Mark Ruffalo has made the role of Bruce Banner his own over the last decade, but there are still plenty of purists out there who’ll never be able to look past Lou Ferrigno painted green as the definitive version of the comic book icon. The Incredible Hulk was a major TV hit during its stint on the airwaves, and creator Kenneth Johnson hasn’t exactly been thrilled with the subsequent outings for the scientist-turned-superhero on the big screen.
So far, we’ve seen Ang Lee and Eric Bana collaborate on 2003’s experimental Hulk, before Louis Leterrier and Edward Norton brought the giant rage monster into the fledgling Marvel Cinematic Universe five years later. Since being recast with Ruffalo, Dr. Banner has appeared in four Avengers flicks, Thor: Ragnarok, and She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, as well as making cameo appearances in Iron Man 3, Captain Marvel, and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
While Johnson isn’t obligated to love every iteration of the Hulk, he did reveal in an interview with Inverse that one blockbuster outing for the character wasn’t just his least favorite version, but perhaps the worst movie he’s ever seen.
“When they did the first movie, the one Ang Lee directed, Louie invited me to the premiere and I took my wife. A little while into the movie, she leaned over to me and said, “Is it me, or is this the worst movie I’ve ever seen in my life?” I told her to give it time, but it just got worse and worse. The only line that got a rise out of people was when he said, “Don’t make me angry, you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry,” everyone cheered for that. After it was over, everyone was trying to sneak out of the theater and one of the Variety reporters came up to me and said, “Mr. Johnson, don’t make me Ang Lee, you wouldn’t like me when I’m Ang Lee.” True story.”
He did admit that he thinks Ruffalo has done a solid job with the part, but just like Ferrigno, he laments the over-reliance on CGI to bring the Hulk to life. Lee’s misfire was polarizing at the time, and it remains divisive now, but it sounds as though Johnson may actively despise it more than most.