Despite numerous appearances from the Hulk in the MCU, the proper version of the comic book character has only been used in one Marvel movie.
The MCU has only used the Hulk properly in one movie, which was Thor: Ragnarok. In the third installment in the Thor franchise, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) discovered that his fellow Avenger had become a beloved gladiator on a distant planet. Following their escape, the two had to team up against Thor’s evil sister, Hela (Cate Blanchett).
The Hulk has had a strong presence in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, Edward Norton brought Bruce Banner and the Hulk to life in a movie that pitted him against the Abomination. In The Avengers, the role was taken over by Mark Ruffalo, who remains the MCU’s Bruce Banner. Like his comic book counterpart, the character served as a founding member of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and continued to fight beside them in Avengers: Age of Ultron. After taking a backseat to Banner in Avengers: Infinity War, the two merged into a new persona, “Smart Hulk”, in Avengers: Endgame.
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Despite all these appearances in MCU movies, Thor: Ragnarok was the only film that had the proper Hulk. The traditional version of the character that most audiences are familiar with is an incredibly powerful force of destruction who speaks in simple sentences and possesses both a violent temper and a child-like innocence at the same time. The MCU’s Hulk has shared at least some of these qualities in all of his movies, but Thor: Ragnarok is the only one that really gets him right. The Incredible Hulk, The Avengers, and Avengers: Age of Ultron accurately adapted his rage and raw power, but missed the mark somewhat when it came to his personality. Across all three movies, he had no more than a handful of spoken lines.
Everything changed in Thor: Ragnarok when Marvel leaned further on the classic comics in regards to its approach to the Hulk. Here, Hulk’s childish body language when getting angry, remarks about him being stronger than Thor, and way of speaking in general are all ways that Thor: Ragnarok’s Hulk perfectly resembles the comic book hero. It was an admittedly slow process, but Marvel had finally turned him into the true Hulk from Marvel Comics.
Unfortunately, this was a short-lived phase that ended the moment Hulk rushed into battle with Thanos (Josh Brolin) at the beginning of Avengers: Infinity War. The point of Hulk losing the battle was obviously to demonstrate how dangerous Thanos is, but a downside to this is that it detracted from Hulk’s reputation in the comics as “the strongest one there is”. Instead of fixing this by giving the two a rematch, Marvel had Hulk refuse to help the Avengers fight Thanos’ army, despite it seeming contrary to his character at this point to show him actively avoiding fighting. Marvel then effectively killed the real Hulk by dissolving his persona and giving his body to Bruce Banner in Avengers: Endgame. Theoretically, the MCU could get Hulk back on the right track by reverting to his original form in She-Hulk, but the chances of that seem low, as Marvel may be hesitant to go backward with any of its characters.
More: Every Way The Original Hulk Can Return To The MCU
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About The Author
(2098 Articles Published)
Nicholas Raymond is a staff movies & TV features writer for Screen Rant. He has a degree in journalism from the University of Montevallo. He is the author of the psychological thriller and time travel novel, “A Man Against the World.” Nicholas’ love for telling stories is inspired by his love for film noir, westerns, superhero movies, classic films, foreign cinema, and wuxia. He also has interests in ancient history. His favorite actors are Tyrone Power, Charlton Heston, and Eleanor Parker. His favorite film is Casablanca, and his favorite director is Alfred Hitchcock. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter at @cnraymond91.
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