Hulk (2003)


General Information:

Information below is taken from the following link:  

  138 min  –  Action | Sci-Fi   –  18 July 2003 (UK)


Ang Lee


James Schamus; John Turman; Michael France; James Schamus    


Eric Bana; Jennifer Connelly; Sam Elliott


Bruce Banner, a scientist, is a man with a horrifying past, a past which is the reason why he has a mutation which, when he’s angry, turns him into a giant green monster known as ‘The Hulk’.


Here with have an unconventional genre film: a superhero movie, where the ‘hero’ doesn’t do anything heroic, and where his powers are more of a curse than an advantage. This is an odd combination which may work for some audience members and may not for others; mainly because the director, Ang Lee does films about character as opposed to films about plot.

His films have developed characters with delicately placed back stories, carefully scripted dialogue, and real, proper emotions. His films are emotionally intense. Superhero films are about the occasional one liner, the fast paced action, the love affair with the hero and the girl-next-door’ character, the intrigue of the hero, and of course: how the hero will defeat the villain.

Here we have a film that is meticulously slow-paced and well crafted. It starts off with a sequence explaining how Bruce Banner (aka: ‘The Hulk) developed his mutation: David Banner (Nick Nolte) experiments on himself in an attempt  to improve human DNA. However, his genetic alterations have passed on down to his son Banner.

Bruce cannot remember much of his childhood when he is conscious, as the events that occurred when he was a mere boy where so brutal and horrifying, that he unconsciously suppressed them. Yet when he is dreaming, his memories come flooding back to him with a sharp, impenetrable force. He remembers how he was orphaned and had to be adopted. He remembers how his father disappeared. He remembers how his father stabbed his mother in front of him.

Later on in the film, we find out that Bruce’s father is not dead; he returns back to Bruce by working as a Janitor in the lab where Bruce works. As their ‘confrontation’ unfold, Bruce begins to get angry and he experiences feelings of distress (and confusion) as his childhood memories are driven to the very front of his mind. Which can only be a bad thing, because (due to Bruce’s mutation) when he gets angry, he turns into the ‘hulk’. The film then turns into the usual comic-book stuff, fight-scenes, chasing, smashing up objects, and our ‘hero’ jumping from rooftop to rooftop.

To complicate issues further, Bruce works with a girl named Betty (Jennifer Connelly). Betty’s father is concerned over his daughter’s safety, and as a result, he attempts to try to kill Bruce in the second half of the movie in a ‘cat and mouse style’. So the film itself as established a hero and a villain. Yet perhaps this is not the case. We see that Bruce is fighting over his emotions and his feelings, he’s discovering his identity and trying to work out who he is, yet, he doesn’t want to become the monster that he can become – meaning that the actions of Betty’s father only make Bruce more confused and experience more angst. Comparisons can be drawn with another Ang Lee’s: Brokeback Mountain – when the character ‘Ennis’ is battling his sexuality, Ennis doesn’t want to be gay, in the same way that Bruce doesn’t want to be the ‘hulk’.

The action sequences are particularly well done in Hulk as they are visually stunning, compelling and indeed, hypnotic. Yet, they are also engaging, I wasn’t bored in them because I cared about the characters in this film. I cared about them, I didn’t want pain to come to Bruce and any of the other good characters because they were so well-developed, so believable. This is very important, and unfortunately, cannot be said for most films.


Hulk is an odd film in the sense that it is a meticulous character-study-come-super-hero movie. All in all, it has more dialogue and character development than action and fast-paced violence, which may lead some audience members bored, and some intrigued and engaged. At times, the film tends to drag on a bit as I wanted some action some violence. As an action/superhero movie it fails. But as a character study it’s a definite winner to say the least.


One thought on “Hulk (2003)

  1. Pingback: “The Avengers”: All about the superheroes « Radu presents: The Movie-Photo Blog

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