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The Arkham Sessions, Ep. 163: ‘The Incredible Hulk’

The Arkham Sessions, hosted by Dr. Andrea Letamendi and Brian Ward, is a weekly podcast dedicated to the psychological analysis of pop culture, including Batman: The Animated Series, Steven Universe, the MCU, and Doom Patrol. Nostalgic, humorous, and even a little educational, each episode promises to lend some insight into the heroes, villains, and classic stories of the Dark Knight and more!

The Arkham Sessions, Ep. 163 – The Incredible Hulk

“You won’t like me when I’m angry.”

But…what if you’re just …excited? We rewatch The Incredible Hulk (2008) from Phase 1 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as part of our psychological review of the entire film franchise leading up to Loki.

Bruce Banner (Ed Norton) is searching for a cure for his green monster ailment by constantly monitoring his heart rate and trying to keep his body from getting too excited. Even though his trigger seems to be any intense emotion, he certainly is pretty angry when he transforms into the Hulk. We are unimpressed with this version of Hulk, but do note that some of the techniques used by Bruce Banner to regulate his emotions are backed by real research. We discuss the benefits of diaphrammatic breathing – a technique used by anxiety specialists to help clients calm the body and reduce panic symptoms – and give a brief demo on how the exercise can be completed.

Additionally, the comic book character the Incredible Hulk has often been used by laypersons and mental health specialists as a portrayal of mental disorders. As always, the misconceptions are noted and clarified. For instance, Bipolar Disorder and Multiple Personality Disorder (now called Dissociative Identity Disorder) are very commonly attributed to Hulk. Drea describes the features of these mental health conditions and “rules out” ones that are likely not relevant to the experiences we see in Edward Norton’s version.



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