Introduced in the film
Robert Bruce "Krenzler" Banner/The Hulk
- "Even now I can feel it. Buried somewhere deep inside. Watching me, waiting. But you know what scares me the most? When I can't fight it anymore, when it takes over, when I totally lose control. I like it."
Bruce Banner was an orphaned child and became an intellectually gifted man that worked on gamma radiation tests. Once he tested it himself, he unlocked a hidden gene from his father.
- Alliterative Name: Bruce Banner.
- Anti-Hero: Averted. His seemingly senseless rampages in the labs and military bases throughout the film are all attempts to destroy the gamma research before they fall into the wrong hands. He overpowers soldiers but never attempts to kill them.
- Death Seeker: He outright tells David that he wishes he had killed him when he killed his mother.David: I should have killed you.Bruce: I wish you had.
- Going to Give It More Energy: After David Banner/Absorbing Man becomes a water being in the final battle, becoming invulnerable to Hulk's attacks and starts draining his power, Hulk defeats him by giving him all of his limitless power, which destabilizes Absorbing Man long enough for the military to finish him off.
- Hulking Out: The Trope Maker, being the origin film for the character who started it all.
- Informed Attribute: David remarks to a pre-Hulk Bruce that he has quite the Hair-Trigger Temper but not much is shown of this until after he first rampages.
- It Can Think: For all of his apparent savagery, this Hulk is shown to have surprising strategy skills, like at one point biting off the explosive head of a missile he caught to bring down a helicopter by spitting it at it.
- Like Father, Unlike Son: Bruce was completely terrified of his father since Bruce encountered David at his adulthood.
- Super Toughness: Almost nothing in the film harms him while he's Hulk, missiles dont scratch him, bullets bounce off him, bombs mildly irritate him. Only the Gamma Dogs were able to pierce Hulk's skin.
- Technical Pacifist: The film makes sure to show soldiers emerging unscathed from each military vehicle that Hulk wrecks in order to keep him sympathetic.
- Tranquil Fury: He appears coldly calm right before willingly transforming into the Hulk in the film's ending.
- Voice of the Legion: The Hulk's roar sounds distorted and seems to have a pitched version layered over it.
Elizabeth "Betty" Ross
- Ambiguous Situation: In the video game, it remains unclear if she was completely cured of her gamma poisoning.
- Brainy Brunette
- Deuteragonist: The most developed and focused on character in the movie after Bruce.
- Nice Girl: It's easy to see why Bruce loves her so dearly.
- "Reason You Suck" Speech: She tells David Banner in no uncertain terms that he has completely ruined his son's life.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: In the video game, she isn't seen again after "Chemical Effect".
David Banner/The Absorbing Man
- "We're gonna have to watch that temper of yours."
David Banner was a researcher who believed that humanity can exceed limits. He wanted permission from the military to use his research but was denied permission. David Banner experimented on himself so his son, Bruce will have abilities. When Bruce was a young child, David planned to kill him but instead killed his wife, Edith. He was sent to jail by the military for thirty years.
- Accidental Murder: David Banner killed his wife in front of his son before he planned to kill Bruce, resulting in him getting sent to jail.
- Adaptation Name Change: Bruce Banner's father was named Brian in the comics.
- Adaptation Personality Change: David Banner started out as a hard-working, but loving father, a stark contrast to his comic book counterpart. Though David does eventually become antagonistic, mostly for different reasons.
- Adaptational Villainy: While his Adaptation Personality Change already invoked this on him in the film, it's his Novelization counterpart who's really bad — lacking almost-all of Film!David's sympathetic qualities and being noticeably more selfish, unfettered, and vindictive.
- Archnemesis Dad: To Bruce. After performing dangerous tests on himself, some of it was passed on genetically when Bruce was conceived. He attempted to murder Bruce but failed, striking down his wife in the process. Thirty years later, following his release from prison, he tracks down Bruce and attempts to rebuild their relationship while secretly plotting to drain Bruce's powers and alter-ego in order to rebuild his own decaying cellular structure and gain his revenge on the military. A very, very bad dude, though not without his sympathetic moments.
- Badass Normal: David Banner is just a threat to his son because of his high intelligence and how he believed in curing his son and himself.
- Beard of Evil / Beard of Sorrow: David Banner sports a big, scraggly beard in the present day after his years in prison.
- Big Bad: Of the film. He is responsible for destroying Bruce's life by experimenting on himself and his son out of an obsession with advancing humanity beyond its limits, creating the Hulk. He intends to drain Bruce's powers to regenerate himself and get his revenge on the military.
- Chewing the Scenery: Just before his transformation into the Absorbing Man. Figurative and literal, as that page's image shows.
- Cold Ham: He shifts between this and Large Ham.
- Composite Character: Is based on Brian Banner (Bruces father from the comics), but later gains the powers of Absorbing Man, before transforming into a being of pure electricity similar to Zzzax.
- Create Your Own Villain: David experimented on his dogs with his sons DNA to be mutated.
- Despair Event Horizon: When he killed Edith and set off the Gamma explosion.
- Disappeared Dad: Bruce Banner did not see David again until his adulthood.
- Eldritch Abomination: After transformation into the Absorbing Man.
- Elemental Powers: Every time he touches rocks, water or electricity.
- Elemental Shapeshifter: His form after his mutation into the Absorbing Man.
- Energy Absorption: His ability.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: David Banner is a monster, make no mistake about it - but he genuinely loved his wife and was devastated when he accidentally killed her, and is shown treating Bruce with occasional affection as a son rather than a lab experiment.
- Evil Is Hammy: He likes being a ham.
- Evil Old Folks
- Evil Sounds Raspy: Courtesy of Nick Nolte's voice.
- Fallen Hero: David wanted to make an army but was denied permission which led him descent into madness.
- Grumpy Old Man: He became this after his prison sentence.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: The Absorbing Man gets exactly what he wanted so much, his son's dormant powers... too bad it's too much for him to handle and his body becomes so unstable that he gets blown up by the military.
- Hollywood Atheist: David believed religion "infected humanity's soul".
- Humans Are Bastards: David Banner's beliefs on humanity after his imprisonment.
- Large Ham: He shifts between this and Cold Ham.
- Love Makes You Evil: His love for his deceased wife is what caused his estranged son to be born.
- Mercy Kill: He attempts this on his son, but his wife stops him which results in her accidental death. It devastates him.
- Mythology Gag: His aforementioned Adaptation Name Change is probably a reference to Bruce being renamed David in the TV show.
- Offing the Offspring: David's purpose after living in prison for thirty years.
- Professor Guinea Pig: David Banner experimented on himself after he was denied to create an army.
- Psycho Electro: His first form.
- Right-Hand Attack Dog: His subjects.
- Sanity Slippage: After his thirty years in prison.
- Shadow Archetype: To his son, Bruce. Both are very brilliant researchers and have abilities based on different life forms. However, unlike Bruce, David has next to no moral fiber or concern for human life.
- Tragic Villain: Even though David was devious, he had some regrets on his mistakes. Averted in the novelization where David is far more callous.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: David set off the Gamma explosion all because he wanted his work to get appreciated.
- Adaptational Heroism: Compared to Comic!Ross, who had almost an obsession with the Hulk and was envious of his seemingly infinite power. Here, he's portrayed as a more well-meaning General.
- Anti-Villain: He's portrayed as a concerned general who deeply loves his daughter and is just trying to stop the Hulk menace, but goes out of his way to pursue and distrust Banner because of who his father is.
- Papa Wolf: To his daughter.
- Pet the Dog: Several.
- After having his men arrest David Banner, Ross takes his time to try and comfort a young, yet traumatized, Bruce Banner.
- When he sees Betty tearfully embracing Bruce as he's about to be taken into custody, he shows a faint sign of regret for breaking his daughter's heart.
Major Glenn Talbot
- Adaptational Job Change: He was a military officer in the comics, but here, he's a bio-science executive. This is downplayed, however, as he used to have his comics counterpart's job.
- Adaptational Wimp: Talbot is not the Colonel but rather the Major.
- Adaptation Personality Change: Talbot is more aggressive compared to his comic book appearances.
- Attack Backfire: His death. He fires a Grenade Launcher only for the round to ricochet off the Hulk and embed itself in the wall behind Talbot, who barely has time for an Oh, Crap! reaction before being blown up.
Introduced in the video game
- Evil Is Hammy: All of his lines are pretty hammy.
- Evil Old Folks: An aging, wheelchair-bound professor who uses the Hulk's energy to regain his mobility.
- False Friend: To Bruce.
- Voice with an Internet Connection: During most of "Desperate Measures," communicating with Bruce via earpiece and only making a physical appearance at the end of the mission.