• Follow us

Movies

Hulk’s Three-Movie Arc Didn’t Fix The Character’s MCU Problems

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has largely failed the Hulk - and even his recent three-film arc didn't fix the long-standing character problems. Both Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and actor Mark Ruffalo have suggested they see Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame as a loose "Hulk trilogy." Feige has always allowed actors themselves to have input into their characters' stories, and he and Ruffalo figured out a journey that they believed would work for the Hulk.

At heart, the Hulk is a Jekyll and Hyde-type character, and the MCU brought these two personas into a head-on collision. In Thor: Ragnarok, Thor was shocked to learn that the Hulk had been living on the planet Sakaar for two years, with the Banner identity completely submerged. When Bruce Banner was finally restored, he was shaken to learn just how long he'd been out, and feared he'd never return if he transformed again. Fortunately, Bruce was proven wrong; the arc took a twist in Avengers: Infinity War when the Hulk turned back into Banner and then refused to come out and play again. The story was resolved in Avengers: Endgame, which revealed that Bruce had managed to work out a solution, blending the two personalities into "Professor Hulk."

Continue scrolling to keep reading Click the button below to start this article in quick view. advertising

Related: What is the Hulk's Future After Avengers: Endgame?

On paper, this has the makings of a fascinating story; indeed, it's drawn from some of the best comics by Peter David. There's just one problem: it didn't come together to fix the issues that have plagued the Hulk since the early days of the MCU.

Hulk Was Limited By Character Movies Rights Marvel and Universal Hulk Rights

The Hulk is one of Marvel's most iconic superheroes, a brand almost as strong as the Jade Giant himself. For all that's the case, his big-screen presence in the MCU is pretty muted - and that's mostly due to legal issues. Marvel regained the production rights to the Hulk back in 2005, but the distribution rights still sit with Universal, who have the right of first refusal to distribute any future Hulk films. That wasn't a problem for 2008's The Incredible Hulk, because back then Marvel didn't have a distribution network of their own (all other Phase 1 films were distributed by Paramount). But in 2009, Marvel was purchased by Disney, who has one of the best film distribution networks in the world.

advertising

All that means Disney can only make more Hulk films if they offer them up to be distributed by a rival studio. Universal, for their part, seem to have no desire to give up the distribution rights. That led actor Mark Ruffalo to publicly complain about Universal. "I just want to make one thing perfectly clear today that a standalone Hulk movie will never happen," he fumed. "Because Universal has the rights to the standalone Hulk movie and for some reason they don't know how to play well with Marvel." Barring a massive change in corporate strategy at either Disney or Universal, The Incredible Hulk is the only solo Hulk film that will ever be made in the MCU.

advertising

This is why the character has exclusively been in team-ups and ensemble films since; Universal's option on the character only goes as far as solo movies. He can be a part of the Avengers or turn up to fight Thor without issue.

Related: Why Marvel Can't Make a Standalone MCU Hulk Movie

Early MCU Hulk Was Good But Undeveloped Hulk Avengers 2012

Edward Norton had originally played Bruce Banner in The Incredible Hulk, and was expected to reprise the role in The Avengers. Instead, Marvel chose to replace him with Mark Ruffalo. They released a terse statement that they were looking for "an actor who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members," a somewhat snide remark that they never explained. It seems pretty clear the two parties had some serious behind-the-scenes conflicts, possibly connected to Norton's extensive rewrites of The Incredible Hulk's script. Whatever the case, it meant that Marvel essentially reinvented the Hulk again in 2012's The Avengers.

advertising

It was a good call, and Mark Ruffalo is generally considered to be a far better Bruce Banner than Norton. What's more, Joss Whedon's Avengers script gave the Hulk quite an entertaining character arc, with Banner learning that the Hulk could be a force for good and actually choosing to unleash him during the Battle of New York. After that, though, Whedon struggled with Hulk in the sequel, 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron, choosing a rather left-field romance plot between Bruce Banner and Black Widow, which proved somewhat divisive given it has no comic book precedent and seemed to come from nowhere.

advertising

Underpinning the pivots was the unavoidable truth that both Bruce Banner and the Hulk were relatively undefined as characters in the MCU. All the other Avengers had important arcs that Whedon could either draw upon or (quite frequently) ignore; the Hulk was a blank slate. And Whedon only had so much time he could dedicate to the Green Goliath, meaning the Hulk never got the chance he deserved to shine.

Hulk’s Three-Movie Arc Was Simplistic & Disjointed Thor and Hulk in Ragnarok

That explains the context of the three-movie arc devised by Mark Ruffalo and Kevin Feige. They were aware the Hulk was being under-utilized, but also by now had come to accept the fact they'd never be able to make another solo Hulk film. The resulting three-movie character arc is, therefore, really something of a second-best; and, frankly, it's not a very good one. The basic concept is lifted from Peter David's classic "Professor Hulk" story, which treated the Hulk as a sort of multiple personality disorder, and forced the minds of Bruce Banner and the Hulk to confront one another.

advertising

Related: The Problem With Hulk In Avengers: Endgame

Unfortunately, Marvel Studios couldn't match David's story. There's a sense in which that was inevitable; David is a particularly skilled writer, and his Incredible Hulk run naturally focused on the titular character. In contrast, the Hulk was a secondary character in Thor: Ragnarok and part of a massive ensemble in both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.

While Thor: Ragnarok writer-director Taika Waititi set up the arc fairly well, the third and fourth Avengers films dropped the ball. It was unclear what was going on with the Hulk in Avengers: Infinity War; the Russo brothers spent months fielding questions about why the Hulk was scared of Thanos, which wasn't the story they'd been attempting to tell at all. Editing decisions meant Infinity War's Professor Hulk transformation was cut, and instead the biggest character moment in the Hulk's entire MCU history happened off-screen, with Bruce Banner apparently merging with the Hulk after spending eighteen months in a Gamma lab.

advertising

Instead, Hulk's defining part across all the movies was his snap to bring back Thanos' victims, something that doesn't at all rely on any of the journey to get there. The Peter David story was boiled down to its simplest elements, a story that was then told in a remarkably disjointed way.

It’s Going To Be Hard For Marvel To Fix Hulk In Phase 4 & Beyond

At this stage, it's hard not to conclude that the MCU has mostly wasted the Hulk's potential; and this is one problem that can't be cracked by eighteen months in a Gamma lab. Mark Ruffalo is believed to have just one more film left on his contract, and - because the conflict between Marvel and Universal is still unresolved - that means he'll be appearing in a final team-up movie. The Hulk's as-it-stands last outing will be as a secondary character, unable to fully get to the heart of his character once more.

advertising

Related: Hulk Was Injured In Ragnarok: Is That Why He Couldn't Beat Thanos?

After all, what Hulk story can Marvel tell? In the comics, Professor Hulk worked because it was a deviation from the status quo, a break from the norm that thrilled readers. Neither the Hulk nor Bruce Banner really has much of a status quo in the MCU to deviate from, which is one reason the Professor Hulk twist fell flat. Avengers: Endgame essentially left the Hulk unrecognizable, a brawny being whose mind seems more like Bruce Banner's than a blend of the two, weaker than before and with a permanently crippled arm. The MCU's Hulk could perhaps serve as a mentor to the next generation of Avengers before bowing out, but that's about it. And the Hulk deserved far more.

advertising

More: MCU Characters Missing From Marvel Phase 4

Key Release Dates Black Widow (2020) release date: May 01, 2020 Eternals (2020) release date: Nov 06, 2020 Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) release date: Feb 12, 2021 Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2021) release date: May 07, 2021 Thor: Love and Thunder (2021) release date: Nov 05, 2021

Tags: the incredible hulk, the avengers 3, thor 3, the avengers 4, hulk

Black Christmas 1974 Ending Explained Billy Black Christmas Original Movie Ending & Killer Identity Explained advertising Read More



Leave A Comment

More News

Screen Rant

Preacher's Going To Struggle To Give The Final New! 2019-09-17 08:09:34AMC's Preacher is coming to an end in two weeks - but that might not be enough time to give the series the send-off its fans deserve.

Rockstar Has Their Own Game Launcher (& It New! 2019-09-17 08:09:08The Rockstar Games Launcher is available now and is offering players a chance to download Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for free to celebrate.

Batman Films Ranked According To Rotten Tomatoes | New! 2019-09-17 07:09:40While everyone has their own opinions on which Batman film is best, the critics have their own ideas. Here is every Batman film ranked.

South Park: The Best Episode In Every Season, New! 2019-09-17 07:09:32South Park has been running for decades now and the show has had some incredible episodes over the years.

Game Of Thrones Will Win The Right Emmys New! 2019-09-17 07:09:29Game of Thrones will win some big awards at the 2019 Emmys, but while it'll deserve some of them, they're going to come for the wrong episodes.

Rise of Skywalker’s Star Destroyers Solve Palpatine’s Death New! 2019-09-17 07:09:25Star Wars may be bringing back Death Star technology in The Rise of Skywalker - but has the thermal exhaust port finally been fixed?

Saved By The Bell Sequel Series Announced, Focuses New! 2019-09-17 07:09:22NBCU announces a new Saved by the Bell sequel TV show that will focus on A.C. Slater and Jessie Spano for its Peacock streaming subscription service.

Fargo Season 4 Casts Timothy Olyphant In Key New! 2019-09-17 07:09:20Deadwood and Justified star Timothy Olyphant joins the already loaded cast of Noah Hawley's Fargo season 4 in the key role of Dick “Deafy&rdquo

Is Forrest Gump On Netflix? | Screen Rant New! 2019-09-17 07:09:20It’s a classic nineties movie and nabbed several Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor, but is Forrest Gump on Netflix?

The Big Bang Theory Streaming Rights Acquired By New! 2019-09-17 07:09:16HBO Max nabs the streaming rights to The Big Bang Theory, which will join Friends, Doctor Who, and dozens of other shows on the upcoming service.

Batman: Rihanna Wants To Play Poison Ivy (But New! 2019-09-17 07:09:13Rihanna wants to play the famous Batman villain Poison Ivy in Matt Reeves' The Batman, but hasn't been contacted by Warner Bros. just yet.

League Of Legends Has More Players Than Steam's New! 2019-09-17 07:09:12League of Legends has more concurrent daily players than Steam's top 10 games combined according to new information released by Riot Games.

Rolling Stone Latest Movies

Toronto 2019: ‘Jojo Rabbit,’ The Hitler Comedy Taika 2019-09-12 17:25:33One of the fest's most divisive films tries to weaponize a WWII coming-of-age story with sick humor—and largely succeeds

Review: ‘The Goldfinch’ Is a Stolen Opportunity 2019-09-12 15:17:24The only achievement in transferring Donna Tartt's 'The Goldfinch' from page to screen is that it's a botch job for the ages.

‘Midway’: Nick Jonas Portrays Fighter Pilot in Trailer 2019-09-12 13:00:49Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson, Luke Evans, Mandy Moore and Woody Harrelson co-star in Roland Emmerich's Battle of Midway blockbuster

Watch Tiffany Haddish, Rose Byrne Face Off Against 2019-09-12 10:54:26Two small business owners face off against a cosmetics titan

Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding Meet Cute to George 2019-09-12 09:03:14Emma Thompson co-stars, co-wrote screenplay to new rom-com featuring late Wham! singer's music

Jennifer Lopez Is a Divine Queenpin in ‘Hustlers’ 2019-09-11 08:42:57In director Lorene Scafaria's 'Hustlers,' Lopez's talent blossoms into something that takes your breath away

Millie Bobby Brown Is Developing a Netflix Film 2019-09-10 16:59:06Stranger Things star will adapt A Time Lost from original story

Toronto International Film Festival 2019: Photos 2019-09-10 13:53:02

Toronto 2019: ‘Joker’ and the Tears of an 2019-09-10 10:31:28Yes, Joaquin Phoenix delivers a chilling Joker for our current moment — but WTF is this blockbuster trying to do?

See James Corden’s Pennywise Look for Love on 2019-09-10 03:57:34He's not here to make friends

See Linda Hamilton, Mackenzie Davis Kick Ass in 2019-08-30 04:32:33The characters team up with Arnold Schwarzenegger's iconic terminator

Anthony Hopkins, Jonathan Pryce Lead the Catholic Church 2019-08-29 14:33:44Renowned actors star as Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis in new historical drama

FilmBook

IN THE TALL GRASS (2019) Movie Trailer: Patrick New! 2019-09-17 14:59:37  In the Tall Grass Trailer Vincenzo Natali‘s In the Tall Grass (2019) movie trailer has been released by Netflix and stars Patrick Wilson,

Peacock: NBC Names Streaming Service & Initial Movie New! 2019-09-17 13:45:47  NBCUniversal’s New Direct-to-Consumer Streaming Service Peacock and its Initial Line-up NBCUniversal has announced that Peacock

IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON (2019) Movie 2019-09-16 17:02:59  In the Shadow of the Moon Trailer Jim Mickle‘s In the Shadow of the Moon (2019) movie trailer has been released by Netflix and stars Boyd

BATTLE AT BIG ROCK (2019) Short Film: André 2019-09-16 14:52:16  Battle at Big Rock Short Film Colin Trevorrow‘s Battle at Big Rock (2019) short film stars André Holland, Melody Hurd, Natalie Mar

RADIOACTIVE (2019) Teaser Trailer: French Physicist Rosamund Pike 2019-09-16 13:53:27  Radioactive Trailer Marjane Satrapi‘s Radioactive (2019) teaser trailer has been released by Amazon Studios and stars Rosamund Pike,

TV Review: EVIL: Season 1, Episode 1: Pilot 2019-09-16 08:00:22  Evil Plot Review CBS‘s Evil: Season 1, Episode 1: Pilot from the 3rd Annual Tribeca TV Festival gives viewers a wild ride, delivering lau

LITTLE MONSTERS (2019) Red Band Movie Trailer 2: 2019-09-16 07:50:14  Little Monsters Red Band Trailer 2 Hulu has released the second red band movie trailer for Little Monsters (2019). The first red band movie tra

FORD V FERRARI (2019) Movie Trailer 2: Matt 2019-09-15 23:06:34  Ford v Ferrari Trailer 2 The second movie trailer for Ford v Ferrari (2019) has been released by 20th Century Fox. The first movie trailer for

MR. ROBOT: Season 4 TV Show Trailer 3: 2019-09-12 15:56:42  Mr. Robot Season 4 TV Show Trailer 3 The third TV show trailer for Season Four of Mr. Robot has been released by USA. The Mr. Robot: Season 4 p

MIDWAY (2019) Movie Trailer 2: Ed Skrein, Woody 2019-09-12 14:56:41  Midway Trailer 2 Lionsgate has released the second movie trailer for Midway (2019). The first film trailer for Midway can be viewed here. Plot

TV Casting: CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS, THE UMBRELLA 2019-09-11 16:22:40  TV Show Casting for Crisis on Infinite Earths, The Umbrella Academy, The Stand, and More Crisis on Infinite Earths, The Umbrella Academy, The S

DUBLIN MURDERS (2019) TV Show Trailer: Killian Scott 2019-09-11 14:06:08  Dublin Murders Trailer Starz‘s Dublin Murders (2019) TV show trailer stars Killian Scott, Sarah Greene, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Moe Dunford,

NYT > Movies

NBCUniversal Introduces Peacock, Its New Streaming Service New! 2019-09-17 14:30:57The service joins a competitive streaming field, and it will offer new shows that incorporate elements of older NBCUniversal properties.

‘Midnight Traveler’ Review: A Refugee Family’s Search for New! 2019-09-17 14:04:21The global migration crisis comes into intimate view in this documentary about an Afghan family’s arduous journey toward asylum.

‘The Nightcrawlers’ and ‘Lost and Found’ Review: Short New! 2019-09-17 11:07:23Two films — one on the violent antidrug campaign in the Philippines, another on refugees from Myanmar — screen together.

Chris Rock Is Writing a Book on Race New! 2019-09-17 09:36:22“My First Black Boyfriend,” an essay collection by the comedian and filmmaker, is coming out next year.

After Toronto, Is Tarantino Still the Oscar Favorite? New! 2019-09-17 07:10:03A lot of major contenders just debuted at film festivals, but none may be strong enough to dislodge the front-runner “Once Upon a Time …

Writers Guild Re-elects Leadership at Odds With Agencies 2019-09-16 21:32:30It has been five months since thousands of movie and TV writers fired their agents and election results indicate the Hollywood standoff will continue.

Mardik Martin, Collaborator With Scorsese, Is Dead at 2019-09-15 23:43:46Known for gritty realism, he had screenwriting credits including “Mean Streets,” “New York, New York” and “Raging Bull.

‘Hustlers’ Has a Strong Opening at the Box 2019-09-15 23:18:25The movie opened to about $33.2 million in domestic ticket sales, second only to “It Chapter Two.”

‘Hustlers’: The Story Behind the Headlines 2019-09-15 23:18:03In 2014, members of a criminal ring drugged men, brought them to strip clubs and stole their money. The scandal, chronicled in the tabloids, is now a

Does Jennifer Lopez Have a Path to an 2019-09-15 11:55:51The 50-year-old actress is earning career-best reviews for playing a stripper turned criminal mastermind. Can the role result in her first Oscar nomin

What’s on TV Sunday: Chelsea Handler and Roasting 2019-09-15 01:00:06Handler sets out to have tough conversations in “Hello, Privilege. It’s Me, Chelsea,” and Baldwin subjects himself to ridicule from

Onscreen in Toronto: Reasons for Hope at the 2019-09-14 05:52:50The dark and bright offerings at the Toronto International Film Festival eased our critic’s anxieties about the future of moviegoing.

L.A. Times - Movie News

Study shows viewers want more representation for those New! 2019-09-17 13:36:15Viewers want more authentic depictions of those with disabilities, according to a new report.

Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas mix 2019-09-16 13:51:29Three stars of the Netflix financial services satire "The Laundromat," directed by Steven Soderbergh, talk about their seriously oddball movie.

Mark Ruffalo to Boris Johnson: Don't use the 2019-09-16 13:23:49Actor Mark Ruffalo doesn't approve of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson using his Hulk character to promote Brexit — and he told him so on T

Oscar season has few clear front-runners, but fall 2019-09-15 14:14:11The fall film festivals are over, leaving us with many great films but few clear front-runners in an awards season still in flux.

'Hustlers' and Jennifer Lopez soar while 'It Chapter 2019-09-15 12:29:58"Hustlers" opens huge for STX and Jennifer Lopez, while "It Chapter Two" holds onto the top spot and "The Goldfinch" lands with a thud.

New movies in L.A. this week: Brad Pitt 2019-09-15 09:00:56Movies opening in L.A. for Sept. 15-22 include Brad Pitt in "Ad Astra," a big-screen "Downton Abbey" and Sly Stallone in "Rambo: Last Blood"

Classic movies, film festivals, etc., in L.A. this 2019-09-15 09:00:21Movie events & revivals in L.A. this week, Sept. 15-22

Should you read 'It' and 'The Goldfinch' before 2019-09-14 13:36:36Read the book? See the movie? Do both? In what order? The questions surrounding movies adapted from the page have no easy answers.

'The Diary of Anne Frank' gets a 60th 2019-09-14 12:00:23The film academy will screen a new 4K restoration of 1959's "The Diary of Anne Frank" at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Matt Damon and Christian Bale on the difficult 2019-09-13 21:25:57The two stars of the new racing drama stopped by the LAT studio for a talk alongside director James Mangold.

The 'Hustlers' music: How Janet Jackson, Lorde and 2019-09-13 21:00:03How "Hustlers" scored Janet, Britney, Lorde and that perfect cameo

Best of the 2019 Toronto Film Festival: There 2019-09-13 14:26:50L.A. Times writers Glenn Whipp and Justin Chang discuss their Toronto festival highlights including "Marriage Story," "Knives Out," "Uncut Gems"

CinemaBlend Latest Content

Do Movie Theaters Have A 'Trailers' Problem? New! 2019-09-17 15:59:05Most movie theaters play a lot of trailers before the feature presentation, but is it too many?

The Hilarious Problem John Wick Chapter 3 Had New! 2019-09-17 15:21:04One can easily see how this would be a problem.

The Goldfinch Could See Warner Bros And Amazon New! 2019-09-17 14:52:08The Goldfinch failed to take flight, and Warner Bros. and Amazon will be footing the bill for the film's horrendous performance.

Quirky Birds Of Prey Poster Offers The Best New! 2019-09-17 14:19:31This poster, though.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Had A Strict No Blinking Rule New! 2019-09-17 13:39:18There have been many Terminators, but Arnold makes the rules.

Looks Like Jurassic World 3 Is Beginning Filming New! 2019-09-17 13:08:26Dinosaurs will run amok in the sequel to 2018's Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

Jamie Lee Curtis Says Halloween Kills Will ‘Unpack’ New! 2019-09-17 13:00:35Cue the theme song.

Fans Spot Endgame Error Related To Avengers Tower New! 2019-09-17 12:37:26The Marvel Cinematic Universe is known for its continuity, but nobody's perfect.

Why Sylvester Stallone Chose Not To Direct Rambo: New! 2019-09-17 11:59:03He still thinks fans will dig what they have come up with.

Rian Johnson Explains The Timing Of His Star New! 2019-09-17 11:41:15When will production start up?

New Frozen II Poster Is So Good Even New! 2019-09-17 11:28:31It really does look amazing.

Joker Director Todd Phillips Clarifies Sequel Comments New! 2019-09-17 10:35:07Here's the real story.


Disclaimer and Notice:WorldProNews.com is not responsible of these news or any information published on this website.