The Rebel Trilogy: Adapted Masculinity in Ang Lee’s Ride with the Devil (1999), Hulk (2003), and Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (2016)

Jason G. Coe

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The Rebel Trilogy portrays young men who inhabit traditional archetypes of hegemonic masculinity while also rebelling against patriarchal exploitation. Adapted from Daniel Woodrell’s civil war novel Woe to Live On (1987), Ride with the Devil (1999) is an epic western that showcases the difficult choices made by a marginal masculine subject when confronted with no-win situations. Adapting the Marvel comic superhero created by Stan Lee, Hulk (2004) uses then-nascent CGI, to portray the origin story of its titular nuclear-powered protagonist with added backstory regarding his psychological development as a product of domestic abuse. The first feature film shot in 4k and at 120 FPS, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (2016) adapts Ben Fountain’s same-titled war drama about a reluctant celebrity-soldier. All three films focus on the psychological experience of young men coming-of-age under the constraints of hegemonic masculinity, replicating the norms and conventions of the dominant status quo while also rebelling against their patriarchal, heteronormative, and commercialist values. Likewise, Lee and his collaborators made adaptive choices guided by a dialectic between creative agency and market constraints. This essay argues that the Rebel Trilogy’s failure to find mainstream acceptance illustrates a struggle over fidelity to the generic conventions of hegemonic masculinity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Global Literary Adaptation in the Twenty-First Century
EditorsBrandon Chua, Elizabeth Ho
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781003038368
ISBN (Print)9780367481704, 9781032425597
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2023

Publication series

NameRoutledge Literature Companions

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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