The Incredible Hulk
Marvel started off their vision of a connected superhero franchise with a very solid foundation: 2008’s Iron Man. Only a month after the release of Iron Man, Marvel used their recently reacquired rights for the Hulk character to create The Incredible Hulk.
The second film in our MCU walkthrough takes place very quickly after Iron Man. Almost a little too quickly, and effectively gives the movie a sort of rushed, apologetic depiction of the Hulk character.
Earlier in 2003, Ang Lee directed Hulk, which was received very negatively due to Ang Lee’s artistic depiction of the Hulk character. Where Lee’s Hulk seemed more dramatic and more like a hermit or a monk, Louis’s Leterrier’s 2008 Hulk appeals to the other extreme. To the smash-mouth, blunt instrument-with-a-face fans of the character. Originally Leterrier began directing The Incredible Hulk as a loose sequel to Lee’s 2003 version of the character. However, as the editing and production process continued, he and the company started from scratch and began to mold the movie such that it was more similar to the comic nature of the character. Complete with video-game level boss fights, exploding cars, and carnage galore, The Incredible Hulk was created with a budget of $150 million and earned over $260 million at the box office.
Who is the Hulk?
The Hulk is the large, powerful, and wrathful alter-ego of Bruce Banner, a quiet, socially awkward, and emotionally withdrawn scientist. Banner falls subject to an accidental exposure of super radiated gamma rays during a test of a top secret experimental bomb. It is in that moment that the Hulk is born, and Banner’s journey between rage and peace is created.
In the 2008 Incredible Hulk, we meet a Bruce Banner who has already become the Hulk for 5 years. Leterrier intelligently uses the opening credits as a device to explain the Hulk’s origin, without one word being said. Bruce Banner has fled the country to search for a cure for his unique condition, as well as keep those he cares about away from potential danger. With the military around every corner, Banner finds himself back in America, and turns to his colleague for help with his disease. Meanwhile, the military begins to experiment in creating their own “Super Soldier” serum to create a Hulk-like weapon. (Remember that phrase: “Super Soldier”.) He attempts and seemingly cures himself, only to be ushered back as the Hulk to stop the military Hulk-esque weapon identified as the Abomination.
The Incredible Hulk (2008) loosely used comic inspiration from 1962’s The Incredible Hulk #1 as well as Ultimate Marvel Team-Up #2 written by BMB (Brian Michael Bendis) and drawn by Phil Hester.
Wait, is that Tony Stark? All of these movies are going to connect?
Tony Starks briefly appears in this movie right before the credits to speak with a drunk and dejected General Ross. Tony informs general Ross that he knew the Super Soldier serum wasn’t going to work and informs him that he is putting a team together.
You may recall, at the end of Iron Man, Nick Fury explaining to Tony Stark the Avengers Initiative. But why would Tony Stark talk to General Ross? Wasn’t he in charge of creating the Abomination and tried to attack Bruce Banner?
Many people were confused about that post-credit scene, and Kevin Feige himself addressed the scene. Kevin explains that The Incredible Hulk “easter egg” almost screwed up the entire big picture for Marvel’s extended universe. “I will say that the Tony Stark cameo in The Incredible Hulk required us to back ourselves out of a corner,” Fiege said, referring to the to the post-credit scene. “The Hulk is an exile and we do not follow up on that scene in a narrative way in any of the subsequent features. But we have a way to explain that.” Looks like this Kevin Feige character knows how to weave a story together. Let us see what does next!