Hulk (also known as The Hulk) is a 2003 American superhero film based on the fictional Marvel Comics character of the same name. Ang Lee directed the film, which stars Eric Bana as Dr. Bruce Banner, as well as Jennifer Connelly, Sam Elliott, Josh Lucas, and Nick Nolte. The film explores the origins of the Hulk, which is partially attributed to Banner's father's experiments on himself, and on his son.
Development for the film started as far back as 1990. The film was at one point to be directed by Joe Johnston and then Jonathan Hensleigh. More scripts had been written by Hensleigh, John Turman, Michael France, Zak Penn, J. J. Abrams, Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, Michael Tolkin, and David Hayter before Ang Lee and James Schamus' involvement. Hulk was shot mostly in California, primarily in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The film grossed over $245 million worldwide, higher than its $137 million budget, but still considered somewhat of a disappointment. The film received mixed to positive reviews from film critics. Many praised the writing, acting, character development of the film and the music score by Danny Elfman, but criticized the character origins differing from the comics, outdated CGI and the dark, depressing story plot. A reboot, titled The Incredible Hulk, was released on June 13, 2008.
Near the end of the 1960s, scientist David Banner is conducting research into genetics and is attempting to mutate human DNA to boost the immune systems of soldiers to help them heal quickly in battle. After he is denied permission to conduct human trials, Banner experiments on himself. As time passes, David realizes his mutant DNA has been passed on to his son and attempts to find a cure. The military, lead by Thunderbolt Ross, shuts down Banner's research after learning of the unauthorized experiments. In a fit of rage, Banner triggers a massive gamma explosion and kills his wife. David is put into a mental hospital while young Bruce is adopted into a foster home, growing up to believe his parents are both dead.
In 2003, Bruce Banner is now a researcher at the University of California, Berkeley. The military takes an interest in Banner's research into nanomeds and sends Major Talbot to investigate it. Meanwhile, David Banner reappears and begins to infiltrate Bruce's life, taking a job as a janitor at the lab and secretly keeping an eye on Bruce. Thunderbolt Ross is informed of the research and becomes concerned for his daughter Betty, who works at the lab with Bruce. Ross meets with Betty and informs her of his concerns, but she becomes angry that he came there for business and not to reconcile with her.
In a lab accident, Bruce is accidentally exposed to gamma radiation and the nanomeds, which combine with his already mutated DNA and protect him from being killed by the radiation. After the accident, Bruce awakens in a hospital bed and Betty informs him that he should be dead, but instead he is better than he was before. That night, David finally confronts Bruce and reveals himself as Bruce's father. He tells Bruce to watch his temper, and quietly steals some of Bruce's hair to conduct his own tests on. David begins using Bruce's altered DNA in animal testing, producing a pack of mutated dogs. The combined frustration and stress around Bruce begin to overwhelm him and he transforms into the Hulk, destroying his lab and rampaging around.
The next day, Betty finds Bruce passed out at home. As he is trying to piece together what happened, General Ross arrives and places him under house arrest. Betty tracks down David and confronts him, prompting David to call Bruce and tell him that he has unleashed three mutant dogs to track down and kill Betty. Bruce is further provoked by Major Talbot, and transforms into Hulk, seriously injuring Major Talbot before rushing to save Betty. The next morning, Bruce is captured by Ross and taken to an underground desert base where Major Talbot is in charge of research. Betty wants to help Bruce control his transformations, but General Ross believes that Bruce is a danger who is doomed to follow in his father's footsteps.
Major Talbot sees an opportunity to profit from the Hulk's strength and regenerative capability. He puts Bruce in a sensory deprivation tank and triggers a transformation into the Hulk, who escapes from the research facility. Talbot is killed when a gun he fires at the Hulk ricochets back on him. The escaped Hulk flees into the desert, battling the army forces sent after him. He discovers that he can cover great distances by leaping with his powerful legs, and uses this ability to quickly make his way to San Francisco to find Betty. Betty defies her father and confronts the Hulk, who is soothed by her appearance and transforms back into Bruce Banner. Meanwhile, David breaks into the lab and uses Bruce's nanomed technology on himself, gaining the ability to meld with and absorb the properties of any substance he touches. He goes to Betty's house and offers to turn himself in, with the condition that he can see Bruce one more time.
General Ross agrees and allows David to talk to Bruce. David tells Bruce that he wants to see his real son, the Hulk. Bruce refuses to transform and David grabs a nearby power wire, mutating into a large power-absorbing monster. Bruce becomes the Hulk and the two fly to a forest and battle. The two fight each other to a lake, where David freezes the Hulk in the water and taunts him, trying to get Bruce to release his power. Finally Bruce unleashes the full power of the Hulk, which overwhelms his father and causes him to swell into a huge, unstable form. At the same time, General Ross detonates a gamma bomb on them. David is destroyed, but Bruce (who is unconscious at the bottom of the lake) survives and remembers David tucking him into bed as a child saying sweet dreams which probably means his father still might have loved him.
One year later, Bruce is shown working as a doctor in a rainforest. Some soldiers try to steal some medical supplies from the camp, and Bruce confronts them, telling them "Don't make me angry! You wouldn't like me when I'm angry!" as the loud roar of the Hulk can be heard and the screen fades to green.