The Incredible Hulk is the red-headed stepchild of the Avengers franchise. It’s the movie that was the geeky, awkward little brother to the widely popular and charismatic Iron Man.
It’s the movie that had it’s lead actor, Edward Norton, perform a rewrite blitz a few months before the movie started shooting and ultimately ended with him losing creative control over the film and audiences getting the giant, angry green steamer boasting a 66 percent on Rotten Tomato lobbed onto screens around the world.
It’s the movie with a story so murky it left a sour taste in the mouth of audiences and started the uneasy feeling and the thought that “maybe this Avengers thing isn’t such a good idea.”
It’s the movie that was one of the low points for the Avengers franchise.
But it was finished and wrapped into the rest of the movie lore with lead-ins to Iron Man 2, Thor — sort of — and Captain America.
Bruce Banner: A Brazilian jiu-jitsu training scientist on the run
The beginning of the movie is an homage to the old-school Incredible Hulk TV show as it shows Bruce Banner on the run in Brazil from the U.S. Government and his girlfriend’s douche bag of a father, General Ross.
General ‘Jackass’ Ross eventually finds Banner and sends in the black-ops hounds to bring Banner in, but not before we get to see someone get smashed Hulk style.
The star-spangled man with a plan. Sorta.
After Banner and the Hulk win round one in Brazil, General Ross decides to level the field by juicing up his head attack dog, Emil Blonsky with a version of the Super Soldier Serum (which was used on Captain America) and making him better, faster and meaner.
And when round two starts with the Hulk in Virginia, viewers get their first glimpse at what it’s like to see a super soldier in action.
Curing the Hulk
With the score now tied between Team Hulk and Team General Ross at 1-1, Banner and his girlfriend, Betty Ross high-tail it off New York City to meet with Banner’s correspondent who says he can cure Banner of his green monster — his green monster being the Hulk and not jealousy in this case.
That’d be all well and good if General Ross wasn’t on their trail with an ever-more juiced up Blonsky who has gone a wee bit out of your mind from being a faux Captain America.
After the botched attempt to cure Banner of his raging case of the Hulk, Blonksy decides being big and green is pretty awesome and wants a taste of his own. But, like mixing clear and dark liquors, mixing the Super Soldier Serum and gamma rays makes for a bad night.
Except the latter makes you a giant lizard-like-Hulk thing called the Abomination and has you end up destroying Harlem.
So, what to do now?
Literally kick Bruce Banner’s scrawny ass out of a flying helicopter and have him fight the Abomination Hulk-style.
Cheer up, lonely man.
After the havoc in Harlem, viewers and Banner are pretty much left in the exact same place as when the movie started. Banner roams the world alone without his beloved Betty Ross and is still stuck with his green alter ego.
So, how does Banner get from Canada to the Avengers?
Glad you asked Swiftfilm viewers.
Tony Stark pops in at the end of the Incredible Hulk to insult General Ross and drops a hint about a team.
And that’s about it until years after the events of The Incredible Hulk and a now more mature and curly-haired Banner played by Mark Ruffalo gets wrapped up into SHIELD’s super-hero boy band.
Check out an interview with Mark Ruffalo for more insight on the Hulk and The Avengers.
You were saying something about Thor?
That’s a complicated thing. See, there’s no real connection to the Norse god of thunder in the movie but there are parallels you can pull out of the context of the entire Avengers franchise. You have to remember, Hulk was the second Avengers movie to come out while Thor was number four.
But Iron Man 2 ends at the middle point of the Incredible Hulk. It’s seen when Tony Stark is talking to Nick Fury and the news is talking about the fight at the Virginia college.
And in Iron man 2, Agent Coulson has to run off to the land of enchantment, New Mexico, to talk to someone about a thunderstorm, or whatever.
Now, here’s the longer jump to draw Thor and Hulk together.
When Betty Ross and the Hulk are in the mountains running from General Ross. There’s a thunderstorm that the movie specifically draws to the viewers attention because the army looses track of the Hulk because of it.
Also, there is supposedly a face in the clouds that’s illuminated after a clap of thunder and something is seen “falling from the sky.”
Also, ancient aliens.
So, thank you, Edward Norton. Thank you for laying the foundation for the Hulk and making this movie as bearable as it was.