The Hulk: Quite Angry.
When it comes to comic book characters, few are as iconic as the Hulk. This olive toned temper tantrumer was created by the comic book legends Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1962, but the Hulk has made a few evolutionary changes—his first colour was a creepy grey, and he had more in common with Wednesday Addams than The Avengers. But who is the Hulk today? What makes him such a compelling character?
The central theme of The Incredible Hulk is a study in contrasts, not too dissimilar to that of Dr. Jekyll and Hyde. Likewise, we have the brilliant scientist: Bruce Banner, a man with a calling to understanding the mysteries of the world and his contrasting counterpart, a super strong monster. However, the sage rage of this giant olive tinted philistine has limitations: he simply a vandal; he can't be seen as a victorian murderer, like what we see with the rage of Mister Hyde.
The way Hulk/Banner interact within the confines of the same person can be fun. Bruce Banner, when retaining his calm and control becomes the mind; he's an embodiment of scientific intellect for the benefit of everyone in the story, he helps others. When science, intellect, goodwill are angered, hurt or threatened, the body of the primal beast awakens and the mind is subdued. It's a dual reflection of opposites, strength of mind and feeble body, strength of body and feeble mind. The Hulk becomes a symbol of man's destructive nature. A very powerful force, indeed!
The Hulk's power in print, is almost limitless! He's ridiculous strong, but what's insane, is he becomes more powerful as his anger grows! He has lifted a mountain, smashed through walls with ease and jumped across cities. The movie versions of Hulk were definitely not invulnerable, Thanks made sure of that. He was afraid and had limits. The US military still struggled with him to some degree. Maybe the most difficult thing of all is that comic book Hulk is almost unstoppable and Movie Hulk is like a natural disaster—these have implications for the general population.
For a moment or two, consider the Hulk is a factual. Now, he's real, okay? We have to judge his actions, and the interventions the authorities are forced to take. What will the news say, when they report about his destructive outbursts? Would they mention victims or casualties? Is Hulk a hero or a villain? That's the key question, when you look at it fairly. I've often pondered on this over years and I doubt I am alone here.
On one hand, during rare alien threats he's saved many lives by protecting the world. But, it is his world he is guarding. A territorial pitbull will protect it's own garden. This doesn't mitigate his tendency to cause destruction, chaos and death.
Bruce Banner and the Hulk remind me of my bipolar affective disorder, going on the similarities. I can sympathise with Bruce Banner as he tries to hold back his anger, but then, his eyes turn green and it's too late—Hulks rage manifests! Bipolar rage is a real thing and even though my eyes remain brown, I could hurl, a mole hill. Mania can have far-reaching consequences. However, nothing reduces Hulk to whimpering and the excessive laziness of depression; he's not partial to crying with laughter, or bouts of creativity, neither does this green guy have to discourage himself from self obliteration—his thing is rage.
Even though Hulk's a fictional character, the issues he raises are very real. How do we deal with people who have the potential to cause great harm, even if they don't intend to? How do we balance the need to protect society with the rights of a human being, cursed to be a walking maelstrom of power?
If we turn back to the Hulk, we might recognise that he is neither entirely good nor fully evil. However, it is Bruce Banner who lives as the tormented bearer of the guilt. He's challenged with a Jekyll and Hyde type dilemma, which, is not his fault at all—he's ill-fated with the burden of self control. Perhaps it's that complexity, that duality, which makes him such a compelling character.
In some ways, the Hulk can be seen as a metaphor for the human condition itself. I never wanted to be The Hulk when I was a child I wanted to be Superman or Luke Skywalker.
Bruce Banner's struggles were a constant theme in his television show that aired in the eighties. At the end of each episode Banner walked away, sad and alone, while the most upsetting piano outro music enticed viewers to pity him.
It is true, when Banner fails to control his rage, there's a sense that The Hulk is trying to do the right thing, regardless of any unwanted destruction he's ultimately motivated by a desire to protect others.
Be that as it is, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Many truths would escape the story of a mountain throwing rage monster, which is in all fairness, framed as a superhero. In Age of Ultron, for example, Hulk rampages the city; cars are crushed (all empty of course) and Hulk boots a police vehicle into two police officers, which an impact that should've killed them—that's the point.
There are clips showing healthy young people knocked flying by his violent tantrums; toddlers and old people weren't present, because, well. . . they would be killed or seriously hurt and that villainises the green hero. On the silver screen, his recklessness reminds me the entitlement of the seven in The Boys.
So, The Hulk be less of a benefit and more of a menace to society. The answer, as with so many things, is straight forward. Hulk is a powerful force, done, but still commits these crimes. Murders can do charitable deeds. The courts never let the accused walk free, simply because they've also done good things.
In the end, The Hulk is a versatile character who can easily fit the hero or villain, monster or a rescuer role. He is contradiction and embodies our human primal nature. The carnage, death and terror causes by the Hulk should be featured more often, he is a monster after all, just like us humans. I see him as a bad guy, a monster with a makeover.