We Finally Understand The Incredible Hulk MCU Trilogy
The Hulk has been a popular fixture in the MCU for years. But it wasn't until later films, like Thor: Ragnarok, Infinity War and Endgame, that the Hulk narrative was really let off the leash. Here's a run-down of the Hulk's hidden MCU trilogy.
Hulk kicked things off in the MCU back in 2008 with The Incredible Hulk. The story wasn't exactly a bad one, but it wasn't a great one, either, especially considering the caliber of so many of the Marvel movies that came after it. Part of the issue with Hulk's non-starter in the MCU was the fact that the movie picked up partway into the story and proceeded to go…kinda nowhere.
The movie introduces Banner after he's already become the Hulk, skipping right over his infamous gamma radiation incident in the process. Of course, that doesn't automatically equate to a negative, Captain Marvel also jumps right into the story as it's already developing. The difference, however, is that Carol Danvers' film circles back around to show how she got her superpowers. The Incredible Hulk simply charges ahead, assuming everyone already knows about the whole gamma radiation thing.
Things still could have turned out alright if the film had ended in an appropriate place, but, once again, it manages to drop the ball. While the climactic fight against Abomination is fun, the movie ends with Banner finally coming to terms with Hulk…which would have been great, if Marvel didn't then retcon it in The Avengers.
Sadly, a meandering storyline is just the beginning of The Incredible Hulk's problems. Another issue with the film is its excessively serious nature, which contrasts starkly against Iron Man's light and witty tone. Edward Norton's version of Bruce Banner is sulky, serious, and spends most of the film depressed. While the character is certainly an improvement over the version seen in Ang Lee's Hulk, which came out half a decade earlier, it just doesn't fit the MCU's tone. The movie just feels like it belongs in an entirely different universe than that of Tony Stark.
Another complication that surfaced was the growing tension between Norton and Marvel Studios. That's not to say that Norton wasn't committed to the role, on the contrary, the Academy Award-nominated actor brought a lot of vision and depth to the character. But when the rubber hit the road, things just didn't fit well behind the scenes. In the ensuing fallout, the actor and the studio parted ways, not on the most pleasant of terms, and the Hulk found himself at a crossroads. Keep watching the video because we finally understand the Incredible Hulk MCU trilogy!
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The not-so-incredible Hulk | 0:14
A hot mess | 1:17
The Universal factor | 2:10
Another way | 3:03
Ultron to Ragnarok | 4:14
The Revenger | 5:11
The Infinity War dilemma | 6:24
Showdown | 7:30
A refined personality | 8:25
Hulk snap | 9:21