10 Things No MCU Fan Will Admit About Hulk

  • Hulk seemingly isn't actually the strongest Avenger in the MCU, as other heroes like Captain Marvel and Thor have more versatile powers.
  • The MCU has failed to do justice to Hulk's supporting characters like Betty Ross and Leonard Samson, and also the Hulk himself.
  • Banner's transformation rules have been only loosely fleshed out, creating confusion regarding some plot elements.
Though Hulk is one of the MCU's founding Avengers, there are several things about Marvel's resident green behemoth that MCU fans won't admit. First introduced into the MCU’s movie timeline in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, the infamously angry green giant has been a staple of the franchise ever since. Hulk’s story has been inextricably linked to that of the MCU’s Avengers, firmly establishing him as one of the franchise’s biggest and most important figures.
Despite having appeared in many movies in the MCU, the franchise’s iteration of Hulk isn’t without his issues. As he’s considered by far the best live-action adaptation of the character, it seems that many fans are all too willing to overlook his shortcomings within the franchise, particularly where it pertains to the way the MCU has handled his story. With that in mind, here are 10 things that no MCU fan will admit about Hulk.
The Incredible Hulk PG-13
Director Louis Leterrier Release Date June 13, 2008 Runtime 112 minutes Related Every Upcoming Marvel Movie: Full MCU Phase 5 & 6 List (& Beyond) Between Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures Entertainment, here is every upcoming Marvel movie release date and what we know about the projects so far. 10 Hulk Isn’t The Strongest Avenger Other Avengers Have More Versatile Powers Than Hulk Close Though Hulk is commonly considered the MCU’s strongest Avenger, there is no real evidence to back this up in the franchise itself. Hulk’s MCU story has featured a number of impressive displays of power, but there are distinct limitations to his abilities. After merging his Hulk and Banner personas, he possesses incredible strength, remarkable resilience, and a towering scientific intellect, but that still places him below other Avengers in terms of overall power.
The most powerful Avengers in the MCU are those that are uniquely versatile. Carol Danvers’ Captain Marvel, for instance, has an array of abilities that make her a cosmic powerhouse, and Hulk’s fellow founding Avenger Thor enjoys the physiology of a god and the ability to harness the power of lightning. Even the magical abilities of Doctor Strange are enough to comparatively prove that Hulk simply isn’t the strongest Avenger.
9 Hulk’s Supporting Characters Deserved Better The MCU Failed Some Of Its Earliest Supporting Characters Close Hulk has faced many injustices since his introduction into the MCU, but some affect more than just the hero himself. 2008’s The Incredible Hulk introduced multiple characters into the franchise, seemingly establishing their importance to the continuity and heavily implying their return. However, the likes of Betty Ross, Samuel Sterns, and Leonard Samson have been completely neglected ever since, without even being afforded so much as a mention in the franchise.
Marvel faced distinct obstacles in doing justice to those characters, but the fact remains that the MCU has failed Hulk’s established supporting characters. Betty Ross is the most notable example, as the romantic story between her and Bruce was dropped, and Hulk instead became emotionally involved with Natasha Romanoff. This presents narrative challenges to bringing Betty back into the MCU in Captain America: Brave New World’s cast, and her long absence, along with that of other characters, will be difficult to adequately explain.
8 Hulk’s Infinity War Absence Was Completely Illogical Banner's Transformation Issues Were Poorly Explained Close Avengers: Infinity War proved to be something of a transitional period for Bruce Banner, but the franchise’s approach to the idea was poorly written. After the events of Thor: Ragnarok, in which it’s revealed the Hulk persona has taken charge for some time, Banner explains that he has been experiencing difficulties in transforming after his fight with Thanos. Throughout the movie, Hulk is unable to appear, and Banner instead wears the Hulkbuster armor for the Battle of Wakanda.
Banner’s inability to transform into Hulk makes very little sense as presented in the movie. As Hulk’s emergence has been explained to be a result of adrenaline or a raised heart rate, it makes no sense that such biological functions wouldn’t trigger a transformation. Though there are many simple ways to explain why this is the case, Infinity War neglects to explore them, simply depicting Banner’s frustration at being unable to become the Hulk.
7 Smart Hulk Is Way Too Boring For The MCU Without Conflict, Hulk Is Much Less Interesting Close Despite Hulk only having had a single solo outing in the MCU, the franchise has seen him undergo a respectable amount of character development. Hulk’s transformation from an unstable and unreliable hero into one of the franchise’s most dependable figures is remarkable, and has mostly been facilitated by his Smart Hulk persona. The reconciliation between the identities of Bruce Banner and the Hulk has allowed them to enjoy Banner’s intellect and Hulk’s raw power, but this isn’t as good for the MCU as it may seem.
With Banner’s self-regulating abilities and rational mind and Hulk’s uncontrollable nature now under control, the character has lost his inner conflict. Internal struggles have always been the key to any Hulk story, with the tentative balance between identities often brought to the fore. The MCU has seemingly done anyway with any such conflict, potentially making Hulk the franchise’s most boring hero.
6 Banner’s Relationship With General Ross Makes No Sense The Pair's History Has Been Overlooked For Far Too Long Close There are many Hulk stories that the MCU must finish, but there is only one that should have been addressed long ago. 2008’s The Incredible Hulk introduced many supporting characters to the franchise, but few were as important as General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross. Other than the Hulk himself, General Ross was the only supporting character to immediately play a role in the MCU in the years that followed. In spite of this, Ross and Banner’s history was never adequately addressed.
The Incredible Hulk saw the pair clash repeatedly as Ross attempted to capture Banner. The movie ends with the pair in a tentative alliance, but Ross’ later appearance in MCU movies didn’t acknowledge their past. Ross has had numerous run-ins with the Avengers in the years since, but never with Banner himself, which seems incredibly unlikely from a purely narrative perspective.
5 Hulk Never Should Have Been Made An Avenger Banner Was An Unnecessary Liability For SHIELD Close The end of the MCU’s Phase 1 saw Bruce Banner recruited as a scientific consultant for the Avengers, later transforming into the Hulk and fighting as part of the team. The explanation given in the movie is that Banner’s expertise in gamma radiation is the real reason he was brought in, but this is actually incredibly reckless on SHIELD’s part. Banner’s inability to control his transformations into the Hulk at the time made him nothing short of a liability.
In fact, Banner himself acknowledges this in The Avengers, and is routinely ignored. SHIELD’s contingency is a purpose-built chamber for containing the Hulk, but this seems a needlessly expensive addition when the more reasonable decision would be to have Banner work remotely. Regardless, the fact remains that Banner being recruited at all was canonically a terrible idea, and no matter how well it turned out, he probably shouldn’t have been made an Avenger in the first place.
4 The MCU Wasted Hulk’s Most Interesting Story Banner's Smart Hulk Transformation Was Badly Handled Close The most significant moment in Hulk’s MCU story was epically fumbled by Marvel, and many fans seem to ignore it. After being unable to transform into the Hulk during the events of Avengers: Infinity War, the five-year period leading up to the sequel were a busy period for Bruce Banner. When he’s introduced in Avengers: Endgame, he has been able to transform himself into Smart Hulk, a merging of both Banner and Hulk’s best qualities.
The fact that this major story development happened off-screen was nothing short of a travesty. It was Hulk’s most significant moment in his entire MCU story, and the franchise simply swept past it without even attempting to depict it. The introduction of Smart Hulk itself should have been an exciting and triumphant moment for the hero, but the underwhelming way that Marvel delivered it made it a low point in the franchise.
3 Marvel Are Afraid To Give Hulk Another Solo Movie Rights Issues Are Not Hulk's Only Problem Close Ever since Hulk’s initial introduction, there have been various issues surrounding the movie rights to the character, particularly where it concerns his solo movies. This is widely considered the main reason that Hulk has only had a single solo outing in the MCU, and why the franchise has seemingly neglected the hero. However, even if the Hulk rights have returned to Marvel Studios as is thought, there's still potentially an issue for Hulk’s MCU future.
Of all the heroes in the MCU, Hulk is one of the few with a respectably long history in film and TV. Sadly, many previous solo outings by the character have proved disastrous, failing to impress critics or audiences alike and, on occasion, tanking at the box office. This history, combined with the more bankable results of using Hulk as a supporting hero, paint a picture of the MCU’s planned future of Hulk, and it may potentially mean that a new solo movie will not be as forthcoming as many fans hope.
2 Hulk Only Works When He’s The Comic Relief Serious Hulk Stories Have Struggled Historically Close The MCU’s introduction of Hulk is commonly regarded as one of the franchise’s worst movies. In comparison to other MCU movies, The Incredible Hulk is overly serious and decidedly dull, owing largely to the lack of any real levity in the hero’s franchise debut. After the role was recast with Mark Ruffalo, the character has taken on a more comedic and light-hearted edge, helping to keep the MCU’s established atmosphere alive.
Since then, Hulk has provided multiple moments of memorable hilarity in the MCU. Being used as the comic relief or the unwitting butt of other heroes’ jokes makes Hulk less serious, dispelling some of the less playful elements of the character. Since his transformation into Smart Hulk, the addition of self-deprecating humor has ramped this up considerably, but it all sadly paints a picture of a hero who only works when he’s the comic relief.
1 The MCU Has No Idea What To Do With Hulk Hulk Being A Wild Card Is A Poor Use Of The Character Close Across the MCU’s timeline, there has been only one constant surrounding the Hulk: the franchise doesn’t appear to know what to do with him. In comparison to other heroes, Hulk has been used sparingly, only appearing as a supporting character even in stories he’s directly concerned with. Instead of being a full-fledged hero like his fellow Avengers, Hulk has been employed in many ways within the MCU.
Sometimes, the franchise treats Hulk as its resident unreliable hero, and other times, he’s the most powerful Avenger. On occasion, he’s written to be a purely scientific advisor, and others still he’s simply an unwanted presence who poses a danger to everyone around him. From all of this, it seems clear that the MCU doesn’t really know what to do with the Hulk, as it keeps using him to solve whichever situation is at hand rather than nailing down a single characterization.


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