Starring Edward Norton, The Incredible Hulk is one of the MCU’s most disliked entries. But the Bruce Banner film has some quotes worth remembering.
Looking back at the entirety of the MCU thus far, The Incredible Hulk always sticks out like a sore thumb. The movie was only the second film in the franchise at that point, but it fell far short of the massive success of Iron Man.
“Don’t Make Me Hungry. You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Hungry.”
Part of the reason Edward Norton wanted to make this movie was because of his love of the Incredible Hulk television series from the 1970s. Indeed, this movie does pay homage to the show several times, including using its famous catchphrase, albeit with a humorous new take.
When Bruce Banner is hiding out in Portugal, he still can’t help but play the hero. After confronting some local tough guys, he gives them a warning about making him angry. Unfortunately, his Portuguese is a little rusty.
“And Something Went Very Wrong… Or It Went Very Right.”
Though the rest of the MCU has pretty much ignored this movie, one character from the film that has made further appearances is General Ross, played by William Hurt. This take on Ross is rather villainous as he hunts Banner obsessively.
As Ross is explaining how Banner became Hulk, with a clever nod to Captain America’s super-soldier serum, the truth of Ross’ obsession is revealed. He is not hunting Banner because he is dangerous; he is hunting him because he wants to use Hulk as a weapon.
“Me In A Metal Tube, Deep Underground With Hundreds Of People In The Most Aggressive City In The World?”
Part of the reason this film seemed to disappoint fans could be its serious tone. While superhero movies can be dark and gritty, after the fun of Iron Man, viewers might have been wanting a similar vibe for the Hulk adventure.
However, the movie does have some nice comedic moments peppered throughout. In one moment, Bruce and Betty Ross are trying to determine the fastest way to into New York City. While Betty suggests the subway, Bruce points out that might not be the wisest choice.
“Leave Me Alone.”
While it would still be several years before Smart Hulk makes an appearance, this film does give us some brief moments of Hulk speaking. Given that this is likely the most violent version of Hulk seen in the MCU, it’s interesting to get some insight into his mind.
During one of the first fight sequences with Hulk, he is taking on Ross’ forces and growls at his enemies “Leave me alone.” It’s fascinating to consider if this is Banner’s consciousness talking through Hulk or if Hulk’s personality doesn’t want to fight either.
“Why Are You Always Hitting People?”
It’s a shame that the failure of this movie seemed to stop any solo Hulk films from moving forward as the movie does set up some compelling places for the sequel to go. One of the most exciting hints is the inclusion of Samuel Sterns, who would eventually become the villain the Leader.
Sterns is played by Tim Blake Nelson in this film, and though he doesn’t have much to do, he adds a much-needed spark to the third act. Nelson gets some good laughs in his brief appearance, especially with his matter-of-fact reaction to the villainous Blonsky killing someone in front of him.
The climax of the film finds Blonsky transformed into the monstrous Abomination, who begins to wreak havoc in New York City. In an effort to handle the powerful villain, Banner decides to use Hulk for good for once.
While flying over New York, Banner jumps from the plane, planning to summon Hulk as he falls. But as he hurtles toward the ground, Banner realizes it’s not working and can only mutter “Oh s**t” before smashing into the pavement below. Luckily, that wakes Hulk up.
“Give Me A Real Fight.”
One of the biggest problems with this film is the same issue that plagued many early MCU offerings — a weak villain. Tim Roth’s Blonsky never really feels like the intimidating badass the movie wants us to think he is, and there’s not much character development.
However, once Blonsky becomes Abomination, he at least becomes a real threat. It shows how terrible Hulk could be if Banner didn’t have a bit of control over him. Abomination destroys everything in sight, all to challenge Hulk just so he can have a real match.
“I Don’t Want To Control It. I Want To Get Rid Of It.”
Since this is Hulk’s only solo film in the MCU to date, the movies have not had a chance to explore the character as thoroughly as some of the other Avengers. However, it is interesting to see how the character has changed from here to Avengers: Endgame.
After Betty is rescued by Hulk, she tries to convince Bruce that part of him is inside Hulk and perhaps they can live symbiotically. While Banner is adamant that he just wants a cure, this is the realization he eventually comes to in Endgame.
The climactic fight between Hulk and Abomination could have been the thing that elevates it from a forgotten MCU film to a pretty good one. Unfortunately, the extended action sequence also highlights one of the major problems with a Hulk movie, in that it’s not a lot of fun seeing two CGI characters smash into each other over and over again.
While the fight is overall disappointing, Hulk does get a moment to shine at the end. As Abomination gets ready to finish off Betty, Hulk gives his catchphrase and goes berserk on this enemy.
“What If I Told You We Were Putting A Team Together?”
Despite Norton exiting the MCU after this movie, the Bruce Banner character is brought into the MCU fold with this final scene. As General Ross drinks his troubles away in a bar, he gets an unexpected visit from Tony Stark.
After Stark gives Ross some much-deserved teasing, he drops a little proposal. Stark asks “What if I told you we were putting a team together?” and a curious Ross replies “Who’s ‘we’?” It doesn’t make a lot of sense for what follows, but it is one more piece in the MCU puzzle.
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