“Mr. McGee, don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.” Bill Bixby! Lou Ferrigno! Jack Colvin! Susan Sullivan! William Daniels! Kenneth Johnson! The great superhero movie rewatch tackles the two Incredible Hulk movies that led to the iconic TV series.
Part of it is also that the essence of the Hulk was kept intact. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s original comics were inspired partly by Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, and that duality of Banner’s Jekyll with the Hulk’s Hyde is very much intact here. In addition, Kirby has said that part of his inspiration for the Hulk was a story of a mother who rescued her son from a car—the very same tale told to Banner and Marks in their study in the first movie.
The best adaptations are ones that keep the spirit of the source material, and understand the basics of what makes the story what it is. Details can be changed or fixed, but as long as the story is still fundamentally what it’s supposed to be, then it can work.