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  • 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.
  • Cant Unhear It: Fans of the film tend to hear Edward Norton as Bruce Banner.
  • Complete Monster: In the novelization by Peter David, Emil Blonsky is notably worse than his film counterpart. A brutal soldier with no problem harming dogs or bystanders in his way, Blonsky gets worse as he is injected with the super soldier serum, which brings out his more aggressive side. Desiring to execute people for minor offenses while hunting down Bruce Banner, aka the Hulk, Blonsky becomes obsessed with the Hulk's power, to such an extent he viciously beats Banner in an attempt to bring the Hulk out. After assaulting and murdering some of his fellow soldiers, Blonsky undergoes the same gamma experiment that created the Hulk, turning himself into the Abomination, and with his newfound powers goes on a rampage across New York, killing scores of people in his way and smashing through cars and buildings with an evil grin on his face, finally getting to do what he's always wanted to deep down: have the power of life and death over people weaker than him.
  • 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 would finally reappear in Avengers: Infinity War, but she didn'tnote .
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • One scene had Banner mix up the word "angry" and "hungry" while trying to state the famous catchphrase used in the TV show in Portugese. 11 years later, a Pokémon was introduced with a form whose name is a mix on the words "angry" and "hungry".
  • Memetic Mutation: A gif of Banner closing his laptop has picked up steam in certain parts of the internet.
  • 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.
  • Narm: See here.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Tony Stark's cameo might seem fairly typical now, but it blew people's minds at the time, back when the idea of a shared movie universe was 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 The Avengers (2012) not only replaces Edward Norton with Mark Ruffalo (whose take on the character is completely different and has been much better received) but does such a good enough job of introducing his character that some feel TIH isn't really necessary. Notably, this film is probably the only one that does not contribute to Avengers: Endgame in any waynote .
  • 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.
  • Unexpected Character: While common practice now, Tony Stark's cameo at the end was completely unprecedented at the time. Before then, the idea of a superhero popping up in another hero's film was a pipe dream, let alone the concept of a shared universe. But Tony chatting it up with General Ross confirmed that Marvel Studios were serious about their plans to make an Avengers movie, and helped lay the foundations for the MCU as a whole.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: A fair amount of attention is given to Betty's necklace, which is a Tragic Keepsake from her deceased mother. She thinks of selling it when she and Bruce go on the run, he convinces her not to, and at the end of the film she sends it to him as a symbol of her love for him. This memento never re-occurs throughout the MCU, despite the fact it probably could be very useful in calming the Hulk down, and as a symbol of all Bruce has lost in his life, a point of contention when Ross reappears in Civil War, or even a memento of Earth to the Hulk during his time on Sakaar. However, partially due the the movie mostly being forgotten ,the impracticality of the Hulk carrying jewelry with him at all times, and the fact that the necklace's design is utterly generic and forgettable, it's never mentioned again.
  • 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. That so many of the Shout-Out moments also work as Foreshadowing for The Avengers (2012) helps.
  • 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!:
    • Bruce Banner is on the run. That's because he experimented with gamma radiation in an effort to recreate the Captain America formula. The commanding officer in charge of Banner's project, General Ross, wants to contain him as a weapon and to exploit his potential.
      You'd Expect: That Ross would do what S.H.I.E.L.D. later does with considerably less collateral damage and negative PR: track down Banner, talk calmly to him as a scientist and not a monster, and offer some fringe benefits to being a guinea pig. Not to mention that his attacking Bruce is straining his relationship with his daughter, Betty Ross, who got injured as a result of the gamma experiments.
      Instead: Every time he gets as much as a whiff of Bruce's various locations, Ross sends in special armed forces to utilize brute force and More Dakka. This inevitably triggers Bruce's unwilling transformations into the Hulk, which causes immense property damage, danger to civilian and military lives, and Betty's wrath. And no, Ross does not learn. The one time he actually manages to handcuff Bruce is when the latter has just taken a potential antidote, which suppresses the transformation until Bruce needs to change again to save New York from the Abomination. In The Avengers, when Natasha talks to Bruce and offers him a job because of his gamma knowledge, she's much more successful in persuading him.
    • General Ross has received word that fugitive Bruce Banner will be at Culver University. This is his chance to capture him.
      You'd Expect: Ross to order his men to try to capture Bruce stealthily, so that he'll have less time to become agitated and thus transform, and to prevent student and faculty panic on the campus.
      Instead: He orders all his men to charge into the university in broad daylight, alerting Bruce and Betty, causing chaos amongst the students and teachers, and terrifying Bruce enough that he transforms soon after they get to him. Then that leads to several million dollars in property damage... To be fair, Ross does claim that he was waiting for snipers but someone "jumped the gun", so it's not necessarily his fault, but whomever took the first step definitely should have known better.
    • After throwing everything they have at the Hulk, Ross orders Blonsky to fall back. Blonsky personally emptied a grenade launcher at the Hulk, and while he did an admirable job at not getting killed, he did no lasting damage.
      You'd Expect: Blonsky to fall back, get bigger guns, and try again later. At this point, the biggest weapon he may have is a pistol, which might tickle the Hulk.
      Instead: He lets his love for a good fight get the better of him, so he asks "Is that all you've got?" as if to tempt the Hulk (this is somewhat understandable, as the effects of the Super Soldier serum are making him more aggressive and more desiring of a fight).
      As A Result: A single kick from the giant green rage monster breaks every bone in Blonsky's skeleton.

    Video Game 
  • Catharsis Factor: The DS version allows you to smash up the level itself as well as the enemies, making for some excellent stress relief. Taken Up to Eleven when you use the Charged Attack which lets hulk simply charge through the level damaging everything possible for a short time.
  • Complete Monster: Major Glenn Talbot, a far cry from his later MCU characterization, is a homicidal army major obsessed with taking down the Hulk, Bruce Banner, through any means necessary. Beginning his attacks on Hulk by launching numerous missile strikes on him, Talbot disregards his soldiers' objections that the missiles will impact many highly-populated areas of New York, and pins all the ensuing destruction on the Hulk. When press helicopters fly too close to his military base, Talbot orders them all shot down, hoping to silence the reporters' attempts to oust him as a madman. Showing no care for innocents, Talbot kidnaps both Hulk's best friend, Rick Jones, and his Love Interest, Betty Ross, to use as hostages to draw him out, and, when the army turns on him after they learn of his crimes, Talbot responds by killing the soldiers sent after him, attempting to murder the Hulk, then setting his Hulkbuster armor to detonate, fully knowing it will wipe out most of the city, just to kill the Hulk. A sociopath who abused his power for no reason other than blind hatred and jealousy, Glenn Talbot stood out, even to Bruce Banner, as a truly wicked man whose hatred made him far worse than the "monsters" he claimed to be fighting.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: Compared to The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, it didn't have enough originality.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Since the game came out three years after The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, it didn't catch enough attention to be a good Hulk game.
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