Dr. David 'Dave' Banner is the main antagonist in the 2003 film Hulk.
He was portrayed by Nick Nolte.
David Banner is a mentally unstable scientist who conducts research into genetics in an attempt to increase the efficiency of the human body's immune system. He ends up experimenting on himself after being denied permission to conduct human trials, though the military eventually find out about this and his laboratory is shut down by General Thunderbolt Ross. In his rage, Banner triggers an immense gamma explosion and accidentally kills his wife before being taken to a mental institution, where he resides for thirty years. Banner's son, Bruce, grows up believing that both his parents died when he was a child, unaware that his father has passed his unnatural DNA onto him.
Many years later, Banner locates Bruce (who is now also a scientist) and poses as a janitor at his laboratory in order to keep an eye on him. After Bruce is exposed to gamma radiation and survives, Banner meets with him in his room and reveals to him that he is his father. He slyly takes some of Bruce's hair with which to conduct his own experiments, allowing him to successfully alter the DNA of his pet dogs. Bruce later transforms into the Hulk and destroys much of his laboratory, though when he returns to normal he cannot recall what happened. Bruce's co-research partner and General Ross' daughter, Betty, goes to Banner's house to find out more about Bruce's past, and Banner later sends his mutated dogs to track her down and kill her. He also phones Bruce to let him know this, prompting him to transform into the Hulk and save Betty. However, Bruce is then captured by General Ross' team, who believes that he is a danger.
Later on, Banner infiltrates Bruce's laboratory and exposes himself to the gamma radiation, allowing himself to merge and absorb the properties of any material he comes in contact with. He then meets with Betty at her house and requests that she inform her father that he is prepared to give himself in, in exchange for seeing Bruce one last time. General Ross agrees and Banner speaks with a tied-down Bruce, claiming that he wishes to see his 'real' son, the Hulk. Banner secretly intends to absorb the Hulk's power to become stronger, but Bruce refuses to transform. Banner then grabs an electricity cable and bites into it, absorbing the current and transforming into a large electrical being. Bruce finally turns back into the Hulk and tackles his mutated father into the sky, where they eventually land in a lake. The pair continues to fight until Banner absorbs the lake itself and freezes Bruce inside it, holding him in place while he drains him of his power. Bruce then releases all of his power in a single surge, taking Banner by surprise and overwhelming him. As he absorbs more and more power without the ability to stop, Banner takes on the form of a gigantic bubble of energy that he cannot control. At the same time, General Ross pinpoints their location and fires a gamma bomb at them which annihilates Banner, though Bruce survives. However, after his death Bruce remembers Banner tucking him into bed as a kid saying "sweet dreams" which probably means that his father still loved him.
Powers and Abilities
- David Banner shares a name with the protagonist of the 1970's and 1980's live-action version of the Hulk character as played by Bill Bixby, and was possibly named as an homage to him.