Now I’ve seen the 2003 Hulk, and as I expected, from reading reviews of both the 2003 and 2008 movies (see my February 23 review of the more recent movie), I enjoyed the earlier movie better. There’s a lot more character development, and a lot less mindless destruction.
I can understand why fans of the comic didn’t care as well for the 2003 movie. My husband (who is a big fan of many superhero comics) explained that the movie took a lot more liberties with the story – though he thought it was better in its treatment of General Ross. He also liked the more human face of the Hulk, though he didn’t like having it become fifteen feet high.
The one thing I did think the 2008 movie did better was the elements of humor it included. I can’t think of a bit of humor in this 2003 movie. Injecting a bit of subtle humor here and there doesn’t detract from the seriousness of a movie – rather it gives the viewer a brief break so that he is not overwhelmed by unrelenting seriousness.
I also think that, while the motivations of Bruce Banner are well explained by the backstory revealed in the flashbacks, those of his father are not. In particular, his actions in the crucial scene (that Bruce cannot or will not remember) do not seem consistent with his earlier or later actions. But I suppose it would take another movie nearly as long to explain the father as well.