| > Rooting for the protagonist is not the be all and end of all any intimate experience with a narrative. |
It is for me - but you raise a good point. I've heard it said that most Americans don't like the literary form known as tragedy. I suspect this is true, although I have no data to support that suspicion. But I know this: I personally don't like the literary form known as tragedy, which is, I think, what Hulk stories often are.
| > For me, it was exactly the fact that the movies and other media focused on Banner that had me interested. Hulk's actual comic gets really boring really fast when its just about Hulk. In fact, for a self-admittedly "less cerebral" movie, The Incredible Hulk put forth an interestingly profound thought that made me really stop to think.|
I could read stories about the Green Guy till the sun goes nova. But that's because the Hulk almost always wins his fights. He may lose in other ways, but I can at least root for him to win his fights, and he does, and I'm satisfied.
| > When Banner and Betty are driving in the car to see the mysterious Mr. Blue we get to see deep into Banner's motivations toward the Hulk - he wants to destroy it. He doesn't want to learn to live with it, and have tea and crumpets with it, and get along all howdy-do. He wants the monster dead. This is an allegory we should all relate to. We all have a bad side, but we can't just destroy it either. It's a part of who we are.|
True. And philosophucally interesting. But cinematically boring to me personally.
| > Banner's drive to eliminate the Hulk is unbalanced - he's not seeking balance with it - and so he is doomed. This has all the makings of a superb tragedy (sadly its a serial so we'll never really see that). What should make this work is that the Hulk should be unpredictable and scary (which they got a bit of in this movie). Stan Lee's original concept had a man transforming at night into something that didn't act like him, believe in the same things, etc. That should be terrifying.|
As you say - a superb tragedy. It would have been emotionally impactful if the Hulk had accidentally killed Betty. Superb tragedy. I understand it. But I don't have any part of me that wants to experience it.
| > Look at it from this perspective: You root for the Hulk, but his motivations are just as incompatible as Banner's. The Hulk's main goal in life is to be left alone:|
And to win his fights. If he isn't left alone, then he fights, and he wants to win, and he does win. This is satisfying.