One of the earliest Marvel Cinematic Universe installments, The Incredible Hulk, receives the Honest Trailers treatment ahead of Avengers: Infinity War's release. Much has already been said about 2018 being the 10-year anniversary of the MCU, as the whole franchise started back in 2008 with Iron Man. However, that origin story wasn't the only Marvel movie to hit theaters that summer. Just one month after Robert Downey, Jr. charmed audiences as Tony Stark, viewers saw Edward Norton play Bruce Banner in his first (and only) turn as the Hulk.
In the decade since, The Incredible Hulk has become something of a forgotten entry in the series. The tease that Samuel Sterns would become The Leader never manifested itself, Liv Tyler's Betty Ross is no longer Bruce's love interest, and William Hurt reprising Thaddeus Ross in Civil War is really the only meaningful connective tissue between it and the rest of the shared universe. While it's easy to overlook The Incredible Hulk, the gang at ScreenJunkies looks back at it through their trademark lens in the latest Honest Trailer. You can check it out for yourself in the space above.
Edward Norton's involvement is one of the first topics addressed, as the actor did more than just star as Banner. Some fans may recall the Oscar nominee also rewrote the script (though he was uncredited), which was part of his contract with Marvel. Norton is notorious for his prickly reputation behind-the-scenes, and that may be the main reason he's no longer involved with the franchise. There's no denying it's disappointing Norton never returned to play Hulk again, but it's safe to say things worked out for the best. Mark Ruffalo is now a fan-favorite as Bruce Banner, and Norton has stayed busy working on films like Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel.
With the MCU now a $14 billion enterprise that continues to grow, it's almost humorous to consider there was a time where their films were not ironclad locks at the box office. The Incredible Hulk will likely forever be the franchise's lowest-grossing installment, earning just $263.4 million worldwide for its entire run. As the Honest Trailer points out, that's in the ballpark of 2011's Green Lantern. Nowadays, Black Panther breaks records and even Ant-Man draws sizable crowds - a testament to Marvel's brand strength. It took them a few years to earn the trust of moviegoers around the globe, and there were some bumps along the road. The Incredible Hulk is definitely of an era when Marvel was still trying to figure out what exactly they had with the shared universe model. Hulk sports some rough edges that were ironed out by the end of Phase 1.
Funnily enough, The Incredible Hulk being the least successful MCU offering didn't set Marvel back at all. Due to Universal having the distribution rights to Hulk solo films, it seems unlikely Bruce Banner will headline his own vehicle again. Instead, the MCU has utilized him effectively as a supporting character in the Avengers movies and Thor: Ragnarok. The main purpose of The Incredible Hulk was to simply reboot Ang Lee's 2003 take and integrate the character into the MCU, and it did just that.
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019