INCREDIBLE HULK Annotations - Green Goliath part 2

Click here for part one of the Incredible Hulk annotations!


Welcome back! We left off exploring Ross, Blonsky, and a very pertinent deleted scene. In this same scene, Joe Greller learns the truth that Banner becomes a large, mutant creature and that this resulted from a tangent of Ross’s “bio-tech” project. He asks Ross, “Are you telling me ANOTHER one of your super-soldier experiments has gone haywire? Is there ANYTHING that came out of that program that didn’t turn into a mess?” What other experiments is he referring to? Some fans took the use of the term “haywire” as a clue that, in the continuity of this film, Ross’s earlier experiments created Zzzax, an enemy of the Hulk’s from the comics that was essentially a being of sentient energy (and who, at one point, was under Ross’s control). In the 2003 film, Bruce’s father mutated into a creature that was a combination of the villains Zzzax and the Absorbing Man.

Though Bruce is supposed to be in Mexico, several signs, graffiti and the language that is spoken to him are all in Portuguese, indicating that this scene is filmed in Brazil as well.

The music playing as Bruce walks through Chiapas, Mexico is the famous “Lonely Man” theme which played at the end of each episode of the Bixby/Ferrigno live-action series, usually while Bruce Banner was leaving whatever place he’d temporarily called home and was off to find a new place to hide until the Hulk returned.

Ross tells Blonsky that there was a bio-force program during World War II, which Blonsky then refers to as the “super-soldier” project. He is, of course, referring to Steve Rogers being turned into Captain America by Dr. Abraham Erskine via Operation: Rebirth.


We learn that while Bruce Banner believed he was working on a chemical agent that would make people resistant to radiation, he was actually given an early batch of an imperfect duplication of the super-soldier serum from Operation: Rebirth. In deleted footage from this scene, Ross said he had hoped Banner’s research would allow soldiers to be protected from depleted uranium and other sources of radiation they might encounter in the field.

In Captain America: The First Avenger, it was clear that transformation of a person into a super-soldier required the test subject being exposed to the right balance of Erskine’s serum and his mysterious “vita-ray” emitter. The proper formula and vita-radiation can give you Captain America but, as we see in this film, an imperfect formula and gamma radiation gives you the Hulk (and later, the duplicate serum plus Banner’s irradiated blood brings forth the Abomination).

In Captain America: The First Avenger, Dr. Erskine explained that his super-soldier formula was affected by a person’s inner being. “Good becomes great, bad becomes worse.” The noble Steve Rogers became Captain America whereas the corrupt Johann Schmidt, using a prototype of the serum, became the Red Skull. Blonsky, using a duplicate of the formula, becomes the monster he wishes he to be. Considering that Bruce became a split person, it seems that the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of the hero may have also developed some form of Dissociative Identity Disorder due to childhood trauma just like his comic book counterpart.

Deleted footage from the conversation between Ross and Blonsky reveals that Ross authorized Banner to test the formula on himself and that he was only supposed to receive a low-dose of gamma radiation. In the Bixby/Ferrigno TV show, Banner likewise intended low, controlled exposure but didn’t realize the machines had been enhanced recently and thus accidentally exposed himself to what should have been a lethal amount of gamma rays. As the TV show’s weekly introduction explained, something unique in Banner’s biology allowed him to survive and mutate instead of dying (an idea that has been echoed several times in the comics). It’s possible that in this continuity, a similar accident occurred. Or it’s possible that Bruce was so sure the formula Ross had given him, which he had then altered, would create resistance to radiation that he deliberately exposed himself to a higher level of gamma rays.


Dr. Leonard Samson is played by Ty Burrell, who is known for his role in the comedy Modern Family and voices Captain Mar-Vell in the cartoon series The Super Hero Squad Show.

Bruce returns home and meets his old buddy Stanley. This character is probably named after Hulk co-creator Stan Lee, but there’s more to it. He is played by Paul Soles, who voiced Bruce Banner (and Rick Jones) in the original Hulk cartoons of 1966, thus making him the first actor to professionally play the hero. He also played Rick in the Captain America cartoons of the same era, and Happy Hogan in the Iron Man cartoons of the time. Along with playing Hermey in the TV movie Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Soles also voiced Peter Parker in the original 1960s Spider-Man cartoon series.

Although Culver City is supposed to be in California, signs on the bicycle stand reveal that this is actually Toronto. Likewise, there are signs later seen on a bridge that indicate where these scenes are truly being filmed, marking distance by kilometers instead of miles.

When Bruce is delivering pizza, he chats with a security guard. This is Lou Ferrigno, who also made a cameo during Ang Lee’s Hulk film as a security guard.

Perhaps not coincidentally, Bruce (played by Edward Norton) sees a Norton anti-virus program on the Culver University computer.

In a deleted scene, Leonard Samson is home when Betty brings in Bruce from the rain. As she enters the house, he is speaking to someone on the phone and says, “Pardon me if this contradicts everything you told me about the situation.” We later learn that he was talking to General Ross.

In a following deleted scene, Bruce explains many of his travels to Betty, including spending months in a monastery. He also reveals to Betty that his ally Mr. Blue is Samuel Sterns, whom he sought out due to the man’s surprising success with cellular inhibitors, hoping this could contain the gamma radiation in his cells from unleashing the Hulk. Betty recognizes the name and says that Sterns is a genius years ahead of others in his field, but also mentions there was a concern from others about his ethics and that he might be an anarchist.

Having received a phone call from Leonard that Bruce has reunited with Betty, Thunderbolt Ross decides to use that night to make Blonsky into a super-soldier so they’ll have him ready when they attack tomorrow. He enters a cold storage unit and the container he uncovers reveals quite a bit of information on its label.


The label reads that it is a “cryosinc” chamber created by Stark Industries and that the chemical within has been treated by vita-rays. The label notes that this chemical is from the “Weapon Plus” program and was developed by “Dr. Reinstein.” It also reveals that this is batch 6 of version 2 of the formula.

We’ve already discussed vita-rays and Stark Industries. “Dr. Reinstein” was the codename of Abraham Erskine, who developed Operation: Rebirth. In the Marvel Comics Universe, Weapon Plus is the name of a series of programs that were developed after the U.S. realized that more and more superhumans, along with mutants, were appearing in the world. Weapon Plus would attempt to create government-controlled biological weapons, specially trained to kill other superhumans. Operation: Rebirth was retroactively referred to as Weapon I. Decades later, the mutant called Logan AKA Wolverine became a test subject of the Weapon X (or 10) program, which itself spun out into a separate batch of living weapons. So in this one moment, we have connections to Iron Man, Captain America and the X-Men.

When Blonsky is injected with version 2 of the Erskine formula, you’ll notice it is colored a bright blue. Director Leterrier did this on purpose as a nod to Captain America’s blue uniform. Later, in Captain America: The First Avenger, we see an identically colored chemical injected into Steve Rogers.

In a deleted scene that appears right after Blonsky is injected, Bruce leaves Betty’s guest room and finds Leonard Samson still awake and stoking a fire. Bruce attempts to assure Leonard that he didn’t come to return to Betty’s life and that he is seeking a solution to a personal problem. Samson counters that unless Bruce were dead, Betty would never truly get over her relationship with him. When pressed why he vanished, Bruce reveals that a major reason was that he feared for her safety after accidentally injuring and hospitalizing Betty during his first Hulk transformation.

Another deleted scene reveals that Bruce blames himself for his Hulk transformation rather than General Ross. The General was at least honest with himself about his motives to create a better soldier and the risks involved, whereas Bruce had allowed arrogance to convince himself that he could improve the human body when nature had already done a spectacular job.

Blonsky races past the other soldiers with little effort. If he has, at this moment in the film, abilities rivaling that of Captain America then this is to be expected. In the comics, Captain America has reached speeds of roughly 60 mph.After Betty is knocked down, we finally see the Hulk in broad daylight. Louis Leterrier specifically wanted the Hulk to seem more dangerous than the Ang Lee version. Leterrier believed the version seen in the 2003 film had been colored with a shade of green that was too bright and that his skin had seemed so smooth that he resembled a cartoon rather than a physical creature with muscle and skin. In fact, many comic fans criticized the Hulk in Ang Lee’s film as resembling the character Shrek. Louis Leterrier’s Hulk was based on the artwork of Dale Keown and was given visible veins and muscle structure. The green hue was darkened.

In the comics, the Hulk usually gets stronger if his anger increases. In Ang Lee’s film, the Hulk not only got stronger but actually grew in size, reaching 15 feet. Louis Leterrier chose to give the Hulk a consistent height of 9 feet. In the comics, the Gray Hulk is supposed to be about 6’6” to 7 feet and the Green Hulk is supposed to be 7 to 8 feet, though some artists have definitely made him at least 9 or even 10 feet in height. Bruce Banner is supposed to be 5’9.5”, a little shorter than Edward Norton who stands at 6 feet.


The Hulk can be seen knocking over a vehicle. In fact, this vehicle was not meant to do this. But during filming, the vehicle lost control and flipped. Leterrier then took the footage and digitally added in the Hulk as the responsible party.

The battle between Blonsky and the Hulk was, in some ways, a preview of what to expect from Captain America when he would finally be introduced to live-action film.

Notice that the Hulk is destroying machines but is not killing anyone. In the mainstream Marvel Comics, it has been noted by many that the Hulk does not go around killing people and that no one has died during his rampages due to his direct actions. The reason for this is that the Hulk, like Bruce Banner, is not someone of murderous intent. What’s more, a part of Banner’s brain is still working while the Hulk is active, making calculations concerning the creature’s strength level and the trajectory of any object he throws. Thanks to these calculations, the Hulk (without realizing how he’s doing it) is always able to knock people out of their vehicles or render them unconscious without also causing their deaths.

Of course, the Hulk does use seemingly lethal force when he kicks Blonsky. But in this case, we need to take into account that Blonsky has very quickly marked himself as a more personal enemy and has also displayed near superhuman abilities. So the part of the Hulk’s brain that is calculating data may have taken into account that this person could actually survive such an attack, even if just barely.


The scene of the Hulk in a cave, challenging lightning is directly inspired by the mini-series Hulk: Gray.

In a deleted scene, Ross explains to Sparr that part of his obsession with capturing and controlling the Hulk is because he believes that the creature represents the next stage in warfare and technology, akin to the discovery of fire and the splitting of the atom. He feels that if he harnesses the power of the Hulk, history will remember him and he can help reshape the world.

Betty buys Bruce purple pants, an obvious nod to the comics. In the comics, Bruce (and the Hulk) have worn trousers of a variety of colors, but for many years they were indeed consistently purple since green and purple work well together in comics. It was later said that Bruce had taken a nod from Einstein’s habit of buying the same suit several times and had filled his own closet with dark purple suits so he’d never have to think about what to wear.

While watching the news about the Hulk, Ross sees a reporter mention two students who filmed the earlier confrontation. These students are named Jack McGee and Jim Wilson. Jack McGee, described as a reporter for the campus newspaper, shares a name with a character from the Bixby/Ferrigno TV series, a journalist who hunted the Hulk through each episode, similar to Ross. Jim Wilson is the name of one of the Hulk’s few friends in the comics, a young man who aided him on several adventures and who tragically later died of AIDS.

The news footage General Ross is watching will be viewed again by Nick Fury during a scene in Iron Man 2.

Deleted footage of Ross watching the news footage features another conversation between him and General Geller. Geller states that he saw how Blonsky was moving and that the man’s enhanced speed, strength and agility reminded him of something that he and Ross would rather forget. Again, we get another clue that Ross turned someone else into a super-soldier and that it led to a bad result.

We see that Mr. Blue’s e-mail is The address reveals that Mr. Blue or sst3rns is Samuel Sterns. The number 62 is a reference to 1962, when the Hulk made his comic book debut.

Once again, despite his scientific brilliance, Bruce makes a mistake. First, he believed he had recovered his blood sample but he actually let one slip by on a soda bottle, which led Ross to his door. Here, he e-mails Sterns believing that it’s safe since Ross doesn’t know that e-mail address or his own, but he doesn’t consider that S.H.I.E.L.D. technology is good enough to detect an e-mail using the words “Mr. Blue” and “Mr. Green.” Or perhaps he doesn’t realize that Ross has discovered that he and Sterns use these aliases.


Dr. Samuel Sterns is played by Tim Blake Nelson, seen in films such as The Darwin Awards, Minority Report, Syriana and O Brother, Where Art Thou?

It’s a fun fact that Edward Norton and Tim Blake Nelson each reunited with Ty Burrell years later on separate episodes of Modern Family.

When we meet Samuel Sterns, he is an eccentric, though brilliant, cellular biologist. In the comics, Samuel Sterns was a custodian who was envious of the scientists who worked around him. Exposure to gamma radiation caused him to slowly mutate over a period of days, making his secret desire come true and mutating him into a hyper-intelligent, green-skinned being, as smart as the Hulk is strong. Believing he was now the only one worthy or capable of running the entire planet, he called himself the Leader and became a constant enemy of the Hulk and Bruce Banner alike.

After experimenting on Bruce, Sterns says he believes his “cure” has only caused a suppression of the Hulk persona rather than removing it. This was inserted by Leterrier to indicate that Bruce may be able to gain control of the Hulk now, at least to some degree, setting him up as a possible force for good among the Avengers.

Samuel Sterns admits to Major Sparr that he can’t create more creatures like the Hulk “yet” and that he intends to make better versions anyway. In the comics, the Leader attempted to create new gamma-powered soldiers at times, going so far as to release a gamma bomb into a populated city just so he could see what would happen to the handful of people whose DNA contained the right traits, like his own and Banner’s, to allow for mutation rather than death.

Samuel Sterns’ head begins to grow and pulse as he absorbs Bruce’s irradiated and chemically treated blood, a hint that he is transforming into the Leader (who is always depicted with an enlarged head.

As stated before, the comic book version of the Abomination is reptilian in appearance and has large bat-like ears. Director Louis Leterrier wanted to emphasize that the Abomination was a throwback to a more primitive man and didn’t want to include reptilian features since no reptilian genetics were included in his origin. He decided to remove the large bat-like ears partly because he couldn’t truly explain them and because he believed that the Hulk would logically bite them off in a real fight. In designing the Abomination, Leterrier wanted to emphasize that his mutation was not stable and thus certain bones and body parts had not grown at the same rate.

In the comics, the Abomination is usually depicted as a darker hue of green than the Hulk (though sometimes he’s given a teal shade). To make sure that audiences didn’t get confused who was winning the fight, Leterrier decided to make the creature yellow/orange rather than green. This was no doubt helpful for Ross’s men too, since they didn’t have to ask him a follow-up question when he said to help “the green one.”


The fight scene between the Hulk and Abomination was done by digitally capturing Edward Norton and Tim Roth actually acting the fight out with each other. Throughout the film, Norton and Roth both acted out all the scenes involving their monstrous alter egos and had their faces digitally captured to give the Hulk and Abomination their expressions. Leterrier very much wanted the two monsters to have human facial tics, emotions, and body language so that they wouldn’t seem to be purely computer generated.

One of the people in Harlem is played by Michael Kenneth Williams. He was brought into the film because Leterrier loved his performance in the TV series The Wire.

The final scene of the Hulk’s battle with the Abomination takes place in the ruins of an abandoned courthouse. This was Edward Norton’s idea, wanting the Greek style columns to imply that this was a battle between demi-gods of mythology. Coincidentally, Leterrier later directed Clash of the Titans.

As demonstrated by the Abomination, it is possible to pierce the Hulk’s skin if you have enough strength or a sharp enough tool. Wolverine’s adamantium claws have cut the Hulk more than once. But even then, it might not be enough, as his cells regenerate at an incredible rate.


The Hulk claps his hands together and a gust of wind extinguishes the fire. In the comics, the Hulk has often stunned opponents by clapping his hands together and creating a shockwave.

Ross finally decides not to attack the Hulk. The defining moment here is that not only has he seen the creature fight a true evil, but he has seen that the Hulk actually listens to Betty when she tells him to stop. The evidence that the creature can be reasoned with is no doubt shocking and shattering to Ross, finally forcing him to accept that this is still Bruce Banner in some form, a human being rather than a weapon.

In an unfilmed scene, it would have been shown that Blonsky had reverted to a human state and was being kept in a cage under Ross’s supervision in the event that he transformed again.

As he mails Betty back the necklace she had pawned off earlier in the film, Bruce signs the envelope David B. This is another nod to the Bixby/Ferrigno TV show. As he traveled from city to city, David Banner always adopted an alias that changed his last name to a different one beginning with B. David Benson, David Bannon, David Brenner, etc,


As Bruce meditates, he now seems to be able to summon the Hulk at will. His smirk is meant to be ambiguous. If a Hulk 2 movie was put into production quickly, the smirk would be explained as Banner now being more in control of the Hulk, allowing him to act as a more straightforward hero in the sequel. If a Hulk sequel were delayed and the Avengers movie came out first, the smirk could be used to indicate that the Hulk was growing stronger and possibly villainous, allowing him to perhaps be an enemy to the Avengers initially.

The final scene of the film takes place some time later. It definitely takes place after the first Iron Man movie since it is clear General Ross knows Tony Stark is Iron Man. Tony indicates that he and others are “putting a team together.” At the end of the first Iron Man film, Tony was approached by Nick Fury about the Avengers Initiative and one of the initial ideas for a sequel was that Tony would be working more closely with S.H.I.E.L.D. So this scene indicates that he had agreed to join the superhero team and was approaching Ross with the proposal that he and the group could capture the Hulk, which would have echoed the very first Avengers comic where the team initially formed to take down the jade giant.

However, when Iron Man 2 finally came out, Tony Stark was operating on his own and stated emphatically that he had refused to join the Avengers Initiative program. This made his cameo in The Incredible Hulk seem rather strange, since he shouldn’t have had the authority to speak for Fury or the Avengers Initiative.

A short “Marvel one-shot” film was produced and included on the Thor blu-ray disc to fully explain Tony’s meeting with Thunderbolt Ross. This short film was entitled “The Consultant” and starred Clark Gregg as S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Coulson and Maximiliano Hernandez as Agent Sitwell (who is a character from the comics).


In the short, Coulson meets Sitwell at a diner and explains that Director Nick Fury proposed his Avengers Initiative to the World Security Council and that they accepted it, authorizing him to recruit such a team but only on the condition that Blonsky be included. The logic was that before the “Brooklyn incident,” Blonsky had been repeatedly decorated as a hero and that clearly he could not be responsible for the violence and destruction that ensued that night, which they blamed on the Hulk.


Since Nick Fury could not directly disobey the order, Sitwell and Coulson agree that they need to send a liaison to General Ross who will annoy him so greatly that he will refuse to release Blonsky into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody on principle. Hence, Tony Stark is sent as a representative to ask Ross if the Abomination can join the Avengers Initiative. The meeting does not go well, exactly as planned, and Blonsky is kept in a cage.

And that wraps it up for us, folks. Be on the look out later this week for an Agent of S.T.Y.L.E. focusing on the Hulk. And then check us out next week for annotations on Iron Man 2!

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