.
    • The Abomination's physical appearance. Some people liked it and thought it was scary looking, while others disliked it for straying so far from his comic look. Some, regardless of loyalty to the comic incarnation found it just plain ugly. Then again, The Abomination being ugly is pretty much the point.
  • Can't Un-Hear It: Fans of the film tend to hear Edward Norton as Bruce Banner.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Not intentionally, but a lot of people seem to forget that this movie is a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel themselves haven't done much to raise awareness of the film, as it had no sequels and none of its characters reappeared in the MCU until Captain America: Civil War, save for Banner who was recast. There was a rumour that Liv Tyler as Betty will finally reappear in Avengers: Infinity War, but she didn't.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: In the movie, Stan Lee has a cameo where he falls ill due to Bruce's blood mixing with the soft drink he took a sip out of. Come recent events, Stan's health is failing, unable to do more cameos for future Marvel films.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • At one point, Doc Samson mentions that it's a point of pride with him that he can always tell when someone is lying. Emil Blonsky's actor, Tim Roth, later went on to play someone who could do just that in Lie to Me.
    • Edward Norton previously played the Narrator of Fight Club, and if you know the ending of that film...
    • Thanks to a brief shot of one of Ross' soldiers sitting with a long item attached to his back (he was really leaning against the vehicle's business-sized antenna), fans immediately assumed it was an Easter Egg, of Hawkeye's Early-Bird Cameo. Amusingly, the guy who did end up being Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and this version of Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) do appear together in The Bourne Legacy.
      • Also, later MCU films has Bruce (Mark Ruffalo) in a relationship with Black Widow. Amusingly, the actress who plays Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and the Bruce Banner of this film (Edward Norton) did work together in Isle of Dogs, which was released ten years after this film.
    • William Hurt mentioned he based his portrayal of General Ross off of Captain Ahab. Three years later and guess who plays him.
    • The last time we see Bruce, he's in hiding again, and his new daily regime involves drinking a bright red tea. The Roselle is discovered to have the ability to lower blood pressure, when made into tea. It is bright red. Remember all the times we see green drinks? This is a literal case of "red means stop, green means go".
    • In a interview with MTV where Louis Leterrier discussed an idea of having Tobey Maguire cameo as Spider-Man in this film, which was scrapped, that "Years from now you'll see Peter Parker meeting Bruce Banner", Fast foward to 2015; and his prediction now seems possible, as Spider-Man was introduced in the MCU (though in a film that doesn't have the Hulk.)
    • This film's introduction of The Leader has notoriously gone without any follow-up in the MCU thus far. In Fantastic Four (2015), Tim Blake Nelson got screwed out of a recurring villain role again (well, until the film's horrible performance killed the possibility of sequels) when his character was first written as Mole Man, then was changed to a Canon Foreigner and killed off.
  • Memetic Mutation: A gif of Banner closing his laptop has picked up steam in certain parts of the internet.
  • Missing Trailer Scene: The trailer had a scene where Bruce explains his condition to Leonard.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Betty Ross was initially not that well liked for being seen as boring or even whiny compared to most of the other MCU love interests. After being inexplicably ignored in The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron, and having a romantic storyline which is more developed and substantial than some of the ones found in later MCU films (including that of Banner's other love interest Black Widow), she's gained a small fandom who wants to see her return, especially on Tumblr or YouTube.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
  • Rewatch Bonus: Try watching this movie after The Avengers and look for the World Building references (i.e., the Super-soldier serum and the Stark Industries-designed weapons). It's a very different experience from watching it before the Avengers.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Tony Stark's cameo blew people's minds at the time with the idea of a shared movie universe being completely unheard of.
  • So Okay, It's Average: The film got an alright critical reception (its Rotten Tomatoes score is a decent 67%, which isn't bad), but audiences didn't respond anywhere near as strongly to it as they did with Iron Man (or even Thor), and as the years have gone by it's still regarded as a middle-of-the-road movie that is often forgotten. Not helping this is that subsequent Marvel films barely reference it at all, and Avengers not only replaces Edward Norton with Mark Ruffalo (whose take on the character is completely different and has been much better received) but does a good enough job of introducing his character that TIH doesn't really feel necessary.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • This movie has the origin story of The Leader, but he's had essentially zero presence in the MCU past this point (the tie-in comic Fury's Big Week notwithstanding), despite being one of Hulk's arch-enemies.
    • Betty Ross herself (who also has superhuman potential) has not been mentioned at all either in following films with Banner. Banner starting a new romance with Black Widow in Age of Ultron seemingly served as confirmation to fans that he's broken up with Betty for good this time.
  • Vindicated by History: A minor example. While it's still regarded as a forgotten middle-of-the-road movie and largely ignored by the fans, some fans began to have more positive thoughts on this film and it's regarded by some as an underrated entry in the MCU.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The Hulk looks straight-up awesome. Many people think, even up until today, it's the best looking live-action Hulk period.
  • What an Idiot!: Emil Blonsky, prior to becoming the Abomination, is this. After the military unloads everything they have on the Hulk, he's still standing. Blonsky did do an impressive job of dodging the Hulk, but did precisely no damage. When ordered to fall back, he walks up to the Hulk in convenient striking range and challenges him. This results in him getting a kick to the chest that basically liquefies his skeleton.
    • He also ruins snipers from taking out Banner at the university by leading with a direct attack, resulting in him transforming.